Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Power of Positive Thoughts

In my yoga class today, the instructor spoke to us about how positive thoughts can actually help release feel-good hormones into our bloodstream. And of course, the opposite is true as well. That negative interior monologue that tends to chastise and rebuke, has a physical manifestation as well. Being aware of this inner critic, I try to keep her at bay – I know she’s doing me no favors. But there is nothing like trying to lose weight to get her going. Any misstep or overindulgence pumps up the volume on these types of thoughts. I try to banish them but they come back from time to time anyway, always at my most vulnerable moment.

In Step Four of Sally’s Year of Self Care, she addresses this phenomenon at length and gives some tips for combating it. The idea of cultivating an empathic inner voice is not entirely new to me. I do often stop mid-negative thought and try to replace it with a more positive one. But Sally takes it a step further and encourages us to have inner conversations with ourselves about how we’re feeling. As she notes, it seems a bit corny but can be quite transformative.

My favorite quote is at the end: “It’s not just about weight loss, though self-empathy helps with weight loss. It’s about finding fulfillment in life by honoring your needs. That starts with gentle listening.” I will work on doing a better job of listening to what it is I truly want so I’m not distracted by what I may think I want in the moment.

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