Does Positive Thinking Really Work?

Recommendation: read What Is Positive Thinking Is & How Does It Work?, which is the updated version of this.

Is positive thinking effective for improving your life? Or is positive thinking just some kind of scam?

The answer is that positive thinking is highly effective provided you understand what it is, how it benefits you, and how to think positively.

Without these ingredients, positive thinking does not work, which helps explain (in part) why some people hate positive thinking and are skeptical of it.

With this in mind, here are the:

5 Reasons Positive Thinking Doesn’t Work For Some People

1. The idea of positive thinking is too vague to be helpful

People frequently discuss “positive thinking” in a very vague, general way, so that it’s often not even clear what is meant by positive thinking.

Bottom line, if you don’t have a clear idea of what positive thinking is or how positive thinking helps you, you probably won’t think positively in the first place.

So it won’t work, if you’re not even doing it.

2. Believing that positive thinking is pointless or nonsense

Believing that positive thinking works helps make it work.

And believing that positive thinking doesn’t work prevents it from working.


This is an important point to understand, so let’s think about it for a moment.

If you believe that positive thinking can help you, your brain is motivated and energized to think positive thoughts that can help you. So this enables positive thinking to work for you.

But if you believe that positive thinking is pointless, useless, and doesn’t work, your brain doesn’t have any motivation at all to change its thinking and think in positive ways that can help you.

So the result is that you end up not thinking positive thoughts that would help you (to the point of even consciously rejecting positive thoughts that would help you), and as a result, positive thinking does not work for you.

3. Rejecting positive thoughts as invalid without reasoning

It doesn’t matter how wonderful a positive thought is if your brain doesn’t accept the thought as valid.

For example, the positive thought that you can become happy will help you become happier provided you accept this thought as valid or true.


Because by accepting this thought as valid or true, you are naturally more motivated and energized to try to become happier, which helps you achieve being happier.

But, if you reject the belief that you can become happy as invalid or false, this means you don’t “really” believe that you can become happy. And this means, in turn, that you don’t have any energy or motivation to become happier, and so it doesn’t happen.

This is why reasoning and using your intellect is an important part of getting positive thinking to work in your favor.

For this example, consider the following: if you have been happy at least once before in your life, is it more reasonable to believe that you can or can’t ever be happy again?

4. Not understanding what positive thinking does and doesn’t do

Does adopting the positive belief that you can become happy guarantee that you will find happiness and never feel sad again?

No, of course not. That’s not how positive thinking works. But people who don’t understand that will dismiss positive thinking as pointless and reject positive thoughts that could help them.

In this example, believing that you can become happy energizes and motivates you to try different ways to become happier, which is why you have more success becoming happier. If one way doesn’t work, you try another. And so on.

If you don’t become happy, for whatever reason, that’s not “proof” that positive thinking doesn’t work.

Rather, being energized and motivated to become happier, and trying all sorts of different approaches to be happier is the proof that positive thinking does work and is helping you.

If you don’t understand this, you’re likely to reject positive thinking. And so of course it won’t work for you anymore.

5. There is no desire to think positively

To think positively and enjoy the benefits of positive thinking, you’ve got to want to think positively.

If you don’t want to think positively, you won’t.

It’s that simple.

5 Ways to Get Positive Thinking to Work for You

When positive thinking doesn’t work, there’s probably a good reason for it. Indeed, you’ve just learned 5 reasons why positive thinking doesn’t always work for some people.

So let’s flip this around to establish five ways that you can get positive thinking to start working for you.

  1. Have a clear idea about what positive thinking is and how to identify it
  2. Believe there is a point to positive thinking and that it is useful (this motivates and energizes your mind to think more positively)
  3. Accept positive thoughts as valid after reasoning about them
  4. Understand what positive thinking does and doesn’t do for you
  5. Want to think positively

Taking these steps will make it much easier for you to think positively, if you decide that this is something you want to do, as will learning how to rewire your brain to think more positively.

How long does positive thinking take to work?

So, let's say you've decided to think positively.

How does positive thinking work? How long does it actually take for you to benefit from more positive thoughts?

Here's some great news: the moment you replace a negative thought with a positive thought, positive thinking is already working for you, either by helping you feel better or helping you achieve something you want to achieve. 

So, very often, you can notice an immediate improvement in your life, just by noticing an improvement in how you feel or in your energy level. 

The very best way to appreciate the power of positive thinking is to just go ahead and try it, and see for yourself whether it works for you. You've got nothing to lose, and everything to gain from it.

Right now, get credit for completing this achievement. Then, either do the AG Positive Thinking Program, or use the AG Positive Thinking Tool to begin thinking more positively, and decide for yourself whether or not positive thinking works. 

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