One of the ‘mental laws’ conceptualized by New Thought teachers in the early 1900’s is the ‘Law of Substitution’. Brian Tracy, in his book Maximum Achievement, explains the Law of Substitution this way:
“It states that your conscious mind can hold only one thought at a time, and that you can substitute one thought for another. The ‘crowding out’ principle allows you to deliberately replace a negative thought with a positive thought.”
It is impossible to eradicate a thought from your mind unless you fill the space with something else. If you say to yourself, “I won’t think about the snowstorm that we are having. I won’t think about the snowstorm,” I guarantee you will continue to think about the snowstorm. If, instead, you turn your thoughts to the warmth of your home, the glow of the fireplace, or the hot soup that you intend to have for supper, the thought of the snowstorm is forced out.
Terri Hartman, a publicist, producer and writer who works from her patio garden in Florida, (now there’s an example of someone who has obviously become skilled at manifesting the ideal work life), also uses this technique. She focuses on inviting in the positive rather than pushing away the negative. This is how she makes the change from negative to positive thought,
“What I do is so simple it’s crazy. B.R.E.A.T.H.E. The key to breathing is to exhale first. Most people try to force air in where stress and distractions already fill the space. Instead, I blow it out gently, rotate my shoulders and then slowly inhale as I choose my thought, creating a movie in my mind. For me it’s sometimes a park with sun coming through the trees. Sometimes I’m in the First Class Lounge of British Airways waiting for my flight to London. Nothing wrong with a good fantasy.”
It will help if you plan ahead and have tools ready to help you with this. For example, you can, like Terri, decide ahead of time what fantasy you want to focus on. You can prepare affirmations that you can recite when dealing with difficult situations. Or you can have some upbeat music available. If you are stuck in traffic and start to have angry thoughts about other drivers, you won’t be able to just ‘stop’ those thoughts, be prepared and use your commute to listen to motivational cd’s so that you tune out any outside influences, while still keeping your mind on your driving, of course.
Here are some turnaround phrases you can use to change your thinking, listed from the serious to the silly. Create some of your own, using your own slang and preferred imagery.
“There is another way I can choose to see this. Let me see, what would be a good way for me to turn this around?”
“I can change the way I think about this and how it will turn out. In fact, this was a good thing because now I can ….”
“This thought isn’t serving me. I will let this go and think about how beautiful my garden looks (fill in with a positive image of your choice).”
“What is the lesson in this for me? What can I learn from this to make sure I don’t repeat this mistake?”
“It’s too bad that happened but brooding (or sulking or getting mad – fill in your default negative response) isn’t helping. I will think about …….”
“I am the ruler of my mind and I decree that this thought is banished from my head. Bring in the dancers!”
“Bye bye negative thought. Welcome thoughts of joy, pleasure and abundance. Talking of abundance, I wonder if I won that $10 million dollar lottery last night?”
“It is so cool that I can just change my mind in an instant. I love this power. I am WONDER WOMAN.”
What’s your favorite way to turn your thinking from negative to positive?