Where you have used Rational Thinking to challenge incorrect negative thinking, it’s often useful to use rational, positive thoughts and affirmations to counter them. It’s also useful to look at the situation and see if there are any opportunities that are offered by it.

optimism wordle

With Clarity comes Certainty, find out how to be clear about yourself.

Affirmations help you to build self-confidence. By basing your affirmations on the clear, rational assessments of facts that you made using Rational Thinking, you can undo the damage that negative thinking may have done to your self-confidence.

Your affirmations will be strongest if they are specific, are expressed in the present tense, and have strong emotional content.

Continuing the examples above, positive affirmations might be:

  • Feelings of inadequacy: “I am well trained for this. I have the experience, the tools, and the resources that I need. I have thought-through and prepared for all possible issues. I can do a really good job.”
  • Worries about performance: “I have researched and planned well for this, and I thoroughly understand the problem. I have the time, resources and help that I need. I am well prepared to do an excellent job.”
  • Problems with issues outside your control: “We have thought about everything that might reasonably happen, and have planned how we can handle all likely contingencies. Everyone is ready to help where necessary. We are very well placed to react flexibly and effectively to unusual events.”
  • Worry about other people’s reaction: “I am well-prepared and am doing the best I can. Fair people will respect this. I will rise above any unfair criticism in a mature and professional way.”

If appropriate, write these affirmations down on your worksheet, so that you can use them when you need them.
As well as allowing you to structure useful affirmations, part of Positive Thinking is to look at opportunities that the situation might offer to you. In the examples above, successfully overcoming these situations will open up opportunities. You’ll gain new skills, you’ll be seen as someone who can handle difficult challenges, and you may open up new career opportunities.

Make sure that you take the time to identify these opportunities and focus on them as part of your positive thoughts.

In the past people have advocated thinking positively almost recklessly, as if it is a solution to everything. The approach should be used with common sense, though. First, decide rationally what goals you can realistically attain with hard work, and then use positive thinking to reinforce these.

Key Points

This set of tools helps you to manage and counter the stress of negative thinking.

Thought Awareness helps you identify the negative thinking, unpleasant memories, and misinterpretation of situations that may interfere with your performance and damage your self-confidence. This allows you to deal with them.

Rational Thinking helps you to challenge these negative thoughts and either learn from them, or refute them as incorrect.

You can then use Positive Thinking to create positive affirmations that you can use to counter negative thoughts. These affirmations neutralize negative thoughts and build your self-confidence. You can also use this approach to find the opportunities that are almost always present, to some degree, in a difficult situation.

Confidence comes from being really clear about yourself – the clearer you are, the more certain the outcome.

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