I am sure that you have been told many times during your life to be positive, chin up, just think more positively- I don’t know about you, but I found this highly annoying at times.
While this advice is well-intended, it can be less than useful and, at its worst, even damaging.
There is a place for positive thinking, of course, but if we were able to turn on the positivity switch within our minds to solve our problems, then people would not struggle with things as they do in daily life.
If someone is feeling anxious or worried, telling them to be positive is not enough.
Hypnosis and hypnotherapy also occasionally use some of these positive techniques; however, it does not rely on these solely as a solution to help people who are experiencing stress and anxiety, for example.
If you think about it, there is a presupposition within the positivity model; rather than just being positive, thinking positively, or acting positively, at the same time, you are actively being asked to ignore or suppress negative thoughts, feelings, or situations.
The positive thinking approach also doesn’t really hold true when people find themselves in extremes. For example, the concentration camp detainee could hardly ignore their real-world situation any more than they could think themselves positively out of that situation.
While it is true reframing and changing perception can provide some relief and in a case such as this provides hope, it is undoubtedly not the only answer for conditions such as these or others that might be considered extreme.
My way of thinking is, whatever approach is used, it must hold true and be useful or, at the very least, have value; otherwise, it is merely a waste of effort. If this is true, then maybe we should not be advocating so strongly for its use.
A Harvard Psychologist and Professor, Susan David, published a book called Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and life. In it, she outlines the need for people to climb out of the positive thinking rut, because the evidence is growing that this approach can have the effect of digging you deeper into problems.
At Mind Talk Solutions, we use Hypnotherapy and Strategic Psychotherapy and work with people to understand and develop a different perspective. They learn how to become better, expand, and increase the choices they make in life.
We teach people how to become comfortable with the unknown and the frustrations of life.
DELIBERATELY EXPELLING THE NEGATIVE DOESNT WORK!
I understand how the idea of positive thinking is alluring, and it certainly feels good when we think about the idea. However, the dark side of adopting this approach is that we are pushing away the negative and this is where the growth lies, this is where we learn to stretch ourselves and just like an elastic band, once it has been extended it can never return to its original shape-THAT IS A GOOD THING
I recently read an article regarding a project in the UK called the Eden Project. Wikipedia describes the Eden ProJet as follows:
‘The Eden Project (Cornish: Edenva) is a popular visitor attraction in Cornwall, England, UK. Inside the two biomes are plants that are collected from many diverse climates and environments. … The biomes consist of hundreds of hexagonal and pentagonal, inflated, plastic cells supported by steel frames.‘
In these biomes or biodomes, the climate is controlled, the moisture is ideal, and all the plants and trees and fed precisely what they need. In other words, they have created the “perfect environment” for these plants and trees to flourish.
However, after a few years, a curious thing started to happen. The trees began to fall over. From what they could see, the trees looked very healthy and had grown tall and robust.
What they did notice was that the roots were shallow and were not extensive. Why was this happening?
The answer was simple because the tress had not experienced any environmental stress, having grown in a ‘perfect environment,’ they had never experienced harsh weather or even the wind. This resulted in trees that were not stress-resilient.
This is an excellent metaphor for how we, as human beings, appear to grow and thrive. Hypnosis can show you the skills of how to utilise times of stress as a stepping stone towards a more purposeful life.
PUSHING ONLY THE POSITIVE IS NOT A GOOD STRATEGY
As demonstrated with the trees at the Eden project, existing in a ‘perfect environment’ while we think this is a logical goal, in reality, it is not helpful and can create new unforeseen problems.
It is all about balance and learning to thrive despite what are, at times, challenging situations.
There is value in looking at the negative experiences in your life and seeking the lesson, no matter how small.
Hypnosis and hypnotherapy can show you how, when focused on just one or two elements or aspects of your experience, you lose sight of the broader perspective and, therefore, the value of situations that may cause pain, suffering fear and anxiety.
This is in fact the contract that we have with life and experience, and by using Hypnosis and Strategic Psychotherapy, we teach people how to move through and come out of the other side of these experiences, rather than suppressing them or even pretending that they don’t exist.
Pretending that everything is tickety-boo is not going to bring about any tangible and useful change. Because at some point, your brain will call you out on the forced positive approach, the “all is well,” and “there is nothing to see here” will eventually catch up with you- you ultimately stop buying into your own bulls***! (pardon my french)
Using hypnosis, it is easier than you think, and it is possible to make those changes without the pretense of “she’ll be right.”