Faith WoodAs far back as 1937, Napoleon Hill was writing about the human mind. In his book Think and Grow Rich, he set out the idea that success truly starts internally.

According to Hill, we can think ourselves rich by having the right mindset, and following certain guidelines on how we think about success, money and our lives going forward.

Over the years, this concept has been revisited dozens of times.

For a long time, the idea that our thoughts could affect our physical lives seemed almost a joke or wishful thinking. But in more recent years, studies have shown there’s more to this line of thinking than was once believed.

Science has effectively proven that positive self-talk (and its counterpart negative, self-talk) affects both mental and physical health.

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Even more startling?

Our success, growth and development can all be attributed to how we think and the things we tell ourselves.

How does this work?

In a research study done at the University of North Carolina, various participants were asked to react to a variety of stimuli. The results were intriguing.

It was shown repeatedly that those who had a positive experience were able to see possibilities in a way that those who reacted to negative or even neutral situations couldn’t. Positive influence was seen to lead to problem-solving and the ability to see choices in difficult situations.

Now imagine what happens when you apply this thinking to positive self-talk. You quickly discover individuals with the most upbeat inner dialogue will not only see possibilities but are more likely to engage in positive action. Here’s where you see a long-lasting effect of building new skill sets and compiling resources for future activity.

Even more important is how this impacts your state of mind.

Positive self-talk – and the long-lasting impact of being able to see the big picture and then to develop the resources to make dreams reality – leads to even more important mental growth.

The study went on to show that the positive person is more likely to experience joy and contentment. Positive self-talk leads to happiness.

These studies are just the tip of the iceberg. But they demonstrate how our self-talk impacts every aspect of our lives.

Keep this in mind the next time you catch yourself thinking you’re not able to accomplish something or you start berating yourself for some mistake. That’s where you need to stop and reword criticism into something constructive. Your future success depends on it.

Troy Media columnist Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications. 

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