The Power of Negative Thinking

In this New York Times article The Power of Negative Thinking Oliver Burkenham describes how Motivational speaker Tony Robbins encouraged people to walk over hot coals. Robbins told people that the trick is to have a positive mindset but people were not positive enough and so suffered burns. The real trick is to walk quickly and lightly.
power of negative thinking‘What if all this positivity is part of the problem?’ asks Oliver Burkenman. ‘What if we’re trying too hard to think positive and might do better to reconsider our relationship to “negative” emotions and situations?’

Positive visualisation is another popular technique by positive thinkers. Yet recent research by Gabriele Oettingen has shown that it can make you less likely to achieve. Fantasising about you goal actually can deplete peoples get up and go.

‘Or take affirmations, those cheery slogans intended to lift the user’s mood by repeating them: “I am a lovable person!” “My life is filled with joy!” Psychologists at the University of Waterloo concluded that such statements make people with low self-esteem feel worse.’

Burkenham even points out some reservations about fixating too much on goal setting as this can lead to cutting corners just to meet the specific goals set.

‘The Stoics recommended… deliberately visualizing the worst-case scenario.’ Burkenham explains, ‘This tends to reduce anxiety about the future: when you soberly picture how badly things could go in reality, you usually conclude that you could cope.’

Please follow this link to read the original article and let me know what you think.

Related Posts

Can You Be A Positive Realist?
3 Dangers of Positive Thinking
Barbara Enrenreich Exposes the Myth of Positive Thinking
Should we through away our vision boards?

Mending Broken by Teresa Pasquale

A book review

Mending Broken will give you an insight into what it is like recovering from trauma. It is written for those who have experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder especially victims of rape like Teresa herself. It is also for anyone who works with such patients or clients in therapy, counselling or in a pastoral setting.
In Mending Broken Teresa Pasquale communicates beautifully the emotions of living with and recovering from trauma. Teresa’s experiences will be emblasoned on your memory due to her skilful story telling. Through these gripping and deeply moving pages you develop an empathy with her. After reading through this slim volume you feel like you know her.

There is plenty of wisdom in Mending Broken that can be applied to both sufferer and counsellor. It shows how trauma victims may react to some therapies. It shows how reliving the event may just be aggravated by therapy rather than calmed. Teresa Pasquale shows how she found her trauma helped by contemplative meditation.

Mending_my_broken_heartMending Broken isn’t a textbook on trauma. If you are seriously examining this topic you will need to read more widely. But this book does give you a perspective that can be useful you if you have experienced PTSD yourself or are helping someone through trauma in any capacity.

If you’ve had a similar experience to Teresa then this book will motivate you to overcome the numbness and disassociation that such an experience may bring. Mending Broken will encourage you to rediscover your authentic self and to take some positive steps towards healing and contemplative spirituality may be one way towards that.


Thanks to Mike Morrell of the SpeakEasy Network for sending me this book to review free of charge.

Further Reading

Mending Broken – the official booksite. (Mending Broken is also available on Kindle – just click through the Amazon link above for your area.)
Teresa B. Pasquale – her main website
Crooked Mystic – Teresa’s blog, including topics such as life parables, gritty living, mystic path, emerging verb, and mp3s of Teresa’s teaching
Teresa’s articles on TIKKUN
the society for {young} christian contemplatives
SEEK{ers} – the young adult contemplative/faith formation community Teresa leads.

5 Awesome ‘How to…’ Posts

I entered my previous post How to Be More Assertive in a Group Writing Project on ProBlogger. It was one of 84 ‘How to..’ posts on all manner of subjects. Having surfed through them I have found a few I resonate with that fit well on this blog. I would like to encourage the authors and recommend that you read their insights.

How to Maximize Study Time & Master Any Subject

Nicole Bianchi explains a memory technique called lecturing ‘lecturing the wall’ and gives you some action steps to put it into practice using the PQRST method.

Use your Ninja Powers to Survive Unemployment

Lisa who is unemployed herself gives nine simple strategies that will enable you to tap into your inner strengths and keep you going through your unemployment.

How To Survive the Snack Attack.

Elizabeth has a very sensible approach to snacking: snack on healthy foods like apples, drink more water and shop for the healthiest snacks you can find.

How I cope with anxiety and depression

Meagan Gallant gives a very candid account of how she keeps herself positive with umpteen practical tricks that she uses to tackle anxious and depressed thoughts.

How to Have a More Productive and Energetic Morning

17 year old Sam Matla writes a blog about being more productive. Here he shares some excellent tips that will get you going in the morning.

Have a look through the whole list and let me know which others you would recommend: 84 Must Read ‘How to’ Blog Posts