Aviva Directory » Health & Well-Being » Alternative Medicine » Mind-Body Interventions » Positive Thinking

The power of positive thinking to change and improve overall health and well-being is the focus of this portion of our web guide.

While he may not have started the movement, Norman Vincent Peale popularized it in 1952 with his self-help book, entitled The Power of Positive Thinking: A Practical Guide to Mastering the Problems of Everyday Living. As Peale had received bachelor's and master's degrees in theology and a Doctor of Divinity degree, and was a Methodist clergyman, he used a biblical approach while offering instructions designed to assist readers in viewing life from an optimistic perspective. Peale believed such techniques would help readers attain a better quality of life.

In his book, he stresses the importance of overcoming feelings of inadequacy, practicing faith, creating a peaceful mind, letting go of anger, and embracing a sense of calm.

While Peale's philosophy was criticized by mental health experts, theologians, and academics, it was widely popular with the general public. His book still sells well today, and his philosophy has spawned several adaptations. It has been translated into more than forty languages. If you were to do a search of a library database, on Amazon, or another bookseller, you would find several self-help books, workbooks, and therapy texts based on positive thinking.

In an article published on April 17, 2018, the Los Angeles Times estimated that "legions of followers testified that Peale's message changed their lives for the better and represented the best combination of faith and pragmatism." Three US presidents (Eisenhower, Nixon, and Trump) were known to have regarded his teachings on positive thinking highly. The Rev. Peale officiated Trump's first wedding.

Although he didn't achieve the same level of acclaim, Napoleon Hill introduced a similar concept in 1937 in his book Think and Grow Rich. Although his book focused more on financial achievement, it discussed the importance of positive thinking as a contributing factor to success in life.

As a means of fostering well-being, success, and a better life, the power of positive thinking is not limited to the philosophies of Peale and Hill.More in the mainstream, positive psychology has much in common with the philosophies of the Rev. Peale. A branch of psychology, positive psychology studies the conditions that contribute to optimal functioning for individuals, groups, and institutions. With the goal of improving the quality of life, positive psychology emphasizes the value of social ties with family, friends, colleagues, and within social organizations, physical exercise, meditation, and spirituality.

Positive thinking is a significant component of most Life Coaching practices, as well.

As noted earlier, several philosophies, programs, therapies, and self-help strategies have been developed over the years, many of them utilizing elements that were earlier introduced by Napoleon Hill and the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale.



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