I’m a huge believer in the power of positive thinking. It can be a total game-changer for your mental and physical health.
And I’m totally on board with the idea that by paying attention to your thoughts, you can begin to consciously choose them, which over time can shift your entire life experience and perspective.
I’ve seen it in practice countless times. Mantras and positive affirmations are truly amazing tools for redesigning your emotional landscape – and I love a good makeover as much as the next girl!
What I’m not a fan of, though, is lying to yourself.
Let me explain.
A lot of the information out there on the internets will have you believe that for the law of attraction to work, you have to feel the feeling of already having what you desire.
Let’s take my client Jen* as an example. She wants to learn to love her body, even though right now she can’t stand the sight of it. Actually feeling body-love is so far from her life experience right now; it’s just not realistic.
Classic mantras and affirmations would have her repeating something like “I love my body; I am so beautiful and my body is flawless just as it is.”
In theory, it sounds great.
In practice, Jen is repeating a mantra that feels like, and IS, a total lie to her!
Your subconscious knows better than that.
When you try to force a belief on yourself that is so far off from what actually feels true to you, it can end up doing more harm than good.
Once your subconscious mind calls bullshit on you, continuing to repeat a mantra that is drastically untrue will only teach you that you can’t trust yourself.
Not so helpful, is it?
So here’s what I recommend instead:
Find a mantra that is one small, baby step in the right direction. Something that doesn’t contain any negative sentiments, but that is also true for you. (Stay away from words like doesn’t, can’t, won’t, should, etc.) Neutral, factual statements are a great place to start.
Jen might start with a mantra like:
- I have a human body
- My heart beats just for me, every day, and I am grateful to live and breathe
- My legs carry me through life, and help get me where I need to go
- I am grateful for my senses of touch, sight, smell, taste, and sound that allow me to fully experience my life
Do you see the difference?
She’s not focusing on the negative stuff that she’s trying to move away from (“My body is disgusting”), but she’s also not directly contradicting what she believes (“I love my body”).
Instead, she’s finding something neutral or positive – BUT STILL TRUE – to say. This will allow her to break the negative thought cycle and move into a different mental space, which is the whole point of a mantra!
As her mindset starts shifting in the right direction, her mantras will need to evolve and change, getting a little closer to her end goal each time.
Give this approach a try for whatever you’re struggling with, and let me know what your "starter mantra" is in the comments below!
If negative thinking is getting in the way of your health and happiness, and you’d like some extra support around it, get in touch!
*Name changed to maintain patient privacy