The term of positive psychology encompasses a variety of ways that encourages people to identify and develop their positive emotions, character traits and experiences. Although some dismiss positive psychology as nothing more than happy talk, practitioners have proven time and again that these techniques provide the balance necessary for people to improve by expressing their authentic selves.

A well-known advocate of positive psychology, Martin E.P. Seligman, psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, has described its core philosophy as a ‘build what’s strong’ approach that can be added to the ‘fix what’s wrong’ approach. This philosophy of positive psychology may prove more beneficial in today’s world than even Seligman realized.

In general, 70% of our inner self-talk is negative. Why? Because when we were children, we didn’t have the tools to filter out negative information. Before age seven, a child receives between 140 and 150 thousand bits of negative information. Yes, you read correctly. This negative information begins quite inoffensively with our parents saying things like: “no,” “not that,” “not now,” “stop it,” “you aren’t,” “never,” “be careful,” “you can’t do that,” and “watch out.” In contrast, children before the age of seven receive only 3 to 4 thousand bits of positive information.

Harvard psychiatrist George E. Vaillant agrees that positive psychology is an effective way to encourage people to build strengths and focus on positive emotions while supplementing on negative emotions. These negative emotions, of course, include the more than 140 thousand bits of negative information received in childhood.

Although negative instructions may be necessary in early childhood for safety and survival, they still have an echoing impact in later life. That’s one reason why we need to reprogram ourselves later, so we can feel more naturally optimistic about our goals, our actions and even ourselves. Negative inner dialogue harms our relationships with others as well. On those days we find ourselves reacting negatively or feeling depressed, we should pay extra attention to the nature of our inner dialogue.

One message that repeats in almost all personal growth or self-help programs is that our self-talk determines our success in life. Coaching strategies that involve positive psychology focus on personal strengths and positive emotions by recognizing negative beliefs and thoughts that distract you from achieving positive events and ultimately, reaching your goals.

The first important step in positive psychology helps you isolate and identify the kind of negative self-talk that’s weakening your self-confidence and therefore, weakening your ability to achieve. The second step neutralizes your negative self-talk with antidote statements that you engage whenever you catch negative self-talk arising. When used effectively, these techniques create a powerful mechanism for reducing the harmful effects of negative self-talk. Any reduction in negative self-talk improves self-esteem and quality of life.
Article Author: Smiljan Mori is the founder of MindOver™ Network, Brilliant solutions for Performance, Motivation and Happiness. He has literally created a successful business and coaching empire from scratch and is a best-selling author and motivational speaker who brings unparalleled professional experience and the latest scientific research from neuroscience and positive psychology to audiences around the globe. He has shown more than 150,000 people from 50 countries how to change their lives for the better.

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Motivaction For Life by Smiljan Mori

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