Advertising
Advertising

Think That Positive Mantras Help a Lot? Try Value Affirmation Instead

Think That Positive Mantras Help a Lot? Try Value Affirmation Instead

Positive thinking is one of the most touted philosophies in the world. Many authors have written many different books and articles professing about the advantages of positive mantras, and the list includes not only writers but many notable industrialists, celebrities, and highly respected personalities.

Decoding positive thinking

Positive thinking [1] is actually developing our mindset in such a way that we expect good and only favorable outcomes from any events. In other words, it’s the process of transferring our energy into reality by thinking only optimistic thoughts. (That’s what the notion is, at least.)

Does it really work?

While many people believe that positive thinking really leads you to the path of glory and happiness, there are others who think otherwise. Both sides have put forward many compelling reasons supporting their views. While the argument may be never ending, the detractors have a strong foothold over their claims because the proponents of the debate don’t have too many scientific backings behind their claims.

Advertising

How positive mantras can backfire

Suppression of negative emotions causes outbursts of dreadful negativity

If we use positive mantras [2] too frequently, then it might work for a shorter period but on the long run, it may cause even more adverse consequences. Why so? When we use a positive mantra, it tends to suppress our negative emotions. But, if it continues for a longer time and becomes a habit, then we might be overwhelmed by even more negative feelings at times when the results are not as expected, as there should be a balance between positive emotions and negative emotions in life. The balance of positive and negative feelings in life is also supported by the Ying and Yang theory developed by the Chinese.

Action speaks louder than mantras

Additionally, uttering positive mantras in our life might work sometimes and also, to channel the energy into reality, utter faith and absolute belief are required. However, the mantras most definitely prove themselves useless, if we just keep chanting positive mantras but fail to put into action the message that the mantra is supposed to convey. As a consequence of that, we might be caught off guard by negative kind of vibes, and feel highly frustrated because our mind will immediately conjure up many negative thoughts.

For instance, if you believe that a perfect body is the one with well-toned abs, biceps, and wings, which you don’t possess, but keep on insisting that you have a perfect body, then your mind will start searching for the fallacies (which you think, mind it) within your body. You will be insecure about the little bit of belly protruding out, you will be insecure about your waistlines and even your arms. This will make you more insecure about your body and will depress you even more.

Advertising

Trap you into delusional fantasies

A fact is a fact, it won’t change irrespective of the situations and time, so a fact is not going to change even when you utter positive mantras your whole life. For example, if you are a little short on the finances, you aren’t going to miraculously solve your financial problems just because you utter positive mantras million times. It will be much better if you accept the reality and work towards dealing with it. For example if you have loan problems you should work on personal budgeting instead of living with a false sense of security. This will make you happier on the long run.

Let’s take another scenario for example. You have an exam tomorrow and you are not prepared well. If you say that you are going to score 100 out of 100, it’s never going to work irrespective of how many times you say it in your head. The reality is you haven’t prepared well and there are certainly going to be questions, which you haven’t prepared for. While positive mantras might help you to write the answers correctly to the questions that you have prepared for, you won’t be able to write the answers, you don’t know. What I am trying to say is ‘there is a hypothetical situation and there is a brute reality’. Conjuring fantasies to wrap up reality is no way to answer any question in the real world.

Hard work is key to success in our life. If you have worked hard then despite all the negative thoughts that might surround your head instinctively, you are going to perform better, however, if you haven’t put on enough work, then no matter how many times you say that you are going to be successful, it won’t be enough.

Advertising

When positive mantras backfire

A study has also shown that positive thinking works well if you have very high self-esteem [3] . But if you have low self-esteem and utter positive mantras, it is found that it will only strengthen your negative mindset when they are met by set-backs. This will result in many negative feelings. For example, if a good football player believes that he is going to be the best then it will act as a buffer and he will be able to perform to his potential, however, if a player with low self-esteem thinks that he is going to be the best player in the world, he will feel that his shooting is not good and even his passing is not on the par with average football player in the world, which means he will perform worse in the matches.

Are there any alternatives that actually work?

If you are the believer of positive mantras and you are beginning to doubt its functionality, what will you do? Don’t fret because there is another theory called value affirmation which might help you.

What is value based self-affirmation?

First of all, values are the beliefs which we think are desirable and ideal. Our values are dynamic as it is changing accordingly and reshaping as we experience new things in our life, therefore, it is necessary that we update our values constantly, so our objective in life resembles the values we believe in.

Advertising

If we are aware of our values, it will help to maintain balance in our life. If there is an imbalance between our value and aim, it will undermine our motivation to do things. Hence, value affirmation is recognizing the values we believe in rather than saying the things like positive mantras repeatedly.

Does value based self-affirmation really work?

In one of the surveys conducted recently, students in one of the universities were chosen randomly to write about their values. Those students who were selected performed very nicely in their college years in comparison to those students who had not taken part. This was repeated again with the same success in Hispanic community and African-American community.

Therefore, the next time you find yourself chanting mantras to assure you that everything is going to be fine, stop. Instead, try to recognize your deeply rooted values and check whether your values are in balance with your action and goals or not, and become successful.

Reference

More by this author

Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

Benefits of Sauna: 8 Ways It Makes You Healthier and Happier 25 Websites Other Than Social Media To Upgrade Your Life Think That Positive Mantras Help a Lot? Try Value Affirmation Instead 6 Successful Entrepreneurs Who Struggle Through Dyslexia Every Family Has Its Problems, This Is How Some Stick Together No Matter What

Trending in Psychology

1 Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering 2 How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind 3 How to Handle Rejection and Overcome the Fear of Being Rejected 4 8 Powerful Reasons to Love Your Enemies 5 20 Things Only Parents Of Children With Dyslexia Would Understand

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 6, 2019

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

Advertising

Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

Advertising

No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

Advertising

This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable

Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

Advertising

You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1]University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
[2]Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

Read Next