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Positive Thinking and No Complaints

Deanna Keahey  ·  Oct 1, 2008  ·  7 Comments

With all the negativity about the election and the economy, it's easy to get down in the dumps. On a bad news day, I end up surrounded with negativity -- Radio, new sites, TV, blogs, and twitter. All bearing bad news, prophecies of coming doom, and discussions of who, how, why, when we got into this mess. Elections bring their own special brand of negativity, with constant attacks, spinning, mud-slinging, finger pointing, and fear mongering.

It's enough to get a person down! :-(

On the other hand, I know that wallowing in the bad-news morass can sink me into a depressed state, and that's not a productive way to deal with anything. I mope around, doing things in a half-hearted way.  What's the point, when the sky is falling, the economy is tanking, and nothing's going to work anyway? Low energy, low motivation, and low productivity.  This is hardly what I need!

Retraining your brain

Retraining your brain

So, I've decided this week to get back to a positive thinking diet. My approach here is a combination of Tony Robbins' "10-day Mental Diet", and the "21-day No Complaint Experiment" that I got from Tim Ferriss.

There's a lot of similarity between these plans.  The gist of it is that over this period of time, you train your mind to focus on positive thoughts, not negative.

When a negative thought emerges, don't allow yourself to dwell on it more than a minute.

Don't verbalize your negative thoughts

Immediately replace the negative thought with a positive one.  Where you can, focus on a solution rather than just the problem.  If the problem is too big for you to have a solution, then focus on some other related thought that's positive and empowering.

Whenever you break the rule and hold your negative focus more than a minute, you need to start all over on day 1.

A key element that the "no complaint" plan adds is a bracelet.  When you find yourself focusing on a complaint rather than a solution, you have to switch your bracelet to the other wrist, and start again.  The bracelet acts as a tangible reminder of what you've committed to, and helps you stay on track.

By the time you've gone 10 days on this plan, you've really accomplished something!  I can say from prior experience that it feels really amazing when you can keep this up.  Banishing all that negativity makes life seem a lot rosier.  You're accomplishing more because you're focused on solutions rather than problems.  You've got more energy, life is better, and you're a heck of a lot happer.

As for this morning?  I've got a long way to go!  I've swapped the bracelet half a dozen times so far, and I'm having trouble making it through 21 minutes, let alone 21 days. Oops -- that sounded like a negative thought there, didn't it?

Quick change: The mere fact that I'm working on this is already making me feel better!  With a little bit of practice, 21 minutes will be no problem at all. By tomorrow, I'll practically be an expert!

Gee, I'm feeling better already! :-)

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I'm heading out soon for our San Francisco and Napa Valley trip.  For me, the most stressful part of any trip is the few days right before it, when I'm trying to get everything done before I leave town!  It's always hopeless, there's too much to do. -- Ooops! Quick change -- I get through as much as I can, and the rest of the to-dos will still be there when I get back. Sometimes aging them a bit mellows them out. :-)
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Categories: Life experiments
Posted from:   Phoenix, AZ       Photo credit:  

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jaky // Oct 1, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    Good post. I will surely talk about your post on my blog.
    keep writing.

  • 2 Ricardo Bueno // Oct 13, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    It's way easy to get caught up in negative thinking that impacts your mood and behavior! The radio...tv...heck, even the blog-o-sphere!

    It was my mother's birthday the other day...I hugged her and asked hey, why the down look? And she starts telling me about EVERYTHING she's seen/heard on tv. :-/ We chatted about it sure, but mostly to try and get her mind off of it. When we did, she admitted it's probably not a good idea that she listens to it on the radio every chance she gets and she watches it all on tv.

    Anyway, that's where I like your exercise! I can see it being a fun way to get you back onto better (more positive) thinking. :-)

  • 3 Deanna Keahey // Oct 13, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Hi Ricardo -
    You're so right that getting sucked into the (negative) news everywhere can really bring a person down. Good of you to cheer up your mom on her birthday - sounds like you made a difference! :-)

  • 4 Sandra R // Sep 9, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post... nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

  • 5 Deanna Keahey // Sep 21, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    Thanks! Always nice to hear somebody likes it. Have a great day! :-)

  • 6 Hayley Deveraux // Nov 18, 2010 at 12:05 am

    Thank you for your words. It's really good to be reminded sometimes to be optimistic and to smile. :)

  • 7 Anthony // Mar 6, 2011 at 9:41 am

    There's a recent trend - affirmations. It reprograms one's learned attitude and behavior in the brain by repeatedly saying a positive affirmation of the desired reaction/behavior (especially when one finds himself doing/thinking something negative). Your post somehow reaffirms the same psychological basis.

    In short - thanks.. this helps! 8-)

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