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Use Your Imagination More

A number of times we have suggested that you imagine something. For instance, facing a difficult meeting in the week ahead, imagine the meeting going well.  

When you do this, what are you doing?

First you are overcoming negatives – you can’t think negatively while you are thinking positively.

Second, you are creating a scenario of what might be in positive terms and as you do that you give your mind an opportunity to review what is likely to happen.

So, imagine you were going to an interview and previously you haven’t liked interviews. So you start by thinking that this is going to be a brilliant interview.

Because you are already thinking positively you see yourself sitting comfortably and being appreciated by the person interviewing you. They appreciate the way you have dressed to make a good presentation. Ah, you think, “I must wear the ....”

You see yourself talk confidently about work you’ve done in the past. Ah, you think, “I must review my CV so that I can talk about any aspect of it.”

You see yourself talking confidently about the job on offer and the firm to whom you are applying. Ah, you find yourself thinking, I must think some more about what the job entails and how I just fit it. And yes, I must check the nature of the firm from the advert and see what else I can find out about it on the Internet perhaps.”

As you imagine it happening – and you do it positively – you find the creative side of your mind kicks in and prompts you with ideas that will help it be a positive experience.   

This really needs working through with some exercises. Imagine yourself into each of the following scenarios and think positively how you would cope with them.

1. You have a grouchy grandmother who you have been asked to go and visit. Think positive.
2. You have an exam next week in a subject you don’t like.  Think positive.
3. You have just failed your driving test. Think positive.
4. You have just picked up a ticket for speeding. Think positive.
5. Your mother’s birthday is coming up soon and you don’t have enough money to buy her a nice present. Think positive.
6. Your child is having trouble with his/her teacher at school. Think positive.

Now I am sure you could add a whole list of other things like this – life is like this – but the exercise is not to get down about life; it is about how to look for positive approaches to the not-so-easy aspects of life. If you have done all the previous exercises we’ve suggested before, you won’t find these ones difficult. Yes, they will take a little time, but there are real, genuine ways for changing who you are. Watch out, life could start improving!!!!

Replace the Negative with the Positive (1)
In the coming sections we’re going to look at a number of ways we act or think negatively. Simply being aware of these things, will help us reject the negative path and reinforce the positive path. We’re going to limit ourselves to just two per reading. Make sure you understand and take them in before you read on further. Here we go!

1. Focusing only on problems
We dwell on the problem, instead of solutions.
When we are in negative mode we get bogged down by the scale of the problem and can see no way past it. It’s like a massive brick wall and there’s no way we can overcome it. That is what focusing on the negative does for you. Worrying about how awful it is, is simply an expression of ongoing negativity.
Instead: Assume most problems have solutions, and ask "How do I want this situation to be different?"
Do what we’ve advised: imagine the whole thing dealt with. In fact think about what it will be like in six months time when it is all past history.
Then come back in time and with that relaxed feeling you had in distant history, faced up the problem with the mentality, “What’s all the fuss about? This is easy to sort. All it needs is....”
Look for solutions – they ARE there!

2.  Catastrophising:
Every bad thing that happens is a horrible disaster.
Does anyone ever refer to you as a drama queen?
Somehow (perhaps because of your past history) everything that happens is bad news, no, the worst news!!!
Instead: Be realistic and stop scaring yourself.
Face the problem and break it down into components. What exactly at the heart of the problem?
As we’ve suggested in an earlier week, perhaps the difficulty isn’t what you think it is, perhaps it is something else and that isn’t such a big issue anyway.    

Replace the Negative with the Positive (2)  

3. Expecting the worst
What if he doesn't like me?" only promotes anxiety.
Thinking or imagining the worst outcome all the time is a classic example of a negative person.
Sport’s day is coming: it will probably rain!
Hah! Useful thought! How can we prepare for such an eventuality?
We’re arranging a party: no one will come!
Wow, what a lovely lot of food we’re going to have for ourselves! Who else could we take it to? Which shut in person would appreciate an impromptu party, I wonder?
Instead: Ask questions that presuppose positive outcomes. "How can I look good there?" and  "How can I prepare for it?"

4. Stereotyping
By putting others, and ourselves, into preconceived categories, we don’t think of people as unique individuals.
We thus create strained relationships, and a sense of superiority or inferiority which is not helpful.
We usually do this with people we know little about – we may think we do but we may not really understand what makes them tick. In secondary school I had a grumpy teacher who I didn’t like. It wasn’t until after I left that I heard that he lived with an incurable, severe and constant pain. I suddenly felt different about him.
Instead: Remind yourself that we are all human beings, with unique personalities, each having qualities and shortcomings.