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thinking become a habit. Te problem with negative thinking habits is that they leave little or no room for more positive, helpful ways of thinking. Te good news, though, is that

our way of interpreting events does not have to be permanent and our outlook is not fixed. We can learn to think in a more

positive, helpful way. We can overcome negative thinking by learning new, positive explanatory styles.

Your amazing brain

If you change how you think or what you do, then new, positive neural pathways are formed in your brain. When you continue using these new positive pathways, they become

stronger and deeper. Eventually, they will replace the old ways of thinking and behaving. You will have rewired – or reprogrammed – your brain. Imagine, for example, that you needed to learn to use your left hand instead of your right hand to write with a pen. It will take time and effort, because the brain’s neural pathway for using your right hand is well established. But if you really want to do it, you can forge new neural pathways and develop a new way of writing with a different hand. Te same is true for anything you want to do or way you would like to think. It takes effort to change the way you think, but it is not impossible and it’s never too late.

Making positive thinking a habit ❝

Certainly, when you notice you’re thinking in negative ways, you can challenge negative thinking; question how reasonable and rational your way of interpreting events are. On the other hand, you could simply accept and let go of those thoughts and turn your attention, time and energy to thinking about situations and events in more positive ways. With positive thinking, what you are aiming for is to make it a habit. A

Just make an effort every day for a couple of weeks to identify the good things in your day and then think about them for a few minutes

positive habit. My book, Positive Tinking, has a range of ideas, tips and techniques for establishing a positive mindset. You’ll discover that the more you train your brain to think positively, the more likely you’ll have helpful, pos- itive thoughts and beliefs that will soon become your normal way of thinking. It takes but one positive thought

when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts. A simple but powerful way to develop a positive mindset is, at the end of each day, to think of three things that went well.

You can simply reflect on what those things are at the end of the day – while you’re brushing your teeth or as you go to sleep – or you may want to write down them in a notebook. Tey only need to be small, simple

things; for example, it could be that a friend sent you an encouraging text, or your cat or dog did something amusing, and you watched something good on TV. Perhaps for the first time this week, your train arrived on time. Maybe someone told you something you found useful and interesting, you heard a favourite song on the radio, or you found something you thought you’d lost. Noticing what’s good really encour-

ages positive thinking, because when you think about the positive events and people in your life, you strengthen those neural pathways that help to establish positive thinking as a habit. Whether you’ve had a good day

or not, identify and reflect on the small pleasures that happened. Just make an effort every day for a couple of weeks to identify the good things in your day and then think about them for a few minutes. You will soon find yourself actively looking for things to appreciate and, after a while, it will become a habit. Doing this not only helps train

your mind to think positively, but if you’ve not had a good day, you are learning how to identify the positive despite difficulties and disappointments. So yes, you missed the train, for example, but it was a really good cup of coffee that you drank while waiting for the next one, or you received an amusing text from your friend while you waited. And no you didn’t get offered the job or a place on the course, but at least they did give you some helpful feedback. And although the cinema was full and there were no seats left for the film you wanted to see, you went to a restaurant you hadn’t been to before instead and the food was excellent!

Gill Hasson is a teacher, trainer and writer and has recently published

Positive Thinking: Find Happiness and Achieve Your Goals through

the Power of Positive Thought. Find out more at

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