I know I’ve been talking a lot lately about shifting your negative thinking patterns…I just think it’s so important that we become aware of the thoughts that bring us down because we do have the power to change them.
I mean, why suffer due to something that is only happening in our minds?
A lot of people think that the way to break the habit of negative thinking is to fill your mind with positive thoughts.
This doesn't work.
It seems logical, right? Replace a negative thought with a positive thought, and voila, you are a positive thinker.
The problem is your mind—your brilliant mind!—will reject a positive thought that directly contradicts your original thought.
Shifting your negative thinking works best when you become aware of your negative thought and work through a process of replacing it with a thought that is: 1) more rational (less distorted by emotion), 2) more accurate (reality-based), and 3) BELIEVABLE.
You cannot go from “I am such a loser” to “I am an effin’ rockstar” and expect your mind to play along. It’s too big of a leap. AND the positive thought is as inaccurate and distorted as the negative thought.
So you’re looking for a thought that moves you in the direction of positivity, but is not putting you in a state of denial about your circumstances and feelings.
Forced positivity is like stating the sky is green and the grass is blue.
We all know that person—the one who is constantly spouting positive words even while their life is falling apart? It’s like watching a little kid put her hands over her ears and make all sorts of nonsensical sounds to shut out reality…relentless positivity is ineffective.
Plus, we can immediately sense that the Pollyanna approach is inauthentic, and that’s why it can be so annoying and difficult to tolerate.
As Mark Manson (author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck) writes, “Constant positivity is a form of avoidance, not a valid solution to life’s problems.”
So, let’s look at some ways to shift your thoughts enough for you to feel better while still keeping the thoughts completely credible.
Here are some questions to ask yourself that can help you to loosen up your negative/distorted thoughts and find a thought that works better:
“Is this thought absolutely true? Or is it just partly true or sometimes true?”
“What assumptions am I making?”
“Can I be less judgmental or less rigid here?”
“How can I look at this situation differently?”
Be playful, be curious, be open and you will find that you can break your negative thought patterns and stop believing everything that you think.
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