Have you ever played stacking the Dominoes bars to form a beautiful shape, how much energy and focus it took from you, ultimately, the fun and laughter you have when you push one bar to crash and they all fall down in sequence one after the other. Cycles of negative thinking can give you similar crashing -down effect on your life and business, the only difference it’s no laughing matter.
Negative thinking hampers the brain’s ability to deal with complex tasks, it stops us from processing information and having clarity in our thinking and decision making. Moreover, the stress it causes affects our body and health drastically resulting into weak immune system, illness and emotional dysfunction.
When I speak with clients about their negative thought patterns they rarely admit they are negative thinker, and they usually defend their pessimistic views by claiming they are realistic thinkers.
Let me clarify something here, If you call yourself a realist, please understand fully the definition first. A realist is a person who accepts the situation as it is and is prepared to deal with it accordingly. A realist will not keep dwelling about the issue over and over, victimizing himself and living in a vicious circle of negative thoughts and negative self-talk. A Realist will strategically think through a challenging situation and find a realistic solution.
I have a question for you. Do you calmly consider every possible outcome and move flexibly through your challenges, or do you anticipate a stormy situation at every turn? If you do, please begin to adopt a positive mindset by taking into consideration the following advices.
- Stop thinking in extremes.
Most of our life situations it isn’t black or white, completely this option or that option. Unfortunaltiy negative thought patterns always tend to take us to extreme negativity.
For example, if you have studied and you are going to sit for the exam, but you have allowed your self to let your negative thoughts take over, you will start telling yourself rather than not doing as well as I’d like on my test, I am going to “fail completely!
These patterns of thinking makes us have dramatic results & failures. The first step to overcoming negative thinking isn’t by becoming suddenly positive about it, but to train ourselves search for the shades of grey in any difficult or negative situation. Like when you start worrying about a relationship you are living, instead of telling yourself, it’s going to be a disaster, tell yourself, It’s just like any other relationship in life’s it has the great moments, the aha moments and not so good moments.
- Stop mindreading
When we surrender to negative thoughts, it immediately take our peace of mind resulting in us starting to mind read the situation.
For example, if you text someone and he doesn’t respond, your mindreading to the situation will be like. He hasn’t texted me back ; he is ignoring me! Or he just replied briefly to make me feel better, he doesn’t really think that!!
When you become more positive (or just more comfortably neutral), you’ll be doing more of: “I don’t know why he hasn’t texted me back yet…” You’ll also be able to consider all possible reasons you can think of, not just the negative ones.
Here are a few to help you out:
- He’s forgotten her phone.
- He phone’s battery is dead.
- He’s in a meeting.
Giving your brain more options will reduce emotionality and allow you to think more clearly.
Another methods I have adopted in my teachings for my clients is from Dr. TC North he is an executive coach. His method works so well and gives proven results:
- Notice that you’re having a negative thought. There are three ways:
- Hear the thought in your mind.We chatter in our head up to 500 words a minute, if you don’t pay attention the words will go unnoticed.
- Feel the emotions in your body.If you’re tense or sweating, or you have a knot in your stomach, or if your body feels lethargic or blue, identify the thoughts that are creating these feelings of anxiety or depression.
- See yourself procrastinate.You can see that you are not in action. Procrastination is usually the result of fearful thoughts.
- Stop/reset.Stop your negative thought before it gains unstoppable energy, and then reset your mind (like rebooting your computer when it goes haywire). If you allow a negative or fearful thought to keep running though your brain, it recruits more and more neurons in the emotional part of your brain (amygdala), making the emotion stronger. At some point, the emotion is so strong it takes over your thinking and you lose your ability to be rational.
- Replace your negative thought with a positive thought that’s in your control and true (you can’t lie to your brain).
- Acknowledge (reward) yourself for taking control of your thoughts; rewarded behaviors tend to increase in frequency. Your reward can be as simple as saying to yourself, “Yes, victory — I took control of my mind this time!”
Keep training and practicing to onboard positive thoughts and giving your mind many options before embracing the negative one , the science of neuroly says that we approximately have 60,000 thoughts a day, imagine if all those thoughts are negative thoughts, it will automatically affect your decisions and reflect on your behaviors across all your life patterns.
Wear the Neutral hat and take off the extreme hat. Improve your self-awareness and enjoy the moment.