The Creative Power of Thought

Thoughts are powerful things. They have impact. They lead to actions, which bring results. They are the building blocks of our lives. We literally create our experiences by the activity of thinking.

We can take control of ourselves in any situation because we, and we alone, control our thoughts. They determine what we become, what we achieve and the way we see others. When our thoughts change, so do our lives.

Thoughts come and go, but do you always make wise decisions about your thinking? Do you act only on your highest thoughts? When you understand the importance of right thinking you become a creative force and potentially a force for good.

The Law of Vibration

There are vibrations in space related to the underlying energy and intelligence that holds the universe together. Everything is in vibration. Sound, light, energy, matter and thought are all forms of vibration.

Imagine tossing a pebble into a pond and watching the ripples spread out. What happens when two pebbles are tossed into a pond? Two sets of ripples spread out. Where they intersect, they create a variety of patterns.

Similarly, you continually send out thought vibrations. The mind is constantly radiating energy – and so does the universe itself. It emits a constant wave of thought energy. Where the two sets of thought waves intersect, a pattern is created. This is how your world is formed.

Imagine your thoughts intersecting with the universe. What kind of pattern do they create? Align your personal vibrations with the vibration of the universe, then you align with the best life has to offer.

Thoughts have substance

Thoughts have substance. Thinking produces energy. The longer, more intensely and more often you think something, the stronger the energy waves sent out. When your thoughts centre on higher things, your entire being rises to a higher rate of vibration.

Higher thoughts attract good into your life. You can think yourself into health, happiness, friendship and prosperity; similarly, you can think yourself into ill-health, depression, loneliness and poverty. If you repeatedly think, ‘I can’t do it,’ your thought becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. (The antidote for this disempowering state is to affirm, ‘I can’, loudly and often).

Negative thoughts are nothing to fear as long as you know them for what they are – not the truth, just thoughts, and swiftly replace them with higher thoughts. There is no reason to think that any negative thought reflects reality.

Thought stopping

Get into the habit of observing your thoughts. Isolate unwanted thoughts and let them go. Say, ‘No!’ ‘Go away!’ ‘Stop!’ or similar. Alternatively, tell yourself, ‘That’s an old thought. I no longer choose to think that way.’ This technique is called ‘thought stopping.’ Persistent application of the thought stopping technique soon stems the tide of negative thoughts and weakens their power.

Drop unwanted thoughts quickly – the longer you cling to them, the harder they are to get rid of. Most of us never take control of our thinking – which is why most of us don’t achieve as much as we would like.


Thoughts are expressed in words. The Buddhist text, the Dhammapada, emphasises this. ‘Just a single word that brings peace is better than a thousand useless words. Just a single verse that brings peace is better than a thousand useless verses.’

Become aware of the words you use. Use words and phrases which make you feel good, inspire others and align with your vision and purpose, and avoid any which are self-deprecating or disempowering.

Mental resistance

When you first become aware of the power of your thoughts and decide to change, you may notice a persistent voice in your head resisting your new way of thinking. This comes from the conditioned mind, the centre of your old habits, which hates change and feels threatened by it.

Give it short shrift. Talk to it. Tell it you recognise where it is coming from, and refuse to take any notice. Tell it to be quiet and go away. Negative thoughts create resistance to the universal flow of life and goodness. You don’t want to think those old thoughts any more.

If you want to transform any aspect of your life, start by changing your thoughts about it. Decide the kind of world you want to inhabit and think the kind of thoughts that will draw it towards you. Fact: when you change the way you think about something, what you think about changes. Not just your perceptions of things, but the things themselves.


©David Lawrence Preston, 10.11.2016

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How to Become A Positive Thinker

How you think matters.

There is a direct connection between what you think and what you say and do, and what you get out of life. As long as you keep thinking as you’ve been thinking, you’ll keep feeling as you’ve been feeling, doing as you’ve been doing, and getting what you’ve been getting. So if you want something different, do something different; and if you want to do things differently, change your way of thinking. Your behaviour will follow suit. It’s the way we’re made.

Fortunately becoming a habitual positive thinker is no more difficult than learning to ride a bicycle!

The Cycle of Thoughts

You have approx. 50,000 thoughts a day, but where do they come from?  There are four main sources:

a)      Your unconscious. All the experiences you have ever had, whether real or imagined, are recorded in your unconscious mind. When any of this material floats to the surface, you register a thought. This is where the majority of your thoughts come from.

b)      Sometimes a thought is triggered by a feeling. A feeling of hunger, for instance, can trigger the thought I’m hungry, I want food.

c)      Your intuitive self, including your imagination.

d)      You can consciously, purposely and deliberately create them.

The Cycle of Thought goes as follows:


1. You have a thought

You cannot prevent a thought arising from the unconscious, but you do have the power to act on or ignore it, accept or reject it. You don’t have to be attached to any thought if you don’t want to.

2. You decide

Thoughts do not inevitably lead to action, although some people act and react without a great deal of conscious thought.

3. You act – or you don’t

You act. Or you don’t. You speak. Or you don’t. If you like what you get, you do it again. If not, eventually you try something different.

4. If repeated, a habit forms

Whenever you repeatedly place your attention on a thought pattern, you create a new habit or strengthen an existing one. And if you withdraw your attention from an unwanted habit, it will fade and die.

5. Habits direct your thoughts

Habits direct your thoughts – if you let them. But you can challenge them and change them if you want to and it you’re determined enough.

Becoming a positive thinker

How do you take charge of your thoughts?  Simple. By changing what you say to yourself. Remember, conscious thinking is really just talking to yourself.

Do this using the Four Step Method:

1.      Be mindful

2.      Interrupt self-defeating thoughts

3.      Feed in the positives

4.      Keep at it

Step One: Mindfulness

Mindfulness is paying attention to your thoughts – listening to your ‘internal dialogue’ or ‘self-talk’.

Try this: Every so often, pause. Break off from whatever you’re doing and be still. Withdraw your attention from everything around you and go inside. What are you thinking?  Is it  positive or negative? Where is it coming from? Why are you thinking that thought? Where is it taking you?

The more you do this, the better. It is the first step in initiating change – and it’s powerful.

Step Two: Thought stopping

You can only hold one conscious thought at a time, so if you become aware of a thought that serves no useful purpose interrupt it. Say something like ‘Stop!’, ‘Cancel!’, ‘Go away!’, or ‘Next!’. This breaks the pattern.

In addition, do something physical like clapping your hands, stamping a foot or banging a table.  You can also imagine closing a book, a symbolic gesture that that’s the end of it.

If you catch yourself thinking negatively, don’t be annoyed with yourself. This will only make you more likely to slip up again. Just let it go.

In time thought stopping becomes unnecessary. Negative thoughts don’t bother entering your head once they realise that they are going to be firmly dealt with!

Step Three: Feed in the positives

Having stopped the unwanted thought, immediately replace it. The simplest replacement for an unwanted thought is its direct opposite, e.g. replace ‘I can’t’ with ‘I can.’ Say it as if you really mean it.

Another option is to use an affirmation. Either make one up on the spur of the moment or use a favourite one such as ‘I like myself’, ‘I am strong and worthy’ or ‘I am cool, calm, and in control’.

If at first you feel you’re lying to yourself, don’t worry. It doesn’t matter if your new thought isn’t literally true (yet). This method is just a tool to help you change your way of thinking.

Make it your motto never to say or think anything that you don’t want to be true! You will be directing your unconscious mind to create the situations and behaviours you want.

Step Four: Keep at it!

Persistence is the key to success. It takes about a month to change an old thinking pattern.

Don’t let others put you off. Most people are unaware of how powerful their negative thinking is. Nor do they realise they have it within their power to change.

You can’t change others’ thoughts – only they can do that. But you can enlist their support by explaining what you’re doing. If all else fails, you may have to minimise your contact with negative people until your new thinking habits are firmly established.

These Four Steps are very powerful: in fact, properly used they can even help overcome debilitating fears and phobias.

Can you think of any reason why you can’t start applying these Four Steps right away?

And remember – merely reading through these materials without putting them into practice is like reading the label on the bottle without taking the medicine!


©David Lawrence Preston, 5.3.2016

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Affirmative Prayer

Affirmative prayer is not like the sort of prayers that many of us grew up with. It is not about pleading with a G_d to do something for us, but directing our self-talk to our inner selves in a positive and life-enhancing way.

We know there is an Intelligence in the universe that shapes energy into matter and responds when we direct our attention to it – in recent decades scientists (quantum physicists) have confirmed that this is so. We are an integral part of this Intelligence. We are each an individualized expression of the whole, like musical notes contributing to a complete composition. Our aim is to express more of the attributes of this Intelligence – life, love, joy, wholeness, harmony, freedom, abundance, peace and so on. But it does not come from ‘out there,’ but from ‘in here’.

Iris Murdoch called prayer, ‘the most essential of human activities.’ Why? As the Danish philosopher Kierkegaard said, Prayer does not change G_d, but it always changes the one who prays.’

Just as everything in the universe – including you – is energy in vibration, prayer is energy too. Prayer-energy is a form of higher vibration. So pray often, whenever you feel a need. Pray in silence and feel that inner peace. Pray in the morning, before your mind has turned to other things, to start the day in a centred, peaceful frame of mind. Pray in the evening, to wind down and go to sleep.

How to pray

Affirm and deny. There are two main mechanisms:

  • Denials – in this context, letting go: releasing the energy you have been putting into the appearance of spiritual lack.
  • Affirmations – establishing in your mind the attributes you wish to acquire and thinking, speaking and inwardly feeling them taking form.

Affirmations and denials can produce immediate changes in the mind, especially if the word ‘now’ is included.

Example of denials

Use the word ‘release’ in denials and ‘establish’ in affirmations as reminders of the changes you want. Identify and be clear on the mental and emotional conditions you want to release and those you wish to establish, and be conscious of what you are denying and affirming.

‘I now release from my life all negativity, all lack, all sickness, resentment, jealousy, fear…..’ and so on.

Examples of affirmations

‘I now establish in my life perfect health, forgiveness, courage, strength, prosperity, happiness, love and peace. I am whole and free, and I am grateful……’

‘The vitalising energy now floods my whole consciousness.’

‘I am now aware of the Presence in me that is whole and complete, that heals, and inspires and harmonises. It is the source of my Inner Power and my power to think, my power to achieve and the glory of all my accomplishments.  This is the Truth, and it is now done.

  1. Pray regularly

Set aside time every day for quiet prayer.

2. Pray in the silence

Enter the silence and mentally relax. Go to a place where you will be undisturbed and close the door. Quieten the mental chatter.

3. Pray to the Source

Address your prayers to the Source (however you envisage it) within. Realise that you have always been part of the Infinite Intelligence.

Remember, all visible things come from the invisible and are dependent on the unseen for their existence, and you have a part to play in this process. Prayer brings into play forces that change the character of every cell in your body.

  1. Do not become a ‘praying beggar’

Do not misunderstand the purpose and effects of prayer. It is not to get a ‘Higher Power’ to intervene in the world; this is not prayer is for; nor does it work. Instead, ask for strength, wisdom and guidance from within.

Don’t ask for solutions; ask for the wisdom to find them for yourself and the strength to put them into action.

5. Pray unceasingly

You can pray any time – indeed, every thought is a prayer in its own way. The more you pray, the more effective it is. Pray in the certain knowledge that your words will make a difference.

The words you use in affirmative prayer are like seeds planted in your mind. They bear fruit. They are prime causes that eventually create sought-after effects. Don’t take my word for it – try it for yourself!


©David Lawrence Preston, 29.6.2016

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Thoughts on Affirmations

What does ‘prayer’ suggest to you? A pointless ritual? A cleric recites from a prayer book while the congregation gives fixed ‘responses’ parrot-fashion? This is one form of prayer, but it is not the whole story.

As a child, I was taught to get down on my knees and plead with a supernatural being to take pity on me, give me what I wanted and solve my problems for me. I call this ‘begging prayer’. Needless to say, this kind of prayer hardly ever works. Nowadays I don’t believe that prayer is for acquiring things or having our problems solved by an outside force, but for hastening our personal growth.

Which brings us to a third type of ‘prayer’, one that does work. It’s called ‘affirmative prayer’. It is, in effect, concentrated positive thinking. It works directly on our consciousness, making us aware of limiting thought patterns and changing them so that new thought patterns manifest as life conditions. There’s no need to kneel or beg and you don’t have to pray to a G-d unless you want to. You can pray anytime, anywhere, and in your own words. It can be a one minute activity in which you pause, mentally switch off from your surroundings and take a few moments to centre yourself among the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Affirmative prayer has three main mechanisms – mindfulness, denials and affirmations. Denial is letting go of unwanted thoughts and limiting beliefs. The process is then completed by affirming the truth of positive thoughts and beliefs.


Mindfulness is simply going within and being aware of our thoughts and feelings and how we are responding to the world around us. It is taught in clinics, classes and counselling sessions all over the world as an effective psychological therapy.


Denials are akin to preparing the ground before planting seeds – first we dig up the weeds, clear the ground and prepare the soil. For example:

  • I now release all fear, all worry, anxiety and mistrust.
  • I am now letting go of all hatred, anger and all bitterness.

Allow yourself to feel the release happening as you interrupt the energy you have been giving to erroneous thoughts.


Follow each denial with affirmations. To affirm anything is to assert that it is so. It begins the process of making it so even if there is no visible evidence to support it. Use a form of words such as, ‘I now accept…..’ or ‘I now establish…..’ The word ‘now’ adds to their immediacy. For example:

  • I automatically and joyfully focus on the positive.
  • Perfect harmony is now established in me. I am at peace.
  • It is right for me to have happiness (or love, prosperity etc.). I claim it. I give thanks for it.
  • I resolve to live, love and be happy, whatever happens around me, with compassion for all.
  • I have time enough, faith enough, strength enough and enthusiasm enough to do the things that need to be done by me.

Create some affirmations for yourself. Write them on a card and carry them around with you. Use them often, both silently and aloud. You can adapt them any time to meet your own needs.

Intuitive ideas

We receive answers to affirmative prayers not in the form of miraculous interventions, but intuitive ideas. When they come, act on them. Keep your wits about you and let your inner self guide you.

 Don’t ask for changes in your circumstances, but in yourself. Affirmative prayer brings about changes in every cell in our bodies and in our energy field. And when we change, the world changes, reflecting back the changes taking place within us. Then, as we incorporate more of the higher qualities into ourselves, we are able to make a real difference to our own and other people’s lives.

Affirmative prayer has been shown to be effective in many scientific studies, and the explanation is not difficult to find. In quantum terms it aligns our thoughts with the highest vibrations of the universe.

Deep inside us, at our very core, is a place of absolute silence and stillness where we become aware of a peaceful Presence at the centre of our being. But first we have to clear away the foolish thoughts and emotional fog which obscure it. Thinking too much is like over-eating – it brings a kind of mental indigestion of anxiety and stress. That’s why every respectable spiritual tradition teaches stillness and silence to connect with one’s deepest self and strengthen our link with the Life Force, whatever we conceive it to be.

So put aside your negative preconceptions about prayer. Don’t be a praying beggar. Direct your thoughts positively, focus on the Power within you. Be inspired. When you’re calm, whole and centred on the inside, your life is complete on the outside too. That’s what the Buddha meant when he said, ‘Meditate and be mindful, and all else will follow.’

©David Lawrence Preston, 7.6.2018

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Positive Attitudes

‘The longer I live, the more I realise the impact of attitude on life.

Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, then what other people think, say or do.

The remarkable thing is, we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.

I am convinced that life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes!’

Charles Swindoll

Attitude matters more than facts, circumstances and what others say or do, and it’s something we choose for ourselves every day.

Once you get into the habit, being positive becomes a way of life. It shows in the way you talk, walk (have you ever seen a positive person walk staring at the ground with hunched shoulders?), what you say, the way you say it, how you feel, the way you are and the way others see you. It helps you to be happier and more successful at everything you do.

It not only improves your life in the short-term, it could even enable you to live a healthier, longer life. Thoughts of hopelessness and helplessness actually weaken the body’s natural defences, the nervous and immune systems.

People with positive attitudes also seek out the good in others, have the courage to try out new ideas, and settle only for the best. For them, anything is possible, and ‘I can’, ‘I choose’, ‘I decide’ and ‘I will’ are their watchwords.

So from now on, make it your motto never to say anything, either to yourself or out loud, that you don’t genuinely want to be true!

Never say you can’t do something – instead say you could if you wanted, or you haven’t learned yet, or haven’t practised enough, or are still working on it. Transform, ‘There’s nothing I can do’ into ‘Let’s look at the alternatives’.

But remember, positive attitudes are not always acquired naturally, especially if you grew up surrounded by negative people; they have to be carefully nurtured until they take root in your unconscious. Then they blossom – and so does your life.

Real positive thinking

There are many misconceptions about positive thinking. Positive thinkers are often regarded as idealistic, naïve and even out of touch with reality. But that’s not what it’s about. Obviously, you don’t solve problems by pretending they don’t exist. If water is pouring through the ceiling, it is pointless to tell yourself ‘There is no leak, everything is dry ‘ and do nothing about it. You’d probably be swept away in the flood.

Real positive thinking is different. You stay calm and tell yourself you can handle it.’ Then you take action. You find out where the water is coming from, turn off the supply and place a bucket under the leak. Then you mop up and call a plumber.

Your aim is not to hide from reality, nor trying to run away from problems by denying their existence. Even if you don’t have all the skills you need at present, you can learn. Very little is beyond your capabilities: there are just some things you haven’t yet learned.

Positive thinking leads to good feelings, self-belief and positive action. And that’s the point.

©David Lawrence Preston, 6.4.2016

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Positive Mind, Positive Questions

The way you talk to yourself is crucial. It influences your state of mind, your mood and your behaviour, and therefore the circumstances of your life.

Frequently your self-talk – the ongoing conversation in your head – sounds like a series of questions since we habitually interrogate ourselves: ‘What should I do next?’ ‘How should I react to this?’ ‘Why did I do that?’ ‘Why was I so stupid?’ And the unconscious is designed to come up with a response, even if the question is totally groundless.

The unconscious has no intelligence. It is not capable of judging the validity of a question. Its job is to search its data files for an answer, and it always finds one. For instance, if you ask: ‘Why am I so unlucky?’ it will give you an answer even if you are not particularly unlucky, which inevitably makes you feel worse.

The answer you get depends on the ‘presupposition’ behind the question. Presupposition means ‘assumption’. Presuppositions don’t have to be deliberate or even conscious, and it’s important that you make yourself aware of them.

When you ask yourself a question with an positive presupposition, your unconscious searches its databanks and comes up with a positive answer. For example, ask:

  • How could I be happier?
  • How can I solve this problem?
  • What can I learn from this?
  • What can I do to improve?

and your unconscious looks for evidence that you will be happier, things are going well, and you are learning from your experiences and so on. Then it suggests ways of making things better.

Teachers, counsellors and coaches know this very well. They are trained to ask ‘powerful’ questions, those that interrupt their students’ and clients’ negative thinking patterns and move them forward.

One way to use this principle is to change ‘Why?’ questions to ‘How?’ ‘Why’ questions often take your mind back to the past, focus on problems, and keep you stuck there; ‘How’ questions such as ‘How can I solve this?’ move you forward.

For example, imagine a tennis player who has just lost – again – to an opponent who he knows he should be able to beat. ‘Why can’t I beat X?’ he asks, exasperated. ‘Why is he so much better than me?’ A little voice in his head responds:

  • ‘Because you’re not as talented.’
  • ‘He’s physically stronger than you.’
  • ‘He’s quicker than you.’
  • ‘He’s mentally stronger than you.’
  • ‘He’s younger/older than you.’
  • ‘You’re just not as good.’

Now he’s really down in the dumps, having convinced himself there’s no way he can ever beat him.

Now consider these questions:

  • How can I beat him next time?
  • What must I do?
  • How can I improve?
  • What are his weaknesses? How can I exploit them?

Whether you’re asking silently or out loud, ask in a firm voice that pre-supposes a helpful response. Now the mind has something constructive to work on. ‘Change your tactics… practise your second serve… hit more shots to the backhand… stay back from the net… eat right before the match … etc. etc.’

Sometimes the answer comes quickly, but not always. The unconscious rarely works to deadlines, but answers do come, often when least expected – when mowing the lawn, doing the cleaning or driving to the shops. You can develop this faculty by asking for intuitive guidance and asking for solutions to your problems. Now the unconscious has something positive to work on.

Powerful questions focus your attention on solutions rather than problems, help bring the Law of Attraction into operation, and are a characteristic of the thought processes of all happy and successful people. It’s a simple switch to make, so start now. Use the Four Step Method. Be aware of the questions you ask yourself. Stop negative questions. Replace them with positive questions. And keep doing it. I promise you, your life will quickly change for the better.


©David Lawrence Preston, 4.4.2016

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A Walk in the Mountains


A son and his father were walking in the mountains. Suddenly, the son falls, hurts himself and screams: “Aaahhhhhhhh!!!”

To his surprise, he hears the voice repeating, somewhere in the mountain: “Aaahhhhhhhh!!!”

Curious, he yells: “Who are you?”

He receives the answer: “Who are you?”

Angered at the response, he screams: “Coward!”

The answer comes back: “Coward!”

He looks to his father and asks: “What’s going on?”

The father smiles and says: “My son, pay attention.”

And then he screams to the mountain: “I admire you!”

The voice answers: “I admire you!”

Again the man screams: “You are a champion!”

The voice answers: “You are a champion!”

The boy is surprised, but does not understand.

Then the father explains: “People call this ECHO, but really this is LIFE.

It gives you back everything you say or do.

Our life is simply a reflection of our actions.

If you want more love in the world, create more love in your heart.

If you want more wisdom from others, increase your wisdom.

This relationship applies to everything, in all aspects of life;

Life will give you back everything you have given to it.”


(Author Unknown)

Posted 26.3.2016

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Positive Self-Talk

Plato remarked correctly that when the mind is thinking, it is talking to itself. Our internal dialogue (or ‘self-talk’) can help build a wonderful life or play havoc with everything we do – if we allow it.

One study revealed that continually using negative words and phrases can bring about a decline in our memory capabilities and an overall drop in our physical performance. In contrast, people who habitually use positive words report an improvement in memory and an increase in physical performance.

You can take control of your Self-Talk by carefully choosing the words you use. This is more important than most people think. Words are expressions of ideas, and ideas shape your life. But words shape ideas too, as anyone who has read George Orwell’s ‘1984’ will know. In this, his masterpiece, Big Brother deliberately restricts the choice of words available to the population so that ordinary people would be incapable of thinking a rebellious thought. The forces of ‘political correctness’ use much the same approach.

When you are careful about the words you use, especially if at the same time you you’re your chosen words some energy by, for instance, changing your posture, tone of voice and body language, you feel differently. You feel stronger emotionally.

You can remove or soften the impact of a negative thought, or change it to a positive. Positive words, backed up with positive physiology, have a big impact on the emotions. Try this:

Slump down in a chair and tell yourself you feel ‘miserable’. Notice how you feel.

Now look up and tell yourself you feel ‘a little low’. Notice how you feel.

Now smile and tell yourself you feel ‘cheerful’. Notice how you feel.

Empowering words and phrases

Here are a few words and phrases that really energise, and some to avoid:

The best sentences start with empowering words such as ‘I can’, ‘I am’, ‘I do’, ‘I have’. If at first they don’t feel right (for example, if you feel as if you’re lying to yourself), remember, you’re not trying to mislead yourself, but bring about beneficial changes in your way of thinking that will eventually manifest as new feelings and behaviour.

Change ‘I must’ or ‘I have to’ to ‘I choose’ or ‘I prefer’. This impresses on the unconscious that you are deliberately making your own choices.

Similarly, drop any phrases that make it seem you’re stuck in the past. So, ‘That’s just the way I am/it is’ becomes ‘I can choose a different approach’, and ‘There’s nothing I can do’ is transformed into, ‘Let’s look at the alternatives’.

Make a habit of using words that create good feelings – words like health, happy, loving, kind, relaxed, affectionate, beautiful, successful, enjoy, peace and so on.

Henry Ford famously said, ‘If you think you can, or think you can’t, either way you’re quite right.’’I can’t’ sends a harmful messages to the unconscious. It renders you incapable or less capable than you really are. Change to, ‘I can’ or, if this is too big a leap all at once, ‘I would find it difficult at the moment, but I can learn/improve.’

‘Shoulds’ and ‘Shouldn’ts’

Shoulds and shouldn’ts and their close relatives, ought, must, got to, and so on. These phrases infer that there are fixed rules limiting our options, or that someone else is making our decisions for us. Frequent use of shoulds and shouldn’ts is often a sign that a dominant parent figure or strong religious or cultural programming is controlling our thinking.

Shoulds and shouldn’ts come in three main forms:

  • Shoulds related to ourselves,  our capabilities and/or our conduct, such as, ‘I should do better,’ ‘I mustn’t do that.’ Change to ‘I choose,’ ‘I decide,’ or ‘I prefer’.
  • Shoulds related to life and other people, e.g. ‘People shouldn’t behave like that,’ or ‘Things should be different.’  Such thoughts inevitably bring disappointment, irritation and even anger since the world is most unlikely to conform to our wishes all the time.
  • What would XYZ think? This reveals a strong need for others’ approval. Obviously there is nothing wrong with wanting to be liked and accepted by others, but it becomes damaging when we feel we have to edit ourselves to win that approval. Let these thoughts go, centre yourself, and instead tune in to what you think is best.

For example:

  • It shouldn’t be allowed.
  • People should be kinder to each other.
  • Children should have more respect for their elders.
  • It’s not fair!
  • They (politicians, the authorities etc.) should do something about it.

Now you:

People use words differently. Everyone has their own favourite words and phrases, so come up with a list of words that create negative feelings in you, and write a list of alternative words and phrases that you could use instead.

Now make a list of words and phrases that make you feel good. Put your list somewhere you will see them every day. When you look at your list, breathe deeply and smile to yourself.

I promise you, put these ideas into practice and you’ll quickly notice your life changing for the better!


© David Lawrence Preston, 25.3.2016

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Three Easy Techniques For Becoming A Positive Thinker

The Rubber Band Technique

This simple technique works in two stages:

First, it increases your awareness of unhelpful or negative thoughts, emotions or behaviours you want to change.

Second, it helps you replace unwanted patterns with the chosen new ones.

Wear a rubber band on your left wrist (or right if left-handed). Twang the band when you notice an unwanted thought. This sends a  slight pain to the brain and changes the way the unwanted thought is wired into your nervous system.

Having ‘twanged’, immediately replace the unwanted thought with a positive one. For example, change the thought, ‘I do not want to be ill’ to, ‘I want to be healthy, I am healthy.’ This leave a lasting positive impression in your brain.

Remember the Law of Attraction – what you think about you attract into your life. Keep your thoughts on what you want.

The Seven Day Mental Challenge

Here is another powerful tool to help you to become a habitual positive thinker. Just follow these four simple rules:

Rule One: For the next seven days, reject any negative thoughts, words and phrases. Keep your mind off anything you don’t want.

Rule Two: If you should find yourself indulging in negative thinking, stop the thought immediately. Release it and smile at its nonsense.

Rule Three: If you find yourself toying with a negative thought for more than thirty seconds, drop the thought, wait until the following morning and (no matter how far through the seven days you are) begin again. In other words, restart counting at Day One.

Rule Four: Continue until you have completed seven consecutive days. Then keep going for another seven days, then another, then another… You’ll have embedded a healthy new habit pattern into your consciousness.


Judge Thomas Troward, a great metaphysical teacher, strengthened his thought stopping with a dose of derision. He would mockingly say, ‘Cock-a-doodle-do’ when he wanted to prevent a wayward thought influencing him!

These techniques are as effective at clearing out your mental system as a raw juice diet is at detoxing your internal organs.

There’s more in my book, ‘365 Steps to Self-Confidence’ (How To Books, 2010)

©David Lawrence Preston, 21.3.2013

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