July 19th, 2009 by Bob Bly
Self-help gurus preach positive thinking and the Law of Attraction, which says that when you think about good things, good things will come to you.
But a new research study reported in Time (7/27/09, p. 55) disputes the power of positive thinking, concluding that “trying to get people to think more positively can actually have the opposite effect [and] simply highlight how unhappy they are.”
In a psychological experiment, a group of subjects were supposed to repeat the affirmation “I am lovable” when a bell was run every 15 seconds.
Rather than make those with low self-esteem feel better, as affirmations as supposed to do, their moods turned significantly more negative than the control group, who weren’t prodded to think positively.
The study provides support for newer forms of psychotherapy that urge people to accept their negative thoughts and feelings rather than try to get rid of them.
I am waiting for a self-help book based on this approach, which if I wrote it would be titled “The Power of Negative Thinking.”
How about you?
Do you swear, as so many seem to do, by the power of positive thinking and the Law of Attraction?
Or do you agree with the study, which seems to indicate that merely thinking about good things won’t make them come true?
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