Positive thinking – is it even possible?

There have been times over the past few years that I am sure you can all relate to; times where I have descended into despair, and the cloying negativity that accompanies it. I can recall many mornings when I have awoken to a bleak mindset, wanting only to pull the covers over my head and forget the world, others, where I just felt nothing at all. These are days when my mind sees problems, not challenges and negative thoughts run riot.

Any traumatic event or major loss in our lives, can lead us into these mind-troughs. Initially, it’s the all consuming nature of emotional pain that strips away rational thought and good intentions. But sure enough, the passage of time brings moments where positivity creeps over the horizon, like the morning sun rising over a distant hill. And it’s lovely! We begin to experience the world again, as a place where there is warmth and light.

positive thinking

But positive thinking isn’t just something that happens to us; it is an action, a habit, a quest. Any, and every day, no matter how we are experiencing the world, we can choose to be a more positive person. Choose: decide what our heart desires, and then, make it happen.

Do you need more help with this? Download this FREE pdf Tool Kit that will help you to change your mind and patterns of negative thinking

Three ways to choose positive thinking

  1. The habit model – habits are simply things that we decide to practice regularly, until they become an integral part of our lives. Many habits can increase positive thinking, such as gratitude journaling, self affirmation, encouraging others, taking a daily walk, mindfulness, silver lining spotting and yoga, to name just a few.  Set yourself small habit goals that are very specific – such as “I will email or text one person every day to express my gratitude towards them.” – and then try to piggyback them onto habits that you already maintain. The habit goal above might become something like “Every morning when I sit down to drink my first cup of tea, I will email or text one person to express my gratitude towards them.” Work with just one habit and log your success, until you are consistently maintaining the new habit. Then add in another. The habit model often works very well for people who are well organised and like routine.
  2. The quest model – a quest (SuperBetter terminology) is a small, readily achievable task that you set yourself, which, when completed will move you towards a greater goal – and which is fun! If your goal is to achieve a positive thinking mindset, you might take a few minutes each morning to choose 2 or 3 quests to complete over the course of the day, each of which will move you slightly closer to your goal. For instance, you might decide that today you will contact a friend to ask them what you can do help them have a better day, and also do 2 minutes of breathing exercises while focusing on the mantra, “I can choose…” The quest model works really well for creative, or easily side tracked people (like me!) and those who feel complete overwhelm – because you can start off with the tiniest of quests and build on that.positive thinking
  3. The voice model – this can work in any way that gives expression to your voice, you just need to find a method that makes sense to you. Remember that the goal is to progress in positive thinking, so you are looking for means of expression, where you can give your positive voice some exercise. This could include journaling, mirror self talk (can be mighty powerful looking yourself in the eye and speaking positively to your core), logging successes or achievements of any kind, agreeing to play the glad game (Pollyana terminology) with a friend – not as a one off, but as a way of life, or speaking encouragment other people. The voice method can be helpful for those who revel in self-reflection, want to overcome negative speech or tap into the positive energy of a friend.

These are just three – of many – ways to actively choose positive thinking. You can use aspects of all three together – or something completely different that you know will work for you. The important thing is to take action  – to DO something. To make a change.

I’d love to read your comments and ideas of changes that work for you, and which we all might find useful. And if you enjoyed this, and want more ideas about how you can change your mind (ways of thinking) you might like the FREE Life I Choose Tool Kit on this topic.

Ali x



The power of play and how to become SuperBetter

“The opposite of play is not work…  it’s depression.” Stuart Brown, play researcher.

We often think of play as the business of childhood. However, playfulness is not only essential for normal development (in many species, including humans), it is also an adult expression that allows for joy, creativity, bonding, problem solving, inner-healing and more.

We live in a society, where recognition of the power of play for adults is experiencing a resurgence, after a couple of centuries of decline. Thankfully, our increasing desire to listen to what science can tell us about this world and our place within it, has allowed the truth about play to re-surface.

TED talk – Play is more than fun, it’s vital – Stuart Brown

The power of play

Play is powerful, especially when we come to understand it as a process, rather than an activity. Playfulness is a way of being, the principles of which have been beautifully explored in the concept of SuperBetter.

While SuperBetter came out of the computer gaming industry and mindset, it’s core principles can be applied to any area of challenge in real life.

We set ourselves the challenge, then create a series of small quests, the completion  of which, will move us in baby step towards overcoming the challenge. But we aren’t alone, and like any great video game, we can seek out allies to support us in our quests. These are people we can share our progress with and who will support us and cheer us on.

We become the hero of our own journey, and each quest makes us stronger, building resilience that is either physical, mental, emotional or social. It might help you to give yourself a fantasy character (avatar), or to identify with a character from a book, film or video game.

the power of play
Fantasy avatar

Any quest wouldn’t be complete without baddies and power-ups. Baddies are the specific things we fight daily, as we move towards overcoming our challenge. They could be attitudes (like procrastination), self-talk (like “you never finish anything”), practical issues (like clutter), or physical limitations (like pain). They could even be someone else’s words (“you’ll never…”)

Power ups are the positive boosters that make us instantly more able to fight a good fight. They can be anything that increases positivity and well-being. Examples are: breathing exercises, walking, appreciating nature, music, connecting with a friend, a hug, a physical exercise, a simple mental challenge, smelling something delicious, eating a healthy snack, exposure to sunshine, self-care, stretching or watching an inspiring clip on YouTube.

The most important aspect of a power up, after it’s ability to improve well-being, is that it needs to be quick and easy. A power up should generally only last a minute or two.

The SuperBetter “programme” of gamefulness suggests that each day you try to activate at least 3 power ups, fight one baddie and complete 3 small quests (from your challenge to-do list). Seek out your allies for encouragement and support and work towards epic wins on your journey towards completing your challenge.

The science behind the success of this kind of real life game play is convincing. Play is indeed powerful – life changing – and SuperBetter helps us to harness the power of play in overcoming our real life challenges.