Training your Brain to Think Positively
By Priscilla Thornton, MSW-LCSW, Certified Profile Coach
Some say the human brain is like a super computer on steroids. Powerful and complex, the thoughts generated by our brain can bring us instant pleasure or anxiety and sadness.
All of our actions start in our mind as internal self-talk. Usually we are not conscious of our internal self-talk because we have lived with these thoughts for a long time. For example, have you ever blurted out something and then immediately thought, “Wow! That sounds just like my mother. Where did that come from?”
As we begin to make positive behavioral changes to lose and maintain weight loss, it’s not uncommon for our internal self-talk to become extra critical and negative. Of course these thoughts are not true and are not good for us. It’s important to recognize negative self-talk and counteract it with a positive response or action. Examine some common examples:
“Why are you trying to be thin? You don’t deserve to be thin and improve your life.”
“I deserve to lose weight and be healthy. It’s my time to honor myself and improve the quality of my life.”
“Why are you trying so hard? You will never be a thin person.”
“I have achieved a lot of goals in my life; I am a successful person. I deserve to lose weight and improve my health. I am not looking to be the thinnest person in the room, but I will reach my weight loss goal and improve my life.”
“No one in your family has ever been thin. Why do you think you are different?”
“I am a talented and unique individual capable of making positive changes to reach my weight loss goals. I love my family, but I am not them. As an adult I have a right to my own thoughts and actions.”
“This is too hard; you will never reach your goal. You failed at weight loss so many times before.”
“I am ready to lose this weight! Yes, I have tried in the past and had a few setbacks, but I learned a lot about myself and know that I can do this because I am a committed person. Now is my time, and I have the tools and support I need to succeed.”
“You are too big to go to the gym right now, and people will look at you. Don’t embarrass yourself; you won’t be able to keep up. Just stay home tonight. You had a hard day and deserve to relax and watch TV.”
“I am beautiful regardless of my size. So what if people look at me for a second and then go back to watching themselves in the mirror? At least I am there and making an effort. Just by being at the gym I am being more active than most people I know. Yes, I had a hard day – all the more reason to hit the gym and work off frustration. If I stay in and watch TV I will just feel even more stressed.”
Starting now, acknowledge your negative self-talk because giving it a voice will remove its power. Only then can you make a conscious choice to act on it or to replace it with a positive thought and action.