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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Last Updated on March 22, 2019

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

When we talk about happiness, we think about staying happy all the time – every single day, every single minute with zero negativity.  We try to pursue this constant state of “happiness” as our goal, and avoid anything that may take it away from us.

But what is the meaning of this type of “happiness”?  It’s like your favorite food.  The more you have of it doesn’t always mean the better.  On the contrary, when you only have a chance to eat it sparingly, that’s when you really savor every bite of it.  So is it the food itself that makes you happy, or is it how valuable it is to you when you are eating it?

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We should always remember that only by experiencing sadness do we understand what it is to be happy.

Video Summary

Assuming others are always happy is the biggest misunderstanding of happiness.

Most people see those who have seemingly perfect lives and assume they are happy all the time.  Since childhood, we are conditioned to chase the idea of “happily-ever-after” that we see in fairytales.  On social media, everyone tends to share only the best looking aspects of their lives (including ourselves).  So it’s very easy to have a distorted view of what “happiness” is around us.

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In reality, there is always something missing, something lacking, or something unpleasant.

No one has a perfect life.  Even the most glamorous celebrities or the richest billionaires, everyone has their own set of challenges and problems.

When we feel negative, we’re only focusing on a small fluctuating curve.  As CEO of Lifehack, I’ve had to deal with countless problems, and some of them felt like real setbacks at the time.  During those moments, it really seemed like these problems would be the life or death of my company and my life goals.  But I got through them, and weeks, months and eventually years passed with many more ups and downs.

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You need to keep your sights on the extended curve.   Looking back now, a lot of those “really big” problems at the time seem like only small blips in a long line of experiences. Recalling them in my mind now makes me smile!

Stop trying to be happy. Just be.

It’s natural to want to be happy as often as possible.  So what can we do?  First, throw away the belief that a perfect life means happiness.  Personally, I would be miserable if everything was perfect.  It’s from experiencing the pains of lifelong challenges that drives us to care for others when they are experiencing the same trials.  If life was perfect, you wouldn’t be able to empathize.  If life was perfect, you wouldn’t grow.

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To be truly happy, stop chasing permanent happiness.  It sounds like a paradox.  What I mean is, accept that there will be ups and downs throughout life.  Gracefully understand that happiness is a fluctuation of positive and negative events.

Understand the importance of gratitude.  Instead of focusing on the unpleasant moment right now, flash back your memory to when you had or didn’t have something.  I like to think about my career, for example.  When I didn’t have a career I was passionate about, I felt lost and demotivated.  I felt like everyone was figuring out their lives but me.  But when I found my purpose and started Lifehack, I was deeply happy, even before I realized I would be successful!  This memory keeps me going when there are tough spots.  It takes the darkness to make us grateful for the light.

Happiness and sadness exist together

What it all comes down to is this: your life will be filled with beautiful, happy and incredible moments.  Happy tears and joyous shouts and funny stories.  But your life will also be filled with rain and storms that don’t ever seem to pass when you’re going through them.

But whether your face is warmed by the sunshine, or your heart is dampened by the rain, know that it’s all part of the ebb and flow of life.  Treasure the happy moments and power through the sad ones.  Don’t try to avoid “sad” or “negative” experiences, and blindly chase being “happy”.  In the end you will achieve a true level of contentment in your life, based on meaningful experiences and achievements.  Being able to create growth and meaning out of both positive and negative events — that is the true meaning of “happiness”.

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