Poverty is a real problem, especially in war-torn countries, but sometimes we need to ask, “Is my thinking keeping me poor?”

“It just seems like there is always something bad that happens, maybe I was meant to live a miserable life.”

“Nothing good ever happens to me.”

“I wish I could travel, I just don’t have the money.”

“There are no jobs for people like us, they always discriminate against us.”

Do these statements sound familiar? If they do, then your thinking might be making you poor.

Psychologists say that our behavior stems from a combination of our genes and our environment. We act the way we do because:

  1. Our forefathers acted the same way.
  2. People around us act the same way.

But how about those people who strive in life despite coming from a poor family and others who just don’t make it no matter how privileged they might be?

There is only one answer to this – our thinking. Research has shown that our thinking shapes our lives. In the past, the effects of our thinking were dismissed, but since Barbara L. Fredrickson published a research paper on the effects of positive thinking in the year 2004, people have started to take notice.

According to Barbara’s study, positive emotions:

  1. broaden people’s attention and thinking;
  2. undo lingering negative emotional arousal;
  3. fuel psychological resilience;
  4. build consequential personal resources;
  5. trigger upward spirals towards greater well-being in the future; and
  6. seed human flourishing.

Basically, positive thinking improves our lives. When we think better we act better.

Positive thinking is not just a “wishy-washy” word people throw around to sell their motivational material. It really works if applied accurately and consistently.

Most of us have not trained our minds how to think, and therefore, we have cultivated the habit of allowing our minds to run off on a tangent.

If you really want to change the course of your life, despite your genes and environment, then you’ve got to pay attention to what you’re thinking. 99% of the time we are thinking negative thoughts resulting in those thoughts become a reality – a self-fulfilling prophecy perhaps?

Thinking doesn’t end when we go to sleep, in fact, research shows that our brain does most of its thinking when we sleep. That could explain why most people attest to “waking up on the wrong side of the bed”. We wake up grumpy because we did not practice positive thinking throughout the day, experienced negative emotions and took it to bed with us.

Make a decision today to improve your thoughts. Perhaps you’re reading this and thinking its impossible to improve your thoughts if your circumstances are not changing. Let me tell you it is possible. Thoughts can be manipulated. You can cultivate positive thinking in five ways.

How to Cultivate Positive Thinking

  1. Meditate. Barbara’s research also showed that people who meditate regularly display increased mindfulness and purpose in life.
  2. Read. Engrossing ourselves in a good story also releases positive emotions which improves our thinking. Try to read regularly.
  3. Write. Writing allows us to drift into our own world of creativity, where anything is possible. Use writing as a form of release.
  4. Keep busy.  Have you ever heard the saying, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop”? Well, the words might be a bit dramatic, but it simply means that idle people have a lot of time to think. When you give your brain too much time to think it starts thinking of all the negative that has happened in your life. It only starts with one thought- keep yourself busy to avoid it.
  5. Have fun. Enjoying ourselves releases positive chemicals in the brain, which affects our thinking. Find time to have fun amidst your busy schedule.
[Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have. —H. Jackson Brown, Jr. ]

Published by Greta Lamfel