Recently, I was thinking about the importance of nurturing the creative mind—establishing the best mental diet and environment in which to be creative. Then I realized that what is healthy for the creative mind is healthy for everyone: a consistent diet of positive, motivating self-talk (how you 'talk' to yourself with your unspoken thoughts), and a loving environment (physical, emotional, and mental) in which to grow. This got me thinking about how most people think and go after their dreams. Usually, an idea pops into their minds, immediately followed by self-defeating internal thoughts that immediately sabotage any future attempts and halt all action toward accomplishing the idea. Does this sound familiar to you? Is this the way you want to live your life?

A More Positive Approach
The fact is, we all function better when we feel positive, up-lifted, effective, and motivated. Some people refer to this as 'having a purpose', others consider it being 'centered', or it can mean functioning at your peak performance level. Whatever you call it, this optimal state-of-being includes a sense that everything is working out exactly as it needs to, that you are safe regardless of what drama is playing out in your life, and that you are just along for the adventure and joy of it all.

You might even be a person who feels this sort of internal buoyancy a fair amount of time, yet sometimes these feelings are elusive. Negative chatter begins to fills the spaces in our thoughts. Soon, your positive motivated mind is filled with critical, doubting, and paralyzing thoughts. "What if' questions race through your brain, and fear grips you, further fueling the paralysis. For most people, this is an all too familiar spiral downward. Is there anything that any of us can do about it? Fortunately, there is!

The Ultimate Commitment
Yes, there is something you can do. But, first you have to make the ultimate commitment to yourself and your well-being. I've written about this and spoken about it in my "Cultivating Positive Power" Workshops. Regardless of what else is happening in our lives, including a myriad of things that are beyond our control, there is one thing that we can control: How we perceive and interpret the world around us. What we say to ourselves internally is so much more important than who we know, the car we drive, or how much money is sitting in our bank accounts. If we tell ourselves that we have all the resources and help we need to accomplish our goals, we are more likely to try new things and take action toward our goals and dreams. However, if we tell ourselves that we'll fail, we won't even be motivated to take the first step.

In this way, you begin to realize that the ultimate commitment is to manage your internal self-talk and properly focus your energy. Replacing your old tapes with positive new ones is essential to the process. Postive thinking and self-motivation stay forefront in our minds when we make a conscious effort toward our self-talk, challenge inaccurate negative thoughts, confront negative thoughts with positive thoughts and action, and seek out an environment that allows you to repeat this process whenever necessary. Without your commitment and conscious effort, even the most positive among us fall victim to the cycle of negative thinking. I call it the Mental Snowball.

Melting the Mental Snowball
Just as a mental snowball starts with one negative thought and quickly multiplies into many, so your path toward the ultimate commitment to self starts with challenging each one of those negative thoughts. The minute you let one single negative thought get away from you, the mental snowball will begin to grow.

Here are some basic tips to nurturing your mind and keeping those mental snowballs at bay:

— Focus on what IS working in your life. For the next week, every time you think of something that is working in your life, write it down. Ignore the stuff that isn't working for you right now. Just focus on what is working and add it to your list. At the end of the week, take your list and marvel at its length, then post it somewhere you can see it everyday.

— Express and experience gratitude daily. Start with the list you created of what is working in your life, and begin to truly feel grateful for those experiences today. You will soon find that your attitude of gratitude changes your perspective, and soon you'll be adding more things to your list. Blessings are around you everyday, often masquerading as difficulties and challenges. See if you can figure out which challenges you face today will be blessings you are grateful for tomorrow.

— Seek out other positive-minded people. You can work on yourself all day long, but if you are surrounded by people who only look for problems, faults, and who to blame, you'll find the road is a lot more difficult to manage. As you replace your negative thoughts with more positive ones, you are likely to be challenged by friends and family who liked you much better when you were miserable. Don't be surprised if some friends stop hanging around, or if you realize one day that the people you thought were friends were really only interested in dragging you down, not your friendship. Before you mourn their loss, ask yourself: "How do I really want to live my life?"

— Set goals that are a win-win for all involved. When we know that getting our wish is also beneficial to others, we feel more fulfilled and energized. You won't mind working hard on a goal or toward a dream that lifts your spirits and those of people around you. Then, when you have accomplished that goal or dream, you'll have the further satisfaction of knowing that you made the world a better place.

— Replace your negative internal 'tapes' with positive ones. Now that you know what is working well in your life, and are expressing gratitude for that, begin making a list of your negative thoughts that have been sabotaging you. Can't think of them right now? Keep a pad near you for the next 24 hrs and notice all the thoughts that come up. You may be surprised how many are self-defeating. Use that list to rephrase each thought into one or more positive thoughts. These positive statements are called affirmations, and they are the best way to overcome your old internal tapes. Write the affirmations down, and say them to yourself every morning and every night. If you can do it more often, great! When you feel the negative thoughts popping up, use your positive affirmations to challenge them and fend off your fears. If you do this regularly, it really works to keep yourself positive and moving forward in your life.

These steps will guide you in nurturing your thoughts and dreams as you create the life that you truly want to live. Besides, a nurtured mind is the most creative of all!

Perfect-for-You Affirmations
Because we have different goals and different motivations, the best affirmations are not cookie-cutter or one-size-fits-all. That is why I don't sell cards with pre-printed affirmations, and why I have created blank cards for writing your very own perfect-for-you affirmations.

Remember, the most powerful and effective affirmations contain positive phrasing and are written in the present-tense, evoking such a positive feeling when said or written that you feel the experience. Make them specific to your goals and feel good to you, and you won’t want to stop saying them. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the process of nurturing you.

Author's Bio: 

Nancy Barry-Jansson is the founder of, an intuitive affirmations coach, and a self-employed illustrator/designer living in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. Ms. Barry-Jansson has been using affirmations for more than 20 years and created AffirmingSpirit (cards, accessories, and information) to share her knowledge and inspiration with others. To learn more, visit