We've all heard about the power of positive thinking. Yet, thinking positively is often seen as silly self-help advice. Many scoff at the thought of "loving" one's self because it sounds like something out of the mouth of a Zen master or because we can't possibly see positive thinking as a solution to any of our real problems.
The short answer to why positive thinking isn’t cheesy is simply, because it works. I know I needed convincing and maybe you do to so to explain what I mean, here is the long answer according to my own experiences.
I don’t think I’m alone when I say that many of us get into a rut of negative thinking from time to time. I think we diabetics are more at risk for negative thoughts because our diabetes requires us to worry about our health-all day long. After all, it’s easy to beat ourselves up about our diabetes management because most of us are very aware of the importance of good diabetes management.
This is all the more reason to step back and reflect on what our thoughts are throughout the day. When I did this, years ago, I was shocked to discover I rarely had a positive or hopeful thought all day! Here are some of the things I frequently said to myself in my head:
“Ugh, my hair looks awful!”
“I shouldn’t have had that dessert, I’m a terrible diabetic.”
“Why can’t I just exercise more, I’m so fat.”
“My doctor is going to think I’m ridiculous when he sees these blood sugar readings.”
My “aha!” moment led me to start gradually filtering my thoughts. Instead of removing all thoughts and making it sound like crickets in my head, I began replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. So instead of thinking that my hair looked bad, I thought, humorously, “Hey, I did pretty good for fixing my hair in 5 minutes” and instead of kicking myself over having one brownie too many I thought, “Mmm that was delicious, tonight I’ll just work it off”.
It took some time for my thoughts to turn around, but with practice they did. Soon, instead of emotionally crumbling at the site of a 250 on my meter, I would just do what was needed to lower my blood sugar. Then I’d make a mental note as to how that might have happened so that I could possibly avoid it in the future. And last but not least, I would forgive myself and move on.
Altering my thoughts and being really nice to myself felt like I was doing something cheesy for a while. That is until my self-esteem improved, my diabetes management improved, and my entire life improved. Then I thought, “hey, not bad at all!”
Published On: April 13, 2011