During a busy day, it becomes all too easy to focus on the negative. You might feel tired, overworked, and stressed out by all of the conflicting expectations and demands on your time. As a result, negative thoughts can creep into your mind. While we know that thinking positively is better for your state of mind and body , we also know it is good for our health as we mentioned last week. Research has demonstrated that + thinking can have a wide variety of benefits, from improving your self-confidence and psychological well being to actually boosting your physical health.
So what can you do to control your stream of negative thoughts and replace them with a more positive outlook? Even if you are not a natural-born optimistic, there are things you can do to develop your positive thinking skills and reap some of the benefits of + thinking.
Positive thinking skills starts by focusing, analyzing then controlling our negative thoughts and feelings:
In order to become a positive thinker, you need to learn not only to pay attention to your thoughts like we do during meditation but to go a step further that is to analyze them. The stream of thoughts and emotions makes it very difficult to focus on, especially if introspection is not one of your strong skill.
Genetically we are subconsciously more attracted to negativity than positivity (self preservation and fear of death from our primitive brain). Therefore, negative thinking is, by far, more frequent than the positive one and presents a major obstacle towards serenity. Since negative thinking is a main source of unhappiness, analyzing our negative thoughts and feelings rather then our positive ones is, obviously, more effective then focusing just on the positive ones.Both are needed.
Do you engage in negative self-talk? Do you mentally criticize yourself, others? or a given situation ?
After identifying our negative thoughts the next step is to accept them and finally to control them.
Some of the most common types of negative thinking involve focusing on only the undesirable aspects of a situation, event or people.
Practical examples of automatic negative thinking:
- Look at the negative side even when facing positive things, events and people.
- Don’t try to find an opportunity to learn from negative things, events and people with an open mind
- Are worried and skeptical about uncertainty of the future, ongoing change and its consequences despite the fact that change is permanent, unavoidable and part of life. More precisely: Express negative expectations in the future and see current negative events as recurrent and unavoidable.
5- Have a negative self-image and self-esteem which always triggers pessimistic behavior.
6- Seldom or never give themselves some credit when good things happen, and typically take the blame from bad things when they happen.
Let’s imagine that you have just spent a busy but positive day at work. Going home, you realize that you forgot to return an important phone call from the boss. For the rest of the day you are going to be stuck with the negative feeling, , ignoring the good and magnifying the bad.
Another aspect of negative thinking is self- blame.
Self-blame for anything is also another very common type of negative thinking. This type of negative thinking can be particularly damaging to your psychological well-being. By taking the blame for things that are not your fault or are not in your control, your self-esteem and self-confidence take a serious hit.
Beside its detrimental effects on mind and body, negative thinking as being shown to be a powerful deterrent of effective social interactions. Who wants to deal with someone who sees things and people always negatively. Becoming a positive thinker is not just looking at the positive side of things – we should of course- but rather be aware and analyzing our negative thoughts and feelings since they dominate the positive ones by far. The most effective way to analyse your negative thoughts and feelings is to log them and creating a sort of “ negative mind diary”. During the day, try to pay attention to them, record them via self-texting or self-emailing then analyze them to find if they carry any rationality. Most of the time they don’t.
By doing so, we will reprogram the mind towards more positive thinking.