Positive thinking is a discipline that trains the human mind to change a perceived reality by repeatedly making positive mental statements. A person practices positive thinking when they derive a positive sense of well being, optimism, belonging, meaning and/or purpose from being part of and contributing back to something larger and more permanent than themselves. Positive thinking is a process of choosing positive emotions from stimuli in the environment and applying them to perceptions and beliefs. The objective is to create an outlook that translates into a new or better chosen reality.

Positive Mental Attitudes

A positive mental attitude is the belief that one can increase achievement through optimistic thought processes. A positive attitude comes from observational learning in the environment and is partially achieved when a vision of good natured change in the mind is applied toward people, circumstances, events, or behaviors (Wikipedia). Since it is difficult to quantify (measure) the effects of a positive mental attitude, it can be considered a philosophy and a way to approach life.

The Secret to Positive Thinking

Creating reality by how one chooses to think about life, health, relationships, and finances was the subject of the hit movie “The Secret.” Current self-help gurus discussed the Law of Attraction and other principles congruent with positive thinking. Building a positive mindset that attracted better circumstances in one’s life involved: (1) alignment to a clear vision of what is desired, (2) an attitude of thankfulness, (3) having positive emotions associated with the desire, and (4) releasing that desire to a greater power.

The experts in “The Secret” emphasized an individual’s responsibility to create and institute positive mental programming and present moment awareness to release emotional drivers that cloud a person’s ability to have a productive life. Regret, shame, and blame and a negative outlook on life focused on past circumstances can also be fundamental cause of physical disease in adults. Similarly, physical healing can be obtained creating a self-made vision. Demonstrating a healthy life with positive outcomes involves setting an intention, consciously creating a mental attitude of positive expectation, and conditioning the mind to accept navigate through grief, loss, anger with ease or choosing to eliminate those mental attitudes altogether.

Create Positive Thoughts by Using Affirmations

The technique of writing and repeating affirmations has been said to institute a positive mental attitude resulting in measurable change. An affirmation is a positive, present day statement that assumes what one declares is real and present. The more an affirmation is practiced, the mind has a greater the level of acceptance of that thought. Positive thinking experts, such as Louise Hay, Michael Beckwith, James Arthur Ray, Catherine Ponder, Norman Vincent Peale, Napoleon Hill, and John Randolph Price advocated the use of affirmations to both reprogram the brain by repetition and maintaining present moment centeredness. The desired result is to manifest new and positive circumstances.

Since an affirmation declares one’s state of mind and expectation, it acknowledges to the mind and body a present-day reality. An example of an affirmation is the following: “I am filled with wonder and I now manifest prosperity and abundance in every aspect of my life. I use the creative genius of the universe in all I do. I am successful, healthy, and live life well. This day I have the power to change myself.”

Affirmations are a spiritual idea, and non-quantitative. They are based upon “as within, so without, as above so below” which is an idea, or universal presented in many religious works, including the Bible. If thought attracts, or resonates, with like energies, than any individual practicing positive thinking can eventually see results externally in the form of a better job, more loving relationships, or even satisfying experiences.

For a more complete definition on positive thinking, see The Evolution of Positive Thinking: Views from Science, Spirituality, Psychology and Hollywood by Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D.


Keywords: Positive thought, positive attitude, positive psychology, positive mental attitude, success through a positive mental attitude

Author's Bio: 

This article was written by Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D., the Official SelfGrowth.com Guide to Positive Thinking. Dr. Charlene M. Proctor is the founder of The Goddess Network, Inc. an on-line educational resource for topics on spirituality, relationships, and women's studies. Author of Let Your Goddess Grow! she is a researcher and educator in the field of women's empowerment and develops self-empowerment strategies for women in all walks of life. She is a subject matter expert for Beliefnet.com, the world's largest self-help and personal growth website. Her affirmations from The Women's Book of Empowerment reach 2.7 million web visitors daily. She currently facilitates the PATH to Empowerment program for Lighthouse Path in Michigan, a residential women's shelter for homeless mothers, teaching them how to cope with life and increase self-esteem and confidence. To learn more, visit http://www.thegoddessnetwork.net

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Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D., Official Guide on Positive Thinking