Expert strategies for helping people to shift their focus away from their problems and onto a more positive, productive and rewarding life
By Dr. Jeffery Chapman, Sr.
It is sad but true: Americans are becoming overwhelmingly pessimistic. And, there is no shortage of studies to prove it. Reported data shows that that a paltry six percent of Americans think the world is getting better, while yet more reveals that a staggering two-thirds of Americans think the country is moving in the wrong direction. All of this growing negativity is understandably taking a toll on America, with escalating pessimism, stress and depression looming large across the U.S. In fact, the most recent American Psychological Association's Stress in America survey cites that over a third of adults are experiencing increased stress over the previous year while, this year alone, the National Center for Health Statistics shows suicide rates in America at a 30-year high.
Even those seemingly dedicated to making positive changes in their lives systematically fail. For instance, while many lean on New Year's resolutions in a heartfelt attempt to promote positive life changes, the chances of realizing those successes are slim. Reports indicate that upwards 25 percent of people who make New Year's resolutions will already have failed at keeping them a mere seven days into January. As for those who manage to outlast the week and stick it out the entire year? That number is a dismal 8 percent.
While the statistics themselves may be depressing, there is certainly hope for those dedicated to making favorable changes. When put into practice, there are three timeless truths that can help people take their focus off their problems in order to lead more positive, productive lives.
The first truth to productive living is to “think it.” It is widely believed that one’s mind has a powerful influence on the physical body—a belief that can be traced all the way back to the fourth century with Hippocrates. Today there is scientific data backing up the influence of the mind upon the body, which mainstream medicine leverages in a variety of treatments from biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapy to simple relaxation techniques.
Yet, one need not be involved in medicine to use this connection quite effectively every day. This timeless truth of thinking a productive life into being is applicable to most anyone. Here’s how it works: In order to unlock inner greatness at work, at home, in social circles and with other aspects of your life, you have to maintain a transformational, positivity-oriented mindset that is open to change and adaptation. This is because your own mind has the greatest propensity to either enrich your personal growth or limit it. It has the highest potential to either advance your life or destroy it. Therefore either you tame this tool or realize opportunity loss at best or suffer grave consequences at worst.
The second timeless truth to better positive, productive living is to “speak it.” Begin by identifying the lies and undermining thoughts that play over and over inside your head and then replace them with positive truths about yourself, such as a list of your favorable attributes, accomplishments, and so on. Go a step further and verbally speak those truths aloud. This practice of making audible affirmations has a powerful, positive effect that has been recently scientifically documented by several university studies. Research from Carnegie Mellon University, for instance, has substantiated that self-affirmation “can protect against the damaging effects of stress on problem-solving performance” and that it “boosts stressed individuals' problem-solving abilities.” During this “speak it” exercise, there is no need for rationalization. It is a simple act of giving language to the positive, desirable certainties in your life—about yourself and the world that impacts you—in order to manifest more.
The third truth to realizing desired productivity is to “live it.” The most powerful weapon we have to transform our mind, and our life, is to not just think and speak these truths, but also to live in ways that will serve a cause and effect to actualize and make these truths a reality. This is very much the principle at work with the scientifically-validated Law of Attraction. Want to lose 100 pounds in 6 months? Go to the gym today. Want a raise at work? Invite your boss to lunch this week and get to know him or her on a personal level and share your aspirations. Take some form of “live it” action every day toward your goals, no matter how large or small.
If you find yourself in the grip of pessimism, stress or depression, turning the tide and living a positive, productive and rewarding life can seem nearly impossible. However, all it takes is one positive thought to get the ball rolling in the right direction and counter the pessimism. That singular thought can then become spoken word relative to what you want to see happen in your life. But, don’t stop there or your goals may never be realized. Your thoughts and words should lead to action on your part, thereby creating a cycle of “think it, speak it, live it.” This simple yet powerful three-prong technique can truly transport you from mere wishful thinking to tangible transition.
When you apply these expert tactics for living life in a way that promotes positive progression, you will surely be well on your way to enhanced personal and professional success—no futile resolutions required.
Empowerment pundit Dr. Jeffery Chapman, Sr., is a motivational speaker and author of the upcoming book, “Timeless Truths: Three Keys to Unlock Your Inner Greatness.” He may be reached online at www.drjefferychapman.org.