04/26/2013 08:03 EDT | Updated 06/26/2013 05:12 EDT

Seven Ways to Generate Positive Thoughts

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Think of a time when you were feeling perfectly well, and then a colleague at work said, "Are you feeling OK? You look tired." Suddenly, you see yourself in your mind's eye, looking tired, with grey skin and bags under your eyes. Perhaps a memory of when you were last sick pops up. All of a sudden, you recall that you went to bed late last night, and although you hadn't really felt tired up till then, it makes sense that you should. Quickly, those thoughts change into their material equivalent: your shoulders droop and you feel exhausted!

The words we say to ourself and others, as well as those we hear, generate positive thoughts or negative ones, and these are quickly transformed into behaviours and emotional states. Here are seven ways to use your own words to generate positive outcomes.

1. Reword your malady. If you don't feel well or you're tired, never tell anyone that. Instead, tell them, "I could use more energy," or "Once I'm fit and healthy, I'll be fine." Every time you say something like "I'm feeling depressed," you're simply adding to your burden, albeit unintentionally. The more you repeat your complaints, the worse you'll feel.

2. Stay away from limiting words. Avoid words such as "cannot" when referring to yourself. Instead, reach for a higher-energy statement such as, "When I can..." Also avoid words such as "hopefully," or "maybe," or "one day," because when you use those words you are really saying, "I'd like to, but I can't."

3. Avoid destructive words. Remove words like "hate" from your vocabulary. Instead of, "I hate it when that happens," try "I prefer it when..." This is not easy to do, and you'll forget. But if you attempt to make a few small changes in your speech you'll see a big improvement in outcome. A friend of mine has been telling me for 15 years that he hates his job. Over time, he's gradually found himself getting more of what he doesn't want.

4. Begin and end each communication on an up note. This is especially important when using electronic media. It's imperative that the last message you type is a positive word leading to positive thoughts. Try, "Best," or "Cheers," or "Keep smiling." Because you wrote it, you get the benefit. The recipient reads it, gets an image of a smiling friend, and receives a lift from it too.

5. Start and end your day with a positive thought. Before you go to sleep at night, thank yourself for a great day. When you wake up, the first words in your head should be something like, "I feel absolutely fantastic, and I know today is a successful day for me."

6. Speak the words aloud when out of earshot. Say the words from step five out loud. This may feel at first like the onset of insanity, but soon you'll be able to afford the best psychiatrists money can buy!

7. When you're down, use an affirming statement. Whenever something irritates or depresses you during the day, take a deep breath and silently pump yourself back up with an affirming statement filled with lots of adjectives and adverbs. Try, "I feel absolutely, amazingly, vibrantly healthy!" Notice how your energy level changes. It really does work!

Using words to generate positive thoughts and emotions is something you can begin right now and change your life. It requires no monetary investment, no time, and only a little effort. From this moment on, before you speak, take a little breath, smile, pause...and then map out your better thoughts in stronger words. Just try it for a day and see how differently things work out for you.

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