Building a Mental Bank of Positive Thoughts

We Become What We Think

A mental bank is a term used to describe the process of filling your mind with positive thoughts in order to gain a more positive and joyful outlook on life.

The idea is to actively think positive thoughts and to read and listen to positive statements, thereby training your mind to not only think positively but also build up a barrier to the damage that can be done to your mood and outlook by the negative comments and ideas that regularly come our way.

Just like a real bank where one can deposit and withdraw money, the concept of a mental bank is that we can have a bank like section of our mind with a positive (abundance of good thoughts) balance or negative balance (like an overdrawn checking account).

Every time a person has a negative thought (I'll always be a failure at love), are the recipient of a negative comment (face it - you're a looser) or are surrounded by people with a negative outlook (life sucks, then you die), his or her supply of positive thoughts and aspirations is diminished.

As the negative and depressing thoughts continually crowd out the positive thoughts in your mind and eventually take over you will find you mood increasingly becoming depressed and your outlook on life around you becoming bleaker and bleaker.

How to Change Thinking Habits

To many, the scenario described above seems overly simplistic and even silly.

One or two objections usually come to mind immediately.

First, how can mere words or thoughts change one's personality?

Second, as every parent knows, children are born with a personality which means that a positive or negative outlook on life is heavily dependent upon heredity and to the extent that it is not determined by heredity the environment that surrounds a child in its early years finishes the molding of one's personality. Once grown, it is to late to make changes.

It is true that genetics and environment can play a major role in determining how we view the world.

However, just because our brains come pre-programmed at birth and those around us finish the programming of our brains while we are still very young, doesn't mean that our minds can't be reprogrammed. We do have considerable control over how our mind operates, we just have to invest the time and effort needed to reprogram our thought processes.

A first step in reprogramming our thought process is to stand back and examine how we think.

Socrates' admonished his students to know thyself and Jesus in the New Testament of the Bible continually instructed his followers to seek the truth and the truth will set you free.

In both cases we are being told to dig into our minds to learn how our mind works and why we think the way we do. Some people, when they encounter an obstacle, automatically give up while others continue to try to overcome the obstacle.

In the first case, the person does not succeed in solving the problem and simply gives up while mentally telling himself or herself I failed and cannot solve this. Meanwhile other people, if they do not succeed at first will mentally tell themselves the approach I just took obviously didn't work, what other way can I approach this?

Thomas Edison, founder of General Electric Corporation and inventor of the electric light bulb, motion picture photography, sound recording and literally thousands of other products, is known to have failed numerous times before he succeeded in each case.

But Edison, did not look upon these unsuccessful attempts as failures, instead his response was I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.

Humans are creatures of habit and habits, both good and bad, are simply ways in which our brains are programmed to do certain things automatically without active thought on our part.

When I was a very young child my mother had to keep after me to brush my teeth in the morning and in the evening. Eventually, brushing my teeth upon getting up and before going to bed became a habit and, since then, I do it automatically without thinking. I have in effect programmed my brain to do this without my having to remember to do it each time.

The same is true of our thought processes - the way we analyze and react to common events. Just as Thomas Edison developed the habit of automatically thinking that's one more way that doesn't work here, what else can I try? every time he didn't succeed when trying to invent something new, those who automatically give up the first time something doesn't work have developed the habit of automatically telling themselves I failed again and never consider looking at the problem from a different angle or trying to solve it in a different way.

Habits can be formed either consciously, where we deliberately concentrate on doing something until it becomes automatic, or unconsciously where we simply do the same thing without thinking until it becomes a habit. In many cases we unconsciously mimic the way those around us do the same thing.

Jerry Seinfeld Show and Bad Thinking Habits

An excellent illustration of the concept of the memory bank is the old Jerry Seinfeld Show.

Jerry, Elaine and George all worked dilligently at programming their thinking to guarantee failure. Consciously, they did not want fail, but their thoughts when they encountered difficulties and what their friends kept telling them all worked to unconsciously program their minds to seek failure.

Every time something good happened to George in an episode, his mind immediately began looking for something wrong. He would get a new job and immediately began thinking and talking about failing. He would meet a new woman and immediately began thinking of reasons why she would eventually leave.

In the case of Jerry and Elaine they were both looking for the perfect mate. But, like George who developed the habit of automatically assuming that anything he did would end in failure, Jerry developed the habit of immediately looking for the flaws in whatever woman he meet. He was so obsessed with finding flaws that, not only did he always find them, he totally overlooked all of each woman's good characteristics.

Elaine's approach to her love life was about the same as Jerry's and not only did their own negative thoughts about each new job/relationship reinforce and strengthen these bad thought habits but their discussions with each other also emphasized the negative.

George continually described himself a failure and his best friend Jerry always agreed with him. Jerry would complain to Elaine and George about how difficult it was to find a good woman and they would agree that there just weren't any good ones left. All three of these people worked hard at depositing negative thoughts into their mental banks themselves as well as contributing negative thoughts into each others mental banks.

While the Seinfeld Show is great entertainment, much of its appeal and success lies in the fact that most of us can easily relate to these three characters as their actions are mostly greatly exaggerated versions of our own actions. We know what the situations portrayed are like as, to some extent, we have been there, done that ourselves and, while our experiences in these situations were not comfortable, it always feels good to see the exaggerated actions of others in these same situations.

For Jerry and the actors portraying George and Elaine these were simply roles to be played on the set and shed when they left the studio. For us, the viewers, the reflections of ourselves that we laugh at are real and to change will require reprogramming the habits that control how we think.

The concept of the mental bank can be a good tool for doing this.

Give it a try!

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Comments 17 comments

Eva 5 years ago

That's not what the Mental Bank is about. It's a very exact system, a program, developed by Dr. John Kappas, founder of Hypnosis Motivation Institute, a college for hypnotherapy. If you want to learn about it, I think you can take a free streaming video course on their website.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 5 years ago from USA

Great hub, staying positive does help accomplish goals, and helps keep everyone in good spirits.


ubalildon profile image

ubalildon 5 years ago

i like your hub pal, very ineresting


Chuck profile image

Chuck 6 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Goodpal - thanks for visiting and for the suggestion. I will keep it in mind for a future Hub.


FuzzyCookie profile image

FuzzyCookie 6 years ago

wow I never knew the term mental bank.. really interesting hub! cheers!


Goodpal profile image

Goodpal 6 years ago

Please write another hub on "How to fall back upon the Mental bank in the times of Crises".

A wonderful hub indeed.


EnergyAdvisor profile image

EnergyAdvisor 6 years ago from The nearest planet to Venus

I'm a practitioner of Tensegrity (body movements discovered in dreams by the shamans of ancient Mexico) and we also practice the art of not-doing. Basically, in order to become flexible one has to be free of any habit or routine, within the body or within the mind. I recently written a hub of warrior quotes and one of them was:

"Any habit needs all its parts in order to function. If some parts are missing, the habit is disassembled."

Your hub motivated me even more. Thanks for sharing!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

You're a good man Chuck. (apologies to Peppermint Patty) =:) Thank you for responding so eloquently.


Chuck profile image

Chuck 6 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Winsome - First of all thanks for commenting on this Hub and thanks for being one of my fans.

It has been a while since I have watched a Seinfeld episode but, now that you mention it, Kramer didn't fit the negative pattern of the others which is why I didn't mention him.

He may have consciously worked at positive thinking, although this did not come through on the show. He also could have been one of those people unconsciously picked up positive thinking habits and wasn't influenced by the negativism of the others.

Habits are frequently acquired by simply falling into some sort of routine without consciously trying to do the routine. The Kramer character may have one such person.

As to the idea of ignorance is bliss, that can be looked at the same way. While there are people who are naïve and easily preyed upon due to their innocence/ignorance, many others are probably in the habit of, consciously or unconsciously, not worrying about things that are beyond their control.

For instance, I can practice good driving habits and stay focused on the road when driving thereby greatly limiting my chances of causing an accident. However, I have no control over things like bridges collapsing, airplanes falling out of the sky and onto the road, etc. so it does no good to worry about these things. In fact, if I allow myself to become worried and concerned every time I have to drive over or under a bridge I will end up being less focused on my driving, which I can control, and increase my chances of having an accident.

Thanks again.

Chuck


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

Totally on Chuck. I never saw Seinfeld like that before and it really works. I did hear Jerry say that no one would ever want to be friends with these people because they are terrible people. The negativism helps define it. So does that mean Kramer is the only positive thinker of the bunch or is it just ignorance is bliss? =:)

You can tell I'm a positive thinker because even though you have 2069 fans (myself included) I still think you are going to respond to my comments. Is that positive thinking or what? =:)


treasuresyw profile image

treasuresyw 6 years ago from Savannah, GA

Great post. I keep reminding myself that positivity is a must in my world. I have to be positive if I want to speak & write motivation and encouragement to others. Thanks for this. Peace.


Kathy Rimel profile image

Kathy Rimel 6 years ago

Thanks for the hub. I have always been a fan of positive thinking but I never related it to a bank. What a great idea. Hopefully, your thoughts are giving you a great return on your deposit.


dian agung wibowo 7 years ago

cool hub.. thanks for share this.. rate ups...


Angela Harris profile image

Angela Harris 9 years ago from Around the USA

Great hub. I'm a George Costanza deep inside, but I hope that I'm not as annoying. But I do tend to blow up negative events and downplay positive things in my life. I'm working on it, though!


Amanda Kendle profile image

Amanda Kendle 9 years ago from Perth

Very interesting. Loved the tie-in with Seinfeld, very true!


Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet 9 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

Awesome post...I need to keep this in mind. I agree with Judy...it is challenging but like any habit gets easier with time


Judy Asman profile image

Judy Asman 9 years ago from Orange

Hi, Chuck. Great topic!

I've found the positive mental deposits have worked for me. It's a lot easier for me to make it through stressful moments and feelings of uncertainity after practicing positive thinking for a couple of years now.

In the beginning, it was a challenge. But I've found positivity breeds more positivity so even when my mind goes down the "life sucks" direction, I'm able to rebound more quickly from there.

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