For years, "positive thinking" and goal-setting were often criticized as "pollyanna" and "the law of attraction" was relegated into the category of "new age" fluff
Scientists have even identified specific parts of the brain, such as the reticular activating system (RAS), which works with the visual parts of our brain to call our conscious attention to things that are important to reaching our goals and to filter out those things that are unimportant.
The RAS is activated by "programming" goals into our sub-conscious minds. Our sub concscious mind is the "power center" and THIS is the mechanism that explains why goal setting and positive thinking are now being accepted as scientific methods for change.
We are discovering that our brain is cybernetic in nature, which means that it is literally like a computer, waiting for a program to be installed.
Here's the kicker - the subconcsious is completely neutral and impartial - it will carry out any instructions you give it.
Unfortunately, many of us are still running negative programs we picked up from others as children when our non-conscious minds were totally open and impressionable, or which we developed over the years as a result of repetition of our own negative thinking.
As it turns out, our own thoughts, repeated daily, are one of the primary ways that our "mental computer" is programmed on a sub-conscious level, which is the level of beliefs, habits and automatic behavior.
To change your results, you must overwrite old negative programming and install positive new programming into your subconscious.
This can be achived through such techniques as written goal setting, positive self-talk (affirmations), and mental imagery (visualization).
In the 1970's, the Soviets and East Germans were the first to formally use structured mental rehearsal, and at that time, they dominated in several olympic sports. Today, virtually all elite athletes use visualization extensively, as we now know that the brain cannot differentiate between real practice and practice that is vividly imagined.
If you are getting more of the same negative results in your life - such as the same health problems, or the same body fat continues to return even after you lose it, then you have probably been unconsciously running old negative programs and reinforcing them with negative thought patterns.
You can begin the positive mental reprogramming process by writing down your goals, changing your internal dialogue and taking a few minutes to relax, quiet your mind and perform a session of visualization or mental rehearsal every day (seeing yourself in your "mind's eye" not as you currently are, but as you ideally would like to be).
These methods, repeated often enough, will begin to program the non-conscious portion of the mind, which is the same part of the mind that controls your heart beat, digestion and new cell production, all on "automatic pilot."
In the last decade, neuroscientists discovered that you have the capacity to create an almost infinite number of new neural connections in your brain when you run new thought patterns.
The Old neural pathways are like grooves in a record, and if you are struggling with your health related behaviors or behaviors in any other area of your life, you have been playing the "old records" over and over again.
If you were to carve a new groove into that record, it would never play the same way again. the old pattern would weaken and the new one would take over. Brand new, positive thoughts, feelings and images begin to create new neural patterns.
Psychologists estimate that it takes 21 to 30 days to establish a new pattern in your brain. During this time, the focus on sticking with your practice and repeating your new thought patterns is critical.
Is this easy? For most people, no it's not. In fact, controlling your thinking and keeping it constructive may be one of the most difficult challenges you have ever faced. Fortunately, writing goals and reading affirmations can help get you started.
You can take some of the pressure off yourself by simply accepting that negative thoughts and self criticisms will pop up from time to time. Just observe them, without mulling over them or adding to them, and change the polarity of the thought by quickly repeating one of your positive affirmations or by changing your mental pictures.
So is there something to this whole "positive thinking" thing?
The philosophers and theologians have been saying yes for the entire span of recorded history: "As you think, so shall you be." Variations on this proverb can be found in every spiritual and philosophical tradition.
But... if you are the left-brained, "prove-it-to-me" type, you dont have to go on faith anymore. Scientists are beginning to prove more and more convincingly that thoughts are powerful things.
So how soon are you going to begin your mental training right alongside your physical training? When are you going to learn how to harness this power locked up inside your mind?
Guess what? You're already using this force every day because you cannot turn it off. Whatever you are thinking and picturing in your mind repeatedly on a daily basis is on it's way to you already, so it's simply a matter of HOW you are using it, not IF you are using it.
What do you say to yourself every day? Do you say, "I am becoming leaner, healthier and more muscular every day?"... or do you say "I am a fat person - Ive tried everything, nothing ever works?"
The fact is - you can think yourself thin and healthy or you can think yourself obese and ill. Maybe not in the literal sense...but most certainly as the critical part in the chain of causation...
You see, there's a lot of talk these days in the personal improvement world about law of attraction, manifesting, intention, visualization and of course, positive thinking
Without understanding that there is an orderly, scientific basis underneath all of this, many people will simply remain skeptics, while on the opposite extreme, others may get the idea that you can sit around meditating and visualizing, then expect a mystical "law of attraction" to kick in and then "poof!" a great body materializes out of thin air... along with the perfect relationship, a nice bank account and career success.
What really happens is "Positive thinking" and related methods quite literally re-program your brain, which in turn creates new behaviors that move you physically toward whatever you have been thinking about and focusing on.
So success is achieved through positive thinking + positive doing... attraction + action. There are two sides to the coin. Without paying attention to both, you may continue to struggle... often against nothing but yourself.
If you want to transform your body or any other aspect of your life, then you have to change on the inside (the mind) first and then everything else will follow.
Train hard and expect success - a thought for your exam revision