Positive mental attitude (PMA) is effective in many ways. There are limits to the effectiveness of positive thinking. It is not always enough to change deeply entrenched irrational core beliefs about self, others and the world that developed in early childhood. These core mistaken beliefs are often described using the idea of a SCHEMA. When a core schema is challenged, it I feels like having a killer put a gun to our head and threaten to shoot. Our survival reactions kick in and our brains kick our body into action to get ready to fight or flee. These, of course are the classical fight or flight responses.
The consciously created positive thoughts are often unable to penetrate the survival responses (Fight, Flight, Freeze) that are activated in defense of our core beliefs.
Our core beliefs are developed in childhood to defend us from threats to our survival. Alfred Adler was the first to talk about the idea of core mistaken beliefs. Today, there is a method of therapy entirely devoted to identifying and changing core bore beliefs.
Our childhood beliefs have become the truth as we see t. As a result we defend these core irrational and destructive beliefs because we are firmly convinced that they are needed for survival.
Mindfulness meditation helps people to develop the skill of being detached and aware. As a result we can become aware of these core irrational beliefs about self, others, and the world without activating self-destructive survival behaviors driven by high stress. There are simple ways to get people into using mindfulness meditation.
Combining mindfulness meditation, which allows a detached awareness of emerging thoughts, without activating survival mechanisms, can add to the effectiveness of positive thinking and affirmations. Mindfulness meditation also stops the automatic self-talk, called rumination, driven by mistaken childhood beliefs from constantly running through our minds.
The final component is a learned system for emotional management and problems solving. A comprehensive system for managing thoughts and feelings and the core belies that drive them is described in the workbook entitled Cognitive Restructuring for Addiction.
These components can make an effective combined practice for recovery:
1. Positive (Rational) Thinking
2. Mindfulness Meditation
3. Emotional Management
4. Problem solving.