“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” — Willie Nelson
Negative thoughts can slip into our mind several times a day, leaving us feeling fearful, uncertain, and even angry or sad. So how can I avoid negative thinking?
Many of us think negative thoughts can be forced out of our mind. But, resisting negative thoughts can reinforce patterns of negative thinking. Here are 5 habits for permanently clearing your mind of negative thoughts.
Here are 5 ways to avoid falling into the negative thinking pit of despair.
1. Create a list of everything you’re grateful for
In our daily live, we can easily lose focus of what we’ve accomplished and forget to acknowledge all of the things we already have. This is key to creating an abundant life and moving away from the lack mentality.
List all of the things you feel grateful for, no matter how insignificant. This will open your eyes to all of the positive things you already have. When you catch yourself being critical of yourself, situations and other people, over-generalizing or making amountain out of a mole hill, remember that your language creates your reality. What we focus on grows. What we ignore dies. Focus instead on all of the positive contributions others have made in your life, the positive people you know, the lessons you’ve learned from similar past situations, and always question your thought statements to see if they’re really true.
2. Surround yourself with positivity
Our thinking can be a result of the environment and people who surround us. If you spend most of your time with negative people telling negative stories, your mind can begin to disproportionately focus on these things and forgets about the positive. Distance yourself (when you can) from negativity and remove the influence of these things in your life to give yourself more peace of mind. Change you environment for amoment by leaving the room or situation you are in. Take a break and go do something that makes you laugh, talk to someone who makes you feel good, or even do something you love to do. Connecting with joy can help you maintain your positive feelings longer. Having an honest conversation with the people in your life can also help shift the tone and topics you talk about. Let them know it’s getting you down and you’d prefer to talk about something else or focus on the more positive things. You’d be surprised, they might actually be feeling the same way.
3. Change your mindset
Cognitive therapists believe that unwanted negative thoughts can lead to self-sabotage and unhappiness, creating a negative mindset that leave you anxious. Negative thinking is directly related to you perspective. Your thoughts influence your actions, and your actions create your reality. If you want to be surrounded by positivity, think about how you can get a place in your life where everything is amazing. By focusing your thoughts on positive outcomes, you begin to break the pattern and shift your way of thinking. Focus on making a positive impact on the world. Remember your mission and purpose.
4. Be mindful and retrain your brain
“In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. That means we have 1,440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact.”
— Les Brown
Your brain can be trained even as an adult so there’s always hope for changing old patterns. Being aware of the tone of our thoughts, whether positive or negative, means we can silence our inner critic and give it a new voice. It’s important to slow things down when the thoughts are happening so we can become aware of where our thinking is coming from.
When you catch yourself thinking negatively, it’s time to take a minute for yourself, take a deep breath, and do a short meditation, mantra or visualization, and reset your mind for the rest of your day. These techniques can change the way you react to negative situations, teaching you the skills for being less reactive, and allowing these negative moments to pass you by. Meditation is the practice of quieting the mind and focusing on the present moment. Mantras are phrases you can repeat to yourself to train your mind to believe positive affirmations. Visualization is the practice of “seeing” in your mind a new positive reality for yourself.
For more information about these techniques, check out my e-book “Setting Meaningful Goals and Manifesting Your Dreams“.
5. Flip the story
Our inner critic is an anxious, uncomfortable, unpleasant disbeliever and wants to keep you down. Take a minute to ack knowledge that you would never accept the kind of things you tell yourself from a friend or family members, so why tolerate them from yourself. Steop calling yourself names, blaming yourself for a mistake, or disqualifying your positive traits. When you catch yourself with negative self-talk flip the story and create a new positive one. Thinking you will never be successful? Say to yourself instead “I will definitely succedss at this. There’s no way I’ll fail.” Thinking you’re being lazy? Say to yourself “I work hard everyday and take quiets moment for myself to reset and rest.”
That’s not to say that you should ignore patterns of procrastination. Most procrastinators do it because they either feel overwhelmed with the task at hand, they’re perfectionists who feel they’ll never be enough, or they have way too many other projects happening at the same time.
Can you recognize your inner critic when you’re telling yourself a negative thought?
When you begin to recognize it as something that’s not good for your wellbeing, you can stop accepting the negative ways you’re treating yourself and speaking to yourself, and can begin to replace that narrative with a more positive one. This will allow you to move past the negative talk of your mind.