Or how to make your mind have no choice but to focus on the positive!
Hypnotherapy is about the power of words and how the right word can change the way
you think, the way you feel and the way you behave. And you have experienced the
power of words so many time before: when someone says something funny you feel
happy and laugh. When someone tells you some very bad news, you feel sad and cry.
When someone says something embarrassing, you feel self-conscious and you blush.
The thing is: not all words have the same power over our lives. And I am sure that, at
some point in your life, someone said something to you that resonated in a very
negative way in your mind. And maybe those words brought about self-deprecating
thoughts and feelings and changed the way you behave in your daily life just a little bit?
And as you read those words, that memory and those feelings probably came back
quite quickly into your mind. But if I tell you that I am sure (and I am sure!) that, at some
point in your life, someone said something truly kind and positive to you! As you read
those words and think hard to remember it, that memory and those feelings may still be
The fact is that the human mind seems to have evolved towards a negative-biased
attention allocation. In simple terms: we catch and hold to the negative words and
feelings they bring about more easily. This, for me, truly highlights the importance of
minimising the negative words in our lives so that the brain has no choice but to catch
and hold on to the positive.
And today I want to share with you a few tips that will help you increase the chances of
your mind to focus on the positive. They are all small things in themselves but, if you
multiply those small things by the amount of time you practice them, you may be
surprised at how things shift and change.
1. Turn negative sentences into positive ones
''Don’t worry''! ''Don’t forget the milk''! ''I am not very good at this'': negations, negations,
negations! We use them all the time! Negations give the mind the perfect excuse to
jump ahead and focus on the negative part of the sentence: ''Worry''! ''Forget the milk''!
An interesting exercise is to practice transforming your negative sentences into positive
ones, so that your "Don’t worry" becomes a "You will be okay". And right away you feel
the difference it makes don’t you? A fuller, more hopeful feeling develops in your mind
and body when you hear the words "You will be okay". Similarly, tell your partner to
"Remember the milk" for once, and notice what happens. And next time you are about
to tell someone you are "Not good" at something, change your mind and tell them you
are "Still learning" how to do it.
2. Avoid the word “try”
Try is the ugliest little word of them all. Trying something implies the possibility of failure
and, when you "try", your mind straight away acknowledges your inability to do. Try is
the ultimate excuse not to do something: it is self-sabotage at its best. The fact is that
Nike understood that perfectly when they came up with their "Just do it" slogan. "Just do
it" carries much more power and vehicles a much more uplifting feeling than " Just try
doing it" doesn't it ?
3. Choose your spells carefully!
Words can cast good or evil spells around them, and the word “Pain” is the best
example of an evil spell! If you take a few minutes to ask yourself whether you are
experiencing "Pain" right now and take a quick scan of your body I am pretty sure you
will be experiencing some level of pain somewhere in your body. The word pain calls on
the pain, and to a lesser extent variations such as "Discomfort" and "Sore" do the same.
Instead, asking yourself whether you are feeling "Quite comfortable" at that very
moment, increases the chances of your mind to focus on those areas of your body that
are indeed feeling "Quite comfortable" at that very moment. Similarly, other words
(disease, sickness, death, sadness and more, depending on your own life experiences)
carry a baggage full of negative memories and feelings that are hard for the mind to
ignore when confronted with them.
Fortunately, as every good fairy tale can tell you, every dark spell has a counter spell.
And some words have the power to bring you back to happy moments and feelings:
"Peace", "Calm", "Relaxed", "Safe" are but a few of those little white spells of positivity.
An interesting exercise is to take a moment and think about what other words you can
add to that list depending on your own life experiences. For instance, having grown up
by sea, I find that the word "waves" carries a nostalgic mix of innocence, freedom and
peace. And even though the chances of me talking to someone about "waves" during
my day are slim, in stressful times I do find myself repeating like a mantra: "waves
rolling in and out, innocence, freedom and peace".