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.

A Positive Mental Attitude Can Be Learned

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.

Ernest Holmes and the Power of the Mind

Ernest Holmes, the founder of the Religious Science movement, also known as Science of Mind, was a New Thought teacher. Religious Science, like many New Thought faiths, presented positive thinking as a way to create a foundation to understand the Universal Mind. Righteous thought included what a person thinks, believes, feels, visualizes, imagines, reads, and talks about which flows into the subconscious mind. It is an individual’s path to putting the Universal Mind to work.

Influencing reality was possible through a person’s mental process as well as the recognition of a universal energy source called God, Spirit, or Universal Intelligence that manifests as the physical universe. Holmes’ approach to a successful life was to concentrate on the power of the mind to create reality, in the form of spiritual mind treatments. A treatment was a type of prayer, or method, that changed thought and cleared negativity, fear, and doubt while identifying with the presence of God. He taught that there was a natural law available for everyone’s use and that it was possible to create a new and wonderful experience of reality with persistent and positive thinking.

Holmes thought choosing positive thoughts brought one closer to God and that a life filled with success was first created through the discipline of a positive mental attitude. In scientific prayer or affirmations the I AM, or the God principle, provided the foundation of positive statements. Only to the degree that an individual could embrace the presence of God within, could they experience wholeness or happiness. He believed all discord and negativity in life was attributed to a sense of separation from God. According to Holmes, the ultimate goal was to heal this mistaken belief by practicing unity with God, and consistent application of the Laws of Cause and Effect, The Laws of Attraction, and positive thought.

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