Recent studies into how our minds work have revealed that you can be shown how to think positively. You will discover, to your delight, that you have a powerful friend just waiting and willing to help you through your life. This friend, when asked in the right way, will be happy to make thinking positively a truly effective part of your life. Your friend is your unconscious (or subconscious) mind.

Your unconscious mind likes to support you by carrying out what it thinks you want to achieve. It obtains this information by listening in to your thoughts and internal conversations. Unfortunately, however, it often hears internal statements like the following: “I’m going to fail”; “I’m going to panic”; “I feel sick”; “I feel trapped”; “I’m worried about flying”; “It could go wrong”; and so on.

Your unconscious mind hears “I’m going to panic,” so it says to itself, Oh . . . John wants to panic. Fine, I know how to make John panic—I’ve been successfully doing this for ages. Before you know it, you are panicking because your unconscious mind is carrying out what it thinks you want it to do.

Have you ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophesy? That is precisely what you experience because your unconscious mind reacts according to your internal thoughts and conversations, by creating the subsequent actions and feelings to fulfill your prophesy.

So how do you change things? Actually, it is very simple, and you have probably already deduced the answer, but you need to incorporate it into your daily life to make it effective. The solution is to always think about and say what it is you do want to do or how you do want to feel. For example, instead of the thoughts shown above, you need to have thoughts such as “I will be successful”; “I am calm and relaxed”; “I feel fine”; and so on.

However, we now come to a quirk when we look at how your unconscious mind processes instructions that many people consider to be positive, such as “I’m not going to worry”; “Don’t be tense”; or “I’m not going to get it wrong”; and so on. You will notice that all these “positive” instructions actually contain a negative word—either not or don’t. You will also observe that each of these instructions also contains words that may cause you a problem, that is, going to worry, be tense, and going to get it wrong, so you are actually drawing your problems to the attention of your unconscious mind, which is the last thing you want to do.

In addition, and rather interestingly, our unconscious minds do not process negative words at the first attempt. In fact, when it hears “don’t be tense,” the process is as follows: It hears don’t, but at that moment it does not know what it is it should not do—it could be anything, and it tends to disregard this word. Then your mind hears the words be tense, which it takes as a command, and you are left thinking about and becoming tense, which is the total opposite of what you actually want.

Many people say to me that the harder they try not to think about a particular thing or try not to feel a particular way, the more they seem to be drawn to doing that very thing or feeling that way. You have probably noticed this yourself, and you can now understand the reason for this phenomenon.

So again, the solution is to rephrase your thoughts into what you do want, for example, “I will keep myself active”; “I am calm and relaxed”; “It will go really well.”

It will certainly pay you rich dividends to always think about precisely what you do want because you will then harness the wonderful power of your friend and make thinking positively a really effective part of your life.

Also, watch out for words like no, never, can’t, or won’t as they also signal that you are formulating negative suggestions, which you will need to rephrase into the positive. If negative instructions slip out, as they will now and then, tag onto the end the instruction “instead do . . .” (whatever it is you do want to do or have happen).
A word of warning about why and what if questions, for example, “Why does this always happen to me?”; “Why do I always behave this way?”; “What if it doesn’t go as I planned?” Have you ever noticed that when you ask yourself any why or what if question, you always receive a whole host of negative answers and thoughts? Again, this appears to be another quirk of our unconscious minds—to always answer this type of question with negative reasons and answers you really do not want to hear. Consequently, totally avoid why and what if questions because they are counterproductive to thinking positively.

Similarly, with children, we should always say to them what it is we do want them to do and not what we do not want them to do; for example, instead of “don’t drop it” (crash!), say “hold it firmly.” How many times in a day do you hear children being told not to do this or that? Instead, always ask children to do what it is you do want them to do. Parents and teachers can benefit enormously by practically applying this information because it helps children to improve their behavior.

If you still experience difficulty in thinking positively, this is probably because you regularly experience negative emotions in your life, such as anger, sadness, hurt, rejection, fear, anxiety, stress, worry, or guilt. If this is the case, have you ever considered just letting go of these disabling emotions? Or have you thought that this is just the way you are and that consequently, it is not possible for you to change and let go?

The good news is that there are a number of therapies that are able to help you remove these unpleasant feelings. The ensuing calm, resourceful, and happy states of mind will then allow you to become totally positive by using the above suggestions.

So always remember: Don’t don’t! Start training your friend to always think about precisely what it is you do want and how you do want to feel. It is definitely worth the effort because this will help you to produce positive self-fulfilling prophesies . . . and how good will this make you feel?

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit

Author's Bio: 

John Ellis was drawn to study and qualify as a master practitioner of Time Line Therapy™ because it is natural, elegant, and very effective. It also produces results that are fast and lasting. John additionally is a master practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), and he successfully combines both disciplines to help people, mainly from the United Kingdom, to overcome their emotional problems and phobias. After clients have let go of all their negative feelings, John shows them how to think positively so that they can move on and enjoy their lives to the full. Visit him online at