Negative thoughts are like a cancer to your spirit and can negatively influence your health. They slowly eat away at your hope until there isn’t enough left to support your desired goals. Negative thoughts are damaging because they affect everything that comes afterwards. This includes your decisions, goals, actions, and results. These outcomes can often come out in terms of your physical and mental well-being. We don't need that extra influence, so let's talk about how we might turn around our thinking patterns.
We know know negative thinking is not good for you, but did you know that that type of thinking can impact every area of your life? It limits your effectiveness, slows down the healing process, and can poison your outlook on life. If you have only a limited time to spend on your self-care, changing negative thinking is good way to allocate your time and here's a few tips on how.
Take control of your thinking and be more positive:
1. Avoid thinking of yourself as a victim. When you have the mindset of a victim, you’re dooming yourself to a plethora of negative thoughts. A victim has neither hope nor options. There are always ways to move forward. You do have choices.
2. Recognize your negative thought patterns. Your thoughts can be just as habitual as your morning coffee or your need to fidget. Notice your repetitive thoughts and when they occur. The first step to changing these thought patterns is to catch them when they first begin. When you notice negative thinking, change your thought. Either think a positive thought or redirect your thinking and focus to whatever you’re doing at that moment.
3. Intake positive information each day. If you can’t find the time to read a book, at least read a few positive quotes each day or try to find an affirmation that speaks to you. You can buy calendars with positive quotes and there are tons of websites with quotes on a wide variety of topics.
4. Keep your mind in the present. Sure, you can look ahead, as needed, to make plans. But your thoughts should remain rooted in the present. Thinking about the past results in frustration and regret. Thoughts of the future can cause anxiety. Keep your mind on your current surroundings and task- yes, I mean a single thing at a time. Single-tasking is the new thing! Remember, there’s no reason to worry about the next step. Take care of the current step first. 5. Ask yourself, “Do I know for certain this is a fact? Or is it just my opinion?” You don’t know as much as you think you do often times. You make a lot of assumptions based on faulty knowledge. This can lead to the belief that a situation is less solvable than it really is. If you don’t have accurate beliefs, you’re already at a huge disadvantage.
6. Avoid the idea that perfection is possible. Expect that you won’t be perfect at anything. When perfection is the goal, you’ll always fall short and that opens the door for negative thinking. Cut yourself some slack!
7. Spend time doing something that makes you feel good. The trend is to find what “sparks joy”, right- try decluttering your mind too. It’s easy to have positive thoughts if you’re doing something enjoyable and to get lost in the flow. Paint, sing, write, get outdoors, indulge in a new book or movie. Spend time with your partner or a good friend and laugh. Make a list of things you like to do and spend some time each day doing at least one of them. Enjoy yourself with intention each day.
8. Meditate. Meditation can be a cure for what ails you sometimes. It’s one of the best ways to learn more about your thought patterns to reflect upon them as a distant observer. It’s also an effective way for learning to focus and direct your thoughts. Plus, the availability of not only your breath but also the ability to focus your mind are free, require no prescriptions, or appointments to do! Bonus!
9. Make a list of affirmations and take control of your self-talk. Instead of inventing positive self-talk on the fly, thoughtfully craft a list prepared of positive things you can say to yourself. Build your self-talk around your goals and kill two birds with one stone. Post it prominently in your home.
Are your negative thoughts impacting your results and future? Negative thinking is a challenging habit to defeat. Monitor your thoughts and defeat negative thinking before it can take root. Replace those negative thoughts with a positive alternative. Make an effort to spend some time each day living a little in the moments that inspire you.
Little by little, you’ll find that you’re spending more of your time thinking positively, and your life just might take a turn for the better! If you need help finding the thing to be positive about, try my Focus on the Positive Worksheet.
I use this practice at my family dinner table every thing when I ask, "What's your top three of your day" to accentuate the good things in life and sharing them with those we love. Try it- you might be surprised over time how things can change for the better!