Positive thinking? I don’t think so…

Chanting all those positive affirmations has never seemed that great an idea to me. I’ve always approached them with caution in one-to-one work with clients as I’ve found they can encourage wish-fulfillment fantasies, inhibit balanced thought processes and encourage depressive styles of thought, encourage unhealthy perfectionist traits, and be completely unrealistic. Doctor Jeremy Dean has surveyed research on another two downsides: why they backfire for some people and are harmful for others.

Having said that, they can be useful – if they’re constructed properly. NLP practitioners ought to use the well-formed outcomes model to help construct them while trainers and consultants might be more familiar with the SMART model of goal setting and use that to produce affirmations that are not vapid and woolly.