I can say with confidence that, at times, I can be my own worst enemy.
I have transformed so many aspects of my life to align with my purpose and goal of becoming healthier, learning compassion and living a joyful life – yet, there was still (and I imagine will always be) negative thoughts that popped up in my head that I had difficulty as distinguishing as being separate from me.
“If not everybody likes me then there must be something wrong with me.”
“If I make a mistake that means I’m not smart enough.”
Negative thoughts that we experience hold the potential to be a hundred times more addictive and destructive than any drug.
And I admit, I was junkie.
The negative thoughts don’t even have to be about you – they can be about other people too!
“She won’t last long at that job. She’s not right for it.”
“He cheated on his wife so he’s a terrible person.”
Now, I’m not saying cheating on someone is right – or that the woman is going to excel at that position, but what I am saying is – WHY
THINK ABOUT IT?
Why not choose to think of something else?
For me, I found it paramount to effectively deal with choosing such thoughts.
It’s not as easy as simply saying to yourself, “I’m going to be positive today” – removing damaging thoughts and your attention to those thoughts has to be a proactive approach.
You have to do something about it!
You can not address negative thoughts in your life until you first realize that certain thoughts are not doing you any benefit.
Sounds easy enough ….however a person that just spent the last 2 hours gossiping about people and then acknowledging that they just had one negative thought is not going to change their life –
Hello! They aren’t even aware that the last two hours were filled with damaging thoughts - even if it is about someone else, it affects you THE SAME WAY!
The poison being spewed at another is being grown and produced by the speaker.
For me, I recognize that I am having harmful thoughts when I feel distressed, anxious or gloomy. No one is immune to experiencing crap ideas and thoughts, its all about recognizing them AND doing something about it.
There are a few things I do when I find myself saying– “Hey, thinking this isn’t doing any good.”
Firstly – I find the quickest thing I am thankful for. I know, I know – It sounds corny. But it does help!
I remember getting lost, all by myself, driving home from
sometime the end of July. I was leaving my brother’s rehearsal dinner for his wedding. It was late, my boobs were engorged from not nursing for so long, the GPS had no signal, it started raining, it was dark outside and there was nothing in sight. I was completely lost. Berlin, Ohio
I remember saying out loud how I was grateful that I had enough gas to drive around as far as I needed to find my way back. I kept saying how grateful I was that I was able to enjoy the country side, and that it wasn’t snowing, and that I had good windshield wipers, etc.
I think I went a bit crazy that night – but in essence, I did not allow myself to feed off of terrible thoughts and I found that it worked!
In the end, I found myself – an hour out of my way, off route….in a good mood and thankful again, this reason being to finally be home.
Action – Trash’em
I used to say to myself “delete” when thoughts came up that were destructive…even though it seemed to work in the short term – the same thoughts continued to resurface.
I recently read about research published in Psychological Science which found when people wrote down their unwanted, negative thoughts on paper and then threw the paper away – they also mentally discarded the thoughts as well.
Seems too easy huh? Two words for you – TRY. IT.
“At some level, it can sound silly. But we found that it really works — by physically throwing away or protecting your thoughts, you influence how you end up using those thoughts.”
For the last few days, I’ve been taking a few minutes in the morning to jot down whatever thoughts or concerns that aren’t beneficial to my life...
and then I tear them up into tiny pieces and throwthem in the trash...
and I have to say – it feels remarkable and I don’t think about them.
Of course, this doesn’t eliminate the thought(s) completely but it allows you to make a break in the recurrence of the thoughts for a period of time – which is all you need to start replacing them with positive ones!
Action – Replace’em
The same study mentioned above also found that if you write down beneficial thoughts and keep them close to you that you have the ability to magnify them and make them more important in your life.
What I do, after throwing my bad thoughts away in the trash every morning – immediately following, I write down one thing I am grateful for and post it at my desk so I can see it all day...after awhile they start to accumulate -
It doesn’t have to be something colossal. Just a small thought, like a little seed you plant, will cultivate and grow many more similar, positive thoughts throughout the day.
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Better believe it - Your thoughts affect how you feel and act in any given day, as well as affect the people who you love.
Don’t feel trapped - We absolutely have the ability to modify our thoughts and significantly improve our lives.
People who are positive cope with stress better, experience better health and immunity, and are more resilient when trauma and crisis occur.
What do you have to lose by trying these few steps out every morning?
I would love to hear your comments or tips on positive thinking. Do you struggle with negative thoughts? Please leave a comment below!
"If a pebble in our boot torments us, we expel it. We take off the boot and shake it out. And once the matter is fairly understood, it is just as easy to expel an intruding and obnoxious thought from your mind, as it is to shake a stone out of your shoe."
- Edward Carpenter