Written in 1952, The Power of Positive Thinking emphasizes something that we’re only realizing the implications of today: stress is bad for your health. Nowadays, we might talk about overwork and economic crises. Back then, the example was fear of communism, which “undoubtedly affects digestion adversely,” Norman Vincent Peale wrote.
To combat negative thoughts, Peale recommends these six techniques for bringing more peace into your mind and life.
1. Every day, empty your mind at least twice of fears, regrets, insecurities, hate, and guilt. You might tell them to someone you trust, or make a ritual of it: write them down and then crumple up and throw out the paper.
2. Think peaceful thoughts. Conjure up beautiful images like nature or art, or slowly repeat words like “tranquility” and “serenity.” Memorize peaceful poetry or quotations.
3. Express peaceful ideas in your conversation, rather than complaints or stress. Talk positively. “Thoughts create words, for words are the vehicles of ideas. But words also affect thoughts and help to condition if not to create attitudes,” Peale writes.
4. Practice silence every day for at least 15 minutes. Surely Peale means meditation: “Conceive of your mind as the surface of a body of water and see how nearly quiet you can make it, so there is not a ripple. When you have attained a quiescent state, then begin to listen for the deeper sounds of harmony and beauty.”
5. Notice when you have a peaceful experience, and try to remember it so you can revisit it later.
6. Don’t be your own tormentor. Let go of guilt and fear.