Like most Americans over the age of 60, when I was growing up a compact magazine called the Reader’s Digest arrived at my home every week. Although it is still in existence, I haven’t read it for many years. Have you?
The Digest contained many heartfelt stories about families and experiences they had, some with hardship while others with success. I loved reading those stories and seeing how other people lived. The Digest also had many lighthearted jokes and anecdotes that made me smile.
The most significant thing I took from the Digest, however, was not lighthearted. It was learning about the work of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. First of all, as a child I liked that this ‘doctor’ had three names. I didn’t know anyone who used their middle name until Dr. Peale came along.
Dr. Peale was born in 1898 and became a minister, converting to a Reformed Church in 1932. His lifelong focus was on teaching people the power of positive thinking. He eventually wrote a book with that title. It was a book filled with inspirational stories of people who encountered hardship and overcame it through a change in attitude and thinking along with action.
In my work with pepole seeking to improve their health and well-being through nutrition and lifestyle changes, I listen carefully to what they say. Some have spent years dieting and depriving themselves and can be very judgmental and critical of themselves. They may say ‘I was bad last night and ate ice cream’ or ‘I have no discipline’ or ‘I hate my body’. Have you said things like that to yourself? How does it make you feel? Does it lead to positive change? My guess is, probably not. What would happen if you instead said positive things to yourself? What would that feel like? And most importantly, would it support you toward achieving your goals?
Here’s a challenge for you
I’d like you to tune in to your thoughts as you go through your day. Upon arising, what are you saying to yourself? Can you slow it down and say thank you for another day? It will put you on a better path of positivity.
Changing your first thoughts of the day to positive ones is the foundation for shifting all your thoughts to a better place.
And now, for making big changes…..try affirmations.
Affirmations are simple statements designed to change your thinking for the better. I currently have two recordings that include affirmations - one is for quieting stressful thoughts and the other is for overcoming anxiety after treatment for cancer . You can view or sample on my webpage. The affirmations I wrote were the direct outcome of negative statements I heard clients say when we worked together. The question to me was this: were these statement helping them, changing them, or just leaving them feeling helpless?
Here are some examples of thought patterns, beginning with a negative statement, followed by an affirmation. Many of the positive statements are included in my recordings.
I’m stressed out all the time with too much to do.
I release myself from all stress, recognizing my right to a peaceful, serene body, mind and spirit.
on stressful thoughts
I’m so stressed I can’t even think clearly.
I know I can do my best thinking when I am free of stressful and worried thoughts.
If only I could get my mother, father, spouse, child, friend to see how harmful their behavior is.
I am committed to releasing myself from worry and anxiety over things over which I have no control.
I feel so alone
I am grateful for all the love and caring that comes to me from all sources, past, present and future
I am lonely
I recognize the importance of having positive, supportive people in my life, and take steps to draw them to me.
on nutrition and health
I was bad last night and ate too much; I have no discipline
I’m learning how much my body needs to feel nourished and am taking steps to trust that I know exactly how much I need.
I hate my body
My body is my lifelong home and I do my best to honor it and care for it.
on post cancer anxiety
Now that treatment is over, I feel like I’m in a black hole of unknowns about my future.
I know that my positive thinking helps to calm my body, creating space for healing
I feel terrified every time I go back to the hospital for a screening.
I know it is normal to feel anxious before and during follow-up screenings, and I take steps to relieve myself of needless worry.
I just do’t know what the future holds.
I am building trust in my intuition around the ways I will live my life going forward.
I’m afraid to ask any questions when I see my doctor.
I have found and use my voice to express my feelings
I feel so isolated and tired.
I surround myself with positive people and immerse myself in their vital energy
Try affirmations, just for today
This time in our lives is precious. We are still here. Make this time joyful and filled with gratitude. It lifts the vibration in ourselves and everyone around us. Try it just for today.
If you have stories about your use of affirmations please share them with our wonderful community.