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Maintaining a Positive State of Mind

Updated on March 21, 2013
drmiddlebrook profile image

Dr. Middlebrook, former university professor, is a fiction/non-fiction author (pen name Beax Rivers), and virtual writing coach and trainer.


Words Have Wings!

Think positively and masterfully, with confidence and faith, and life will become more secure, more fraught with action, richer in experience and achievement.” Edward Rickenbacker

Words really do have wings. They can fly, and that's why it is important to learn how to tap into the amazing power of self-talk, to provide you with an instant, invaluable resource, a true path to a more enjoyable, more meaningful life. Talking to yourself in a positive and productive way is a proven way to get beyond negative thoughts that, in the past, may have been a hindrance in the pursuit of goals and dreams.

There is no doubt that allowing negative thinking to become habit-forming can keep anyone from finding his or her path to being “all you can be.” In fact, it can prevent you from ever finding any of the happiness you want for your life.

Photo to Christopher Reeve being interviewed at cast party after opening night of Marriage of Figaro at The Circle in the Square Theatre in NYC.
Photo to Christopher Reeve being interviewed at cast party after opening night of Marriage of Figaro at The Circle in the Square Theatre in NYC. | Source

The late Actor Christopher Reeve, best known for the lead role in the movie Superman, after suffering spinal cord injury and paralysis due to a horse riding accident, still found a way to be optimistic and positive in his thinking.

It is said that Reeve overcame his clumsiness and awkwardness as a teenager by becoming an actor. He assumed the role of a young man who was not shy, who was not clumsy, and who was filled with self-confidence. Reeve is quoted as having said, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” These are words to live by. They echo the power of self-talk, of your inner voice, to help propel you to victory over inertia and complacency.


Keeping a Self-Talk Journal

In this and other Hubs I've authored, I recommend the keeping of a "self-talk journal." As you begin to write in your self-talk journal, you will begin to be able to validate your authentic thoughts, and, even though you will write them down, you will learn not to listen to “garbage” talk that is always negative, and therefore, always useless. Negativity is not much help if it is your goal to move forward in your life.

Keeping a self-talk journal will help you begin to see, and to internalize that, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter as much what others think of you. Ultimately, it is what you allow yourself to think of you that matters the most.

That is not to say or to imply that anyone is perfect and without flaws of any kind. As a matter of fact, anyone who thinks they are perfect has immediately pinpointed at least one notable imperfection—they are guilty of delusional thinking. Still, even with all your imperfections, you must believe that you are still a beautiful work in progress. And you should never allow anyone, any situation, or any set of circumstances to convince you to label yourself in a negative way.

Everyone makes mistakes; everyone fails at something at one time or another in their life. Anyone who says he or she has never failed either is lying, or has never tried to do anything. But no matter what flaws you or I may possess, our inner voice needs to be the voice of truth. It needs to tell us the truth about ourselves—no matter how ugly that truth may be—even when no one else will tell us. Like the Bible says, when you know the truth, it will set you free.


Turn Negative Thoughts Into Positive Actions

If it is true that you are somewhat of a sourpuss, and that your coworkers avoid you because they don’t want to be pulled down into the doldrums with you every day, then the truth is that you probably need to adopt a more pleasant demeanor, at least for the workplace, and maybe even at home as well. While it may be a negative thing to actually be a sourpuss, it is a positive thing to admit it to yourself, and to work to change your disposition, for the better.

If your employer makes internal changes that cause you to need to go back to school to learn more in order to be better prepared for changes affecting the job you have, or the job you want, then the truth is you probably need more education. It is a good thing to admit the truth about you, no matter what, because it is only when we admit the truth that we can work to improve in areas of our lives where we need improvement.

Instead of whining and complaining that your job has changed and that you now don’t know how to do what you’ve been assigned to do, facing the truth can help you get the knowledge and skills you need to be effective once again. Instead of lamenting that you were once qualified for the promotion you wanted, but now that the position has been changed, you no longer qualify for it, adopting a positive mindset will allow you to find out how you can become qualified, once again, to fulfill the responsibilities of the position you want to seek.

But, if you’re not interested in learning how to become qualified, then perhaps you should find out if you might be able to transfer to another position within the company that needs someone with your current set of skills. If that is not possible, then you might need to begin looking elsewhere, at another company, for another job.

Positive Thoughts Can Help Relieve Stress

The key is learning not to allow stress and anxiety to turn you into a basket case, no matter what kind of challenge you are faced with. Instead of thinking about what you can’t do, get busy working on what you can do to change your situation. Self-talk can help you gain clarity and focus, and eliminate fear and anxiety as you take steps toward improving your circumstances, and your life. You won’t always have control over things that happen on your job, or even in your home life. But what you will always have control over is how you respond to what happens. And you should always choose to be on your side, to support you as you make choices. To help you, you should:

  • Learn to keep a self-talk journal.
  • Learn to counter negative thoughts with positive ones.
  • Never “work yourself up” in situations that incite anger. Instead, learn to calm yourself down.

Always choose to believe in the “possible.” Don’t limit yourself by always choosing to believe in all that might be, or at least seem, “impossible.” Surround yourself with positive people, envelop yourself in positive, helpful thoughts, and infuse yourself with positive energy as you self-talk your way to success and prosperity.

"Man does not live by bread alone."
"Man does not live by bread alone." | Source

Positive Thoughts As Spiritual Nourishment

Talking to yourself really does work. And whether you’re saying positive or negative things to yourself, your words have wings, and they are flying off constantly, hitting their marks, every time. That’s the reason why you and I need to be vigilant about monitoring our self-talk, and about making sure we are always working to harness the power of our internal words, for good.

What you are saying to you is directing how you view your life, and how you view yourself and your potential.

The Bible talks a lot about how bread is the staff of life. After disobeying God in the Garden of Eden, Adam (and thus all mankind) was made to need the physical nourishment of bread. God said to him in Genesis 3:19, “in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, til thou return unto the ground.”

During times of famine in the Bible, had it not been for the nourishment of bread, people would have died. In Genesis 47:15, the Egyptians said to Joseph, “Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence?” In fact, throughout the Bible, bread is presented as the difference between physical life and death. Still, the Bible uses the idea of our hunger and our need for food to teach us that even in the physical world; we cannot live by bread alone.

In Deuteronomy 8:3, we learn about how we need more nourishment than the physical world can provide when Moses says, “and he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know, that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.”

This, I believe, is also a testimony to the power of words that come from your mouth, and I believe the same applies to words that become part of your inner dialogue. Just as we have to learn how to eat right to best nourish our physical body, we also need to learn how to feed our spirit the right things in order to nourish it and keep it healthy and producing positive thoughts and positive self-talk, for our own good.

It’s true that your thoughts, whether they are positive or negative, become actions (or inertia) that will ultimately become tangible and touchable things that make up the reality of your life. Because this is true, thoughts have the power to change situations and circumstances, for better or for worse. So, since thoughts are the building blocks of self-talk, learning how to keep your self-talk positive, I believe, is the only way to bring spiritual peace, contentment, victory and hope into your life, over situations and circumstances that—without it, might seem hopeless.

© 2012 Sallie B Middlebrook PhD


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    • drmiddlebrook profile image

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 5 years ago from Texas, USA

      Thank you so much Lisa. I'm so glad you found something salient and uplifting in what I wrote. I do my best to do my best, to put forth my best effort with each article, but it's a big challenge. Thanks so much for reading, and for your comments.

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      Lisa 5 years ago

      Bless you for continuing to write salient, uplifting and spot on articles. I am sharing this with others.