The Power of Positive Thinking
These are the words of Norman Vincent Peale, a graduate of Boston's School of Theology, later to become a Methodist clergyman and pastor. He coined the term when he published one of the original ‘self-help’ books in 1952, by the same name. Extremely popular at the time, some may recall seeing grandparents reading through its pages during times of distress or uncertainty.
Having sold over 5 million copies in over 40 languages, Peale could be viewed as one of the most significant influencers of his time.
You might wonder how his writings could be so life-changing? It was relatively simple; using the bible and paring it with human optimism, Peale identified elementary techniques that encompass affirmations and visualizations. Interestingly, support for his work never rose to prominence with his contemporaries, but the masses couldn't get enough; he is credited for writing more than 40 additional books on similar subjects.
The Evolution of Positive Thoughts
It seems when world events cast shade on its inhabitants, the troops of positive thinking rise to the occasion by pulling out a discarded box of crystals, growing their hair and beards, and dressing in a manner reminiscent of the 60s. And, what is so wrong with that? History has taught us that most new ideas or inventive consciousness can be traced to periods when alternative populations would extract words and phrases that can be handily updated and combined for a new and improved version of inspiration theory.
Today, a crop of self-help gurus has come center stage, as evident on social media and print. The combination of an out-of-control political environment, a lifestyle pace we are forced to adhere to, accompanied by an uncertain future; once again (and, perhaps in the nick of time), has given society a valid reason to search for answers both spiritually and remarkably, from a power within.
The New Generation and Their Search for Understanding Fate
First, the term God has been replaced by “Universe,” check out Instagram or TikTok, and you'll find posting after posting claiming money, an admirer, or success is coming your way by simply tapping on the screen. Or that by following a few simple steps, you can be rewarded by just getting out of the way and accepting your fate. The purpose of following the instructions made by the experts translates into increasing the producer's subscribers, which monetizes their newfound calling. It is simple to understand; follow the money.
Today's trends in personal awareness have become spiritual rather than religious—its revival started around 2017, with the return of astrology, essential oils, tarot cards, crystals (as mentioned earlier), and a plethora of alternative health treatments. These are just some tools used to enhance the healing of relationship trauma and a long list of other ailments. Oddly, millions of people find themselves searching for tranquility or answers that used to be provided by the government, family units, or their church through unverified methods.
We witness pseudo therapy, consultations, advice, and predictions, auctioned off on blogs, websites, and other digital formats to disenchanted consumers. It is unexplainable to see personal contact replaced by informal and questionable practices, many of which prey on the weak and vulnerable.
The growth of these cottage industries is derived from pop culture. It will continue to flourish due to future uncertainties, and there will be money easily captured from a needy public in search of self-actualization.
To Be Fair—The Other Side of the Coin
Comforting but difficult to prove is the success of the peaceful amalgamation and practices of Affirmations, Manifestations, and Visualizations huddled under the umbrella of Personal Intentions. This mixture of faith and hope is proclaimed the magic potion for a new generation seeking emotional growth.
To reach the state of nirvana, the path begins with Personal Intentions; an individual must be motivated for accepting change into their lives, resulting from conflict or dissatisfaction; it is the accelerator for seeking help with personal challenges. From past trauma, relationship issues, money problems, and anxiety and mental health concerns, the intent for seeking assistance fit into this encompassing basket.
As discussed, people utilize various methods to alter their thoughts and feelings. Cards, fragrances, stones, yoga, and meditation, to mention a few, appear to be connected to the cognition of creating Affirmations.
Affirmations are verbal or mindful declarations, whereas a person turns a negative thought or feeling into a positive one. For example, suppose they were to be troubled by the break up with a partner and ruminate about loneliness. In that case, an Affirmation they might repeat when they are missing that person could be, “I am free to explore the many options the universe can offer me, and I will find a new and wonderful relationship soon.” In taking a step in reclassifying a situation or outcome, it is believed the mind will reprocess the feelings and turn them into healing action.
The goal is to remove the stress and anxiety from the equation (using relaxation methods or tools we discussed) and shine a positive light on the connection between one's thoughts and physical being.
In simple terms, the action of Manifestation is the conscious projection of a favorable outcome. Using external tools, individuals will visualize the results they wish to experience. The process includes writing down a description, purpose, or intent of the thought and putting it under their pillow. It can also involve sending psychic messages to others, hoping to receive the gifts sent through telepathy.
The idea is to share wishes with the Universe, hoping it delivers a positive result.
Finally, we come to Visualization, which is creating a thought, story, or script in the mind; it is the acting out of the proposed event.
While sitting quietly, the practice allows the mind to create through sight, sound, and emotion how the desired experience will feel when it occurs. It has been concluded there is no differentiation from the event a person creates to the authentic experience. Hence, connecting the mind and body through this process cements continuity, resulting in the desired outcome.
Research shows significant results using this method to improve athletic performance outcomes, with many using it to achieve peak performance. This technique is also popular for those in the arts, public speakers, and those who must meet higher than average expectations.
Generally speaking, the thesis of these transformative practices is found in the concept of Neuroplasticity. The idea is that the brain can create and reorganize synaptic connections in response to learning or problem-solving. In using alternative pathways, it is believed that changes to a result are possible.
Coming to recognition is a relatively new therapy; Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Its use is growing in popularity among mental health professionals, with experimental data demonstrating positive results in clinical settings.
EMDR is believed to help with emotional problems that result from traumatic experiences. As a form of psychotherapy, it has been proven to be a quick and effective treatment. The “active ingredient” in this treatment allows the left and right sides of the brain to reprocess events differently than at the time of the distress. With a second opportunity to understand the event using the whole brain, it is believed that resolution can be attained.
Scientists have researched cross-body movement through experiments with actions known as “tapping” (crossing arms and tapping one's shoulders or legs for a specified time) along with other coordinated efforts that connect the left and right hemispheres of the brain. These cross-lateral body movements allow both sides of the brain to connect, coordinate, and share information and data, resulting in a re-experience of events, stressful encounters, and painful thoughts.
There is a large body of cognitive re-conditioning techniques and practices available for public consumption; yet, no one can determine what will work best for an individual. We know that as technology expands and fills our lives with unlimited knowledge and abilities, levels of stress and anxiety interfere with our ability to remain centered and focused at all times.
Everyone needs to find peace, relaxation, and release from a lifetime of trauma. From the literature, it would appear we could all benefit by selecting an apparatus that provides comfort, safety, and security to our inner selves. By no means can someone else predict what will accomplish these goals; only by investigating and practicing will you find the tool that produces the results you wish to achieve.
We wish you the best of luck in your journey in the search for self-improvement.
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