Positive Thinking | Mindfulness and Hypnotherapy

Positive means Plus.

After thanking me for my help, a client of mine walked out of my office with a smile on her face and a skip in her step; no longer hindered by her struggles with anxiety. As I stood waving from the reception area of the Sandford Clinic in Cheltenham, I couldn’t help notice what a beautifully sunny day it was and how this perfectly reflected her mood – the universe gives us these moments from time to time.

My mind wondered, arriving at memory of a friend of mine, a former arachnophobia, who loved a long Winter. For him, a long winter meant less spiders. Yet when we spoke just recently, he mentioned he was enjoying the recent  plethora of sunshine.  “More Vitamin D” he told me, “It’s like you said, talk about what you want more of, not what you want less of.”



Positive Thinking


Now I had never said those words before, although I have ever since, yet their meaning is something I try to convey to every person who requires my help. Regardless of the given problem: anxiety to phobias, OCD to PTSD, or social anxiety to stress, we can always use more positive language in our lives.


When most people are told to “be more positive” it usually brings to mind those overly happy people who blindly ignore their problems and glaze over them with sunny disposition and sweet platitude. Such self deception is not what we Solution Focused types mean by positive language.

Steve De Shazer, the co-creator of Solution Focused Therapy, spoke of positivity and negativity as mathematical ideas. Positive means something you add, while negative is something you take away. The point to “being more positive” is to talk about things you can add to your life rather than the things you want less of.


Negative – “I wish I could stop being depressed.”

Positive –   “I want to be happier.”

So why does this help?

There is an age old example of why this form of positive self talk is useful. So familiar is this example, I would be surprised (and a little delighted) if this was the first time you’d come across it:

Try not to think of a black cat.

How did you do? Were you able to NOT think of a black cat? The key here is that the mind is unable to process a negative statement without first processing the thing you’re trying not to do. So, when say “try not to think of a black cat”, the mind must first think of a black cat in order to know what it wants you to not think about.

When we tell our selves what we don’t want, our mind will focus on that thing. Saying “I wish I had less anxiety” means your mind will focus on how anxious you are. If, on the other hand, you say “I want to be happier” then your mind will focus on how happy you are and ways of being positive.

In conclusion

As any good hypnotherapist will tell you, you are what you focus on, so focus on what you want to be rather than want you wish you weren’t. Focus on the positive. And of course, if you find yourself swimming in such seas of depression, stress or anxiety then remember to consult your GP. If you have already seen a G.P and you’d like a little extra help, please take the time book a free initial consultation at the Sanford Clinic Cheltenham and we can see how we can help.

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