Our lives are teeming with negativity—it’s nearly inescapable. News networks focus more on the world’s negative drama than all its good, which also happens every single day.
Negativity Zaps Your Energy
Stress and anxiety, which are at an all-time high, often lead to negative thinking.
Watching most of today’s television programming, especially the news, only adds to our stress levels—and to our tendency towards negativity.
An even more unfortunate truth is that the majority of people tend to focus on what’s not working in their lives, rather than on what is.
Instead of practicing gratitude—an invaluable tool for bringing joy and abundance into our lives—we fixate on what we’re lacking. Let’s face it: we flat-out complain much of the time. And most of the complaints’ targets—usually marriage, weight, boss, job or poor health—are things that only we have the power to change.
Ironically, succumbing to negative states of mind zaps much more energy than implementing solutions.
When we accept these negative “realities,” or otherwise continue to dwell on them, we unwisely manifest more of those conditions in our lives. We get what we focus on—that’s a Universal Law!
Do you often find yourself expressing dissatisfaction with your life and yourself; shuffling through the reasons why you think you can’t change?
Do you say or think things like: “I’m stuck in this job,” “My marriage isn’t working,” “I can’t lose weight,” or “I have such-and-such disease, therefore I can’t (___)”? STOP. Change the recording in your head.
Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way
It’s important to transform your thinking. This requires effort. Why? Often, when one is caught in a highly negative state of mind, or surrounded by negativity, pulling out of it can be arduous due to the deeply entrenched neural pathways formed by habitual thoughts over time.
The deeper the grooves, the more challenging it becomes to alter their course.
When you do fall into one of these troublesome neural “trenches,” it’s critical that you find a way to put positivity at the forefront of your mind, or else kiss your prospects of true happiness goodbye.
The mind is a trickster, always on the go, often referred to in meditation as the “monkey mind.” The sooner you befriend yours, the happier you’ll be.
This is not the time to think that taming the mind is an impossible feat—or that you don’t have discipline. Remember the teaching above: what you believe and what you focus on becomes your reality. Find your strength and don’t give in to your weaknesses.
Perfection is not the goal; perseverance is what’s important. Over time, you will gain further strength, and your rate of success will increase.
Practical Ways to Shift Your Thinking
1) Feed your mind daily: self-empowering audio or books
Flooding your mind with positivity is the key!
Invest a minimum of 20-30 minutes daily into feeding your mind words of wisdom on how to live an empowered and fulfilled life. The consistent message of how you, like many others, can create the life you want, will increase your strength and belief that you can, and will provide some of the necessary tools to do so. It will impart wisdom to help you see the blessings and opportunities in your life, even amongst obstacles.
Find teachings that focus on pure positivity from business leaders, motivational speakers, or spiritual teachers. Invest in books and audio from those that resonate well with you.
Some notable life transformational authors are: Zig Zigler, Esther and Jerry Hicks, Napoleon Hill, Stephen Covey, Maxwell Maltz, Dale Carnegie, Wallace Wattles, Louise Hay, and Carolyn Myss. (Feel free to ask me directly for specific book titles.)
Reading is especially beneficial, so definitely do as much as you can, but even a page or two a day is valuable. Affirmations or guided meditations are also great tools.
Audio plays a special role as it “bridges the gap” for those with time constraints, which is nearly everybody. When people get busy, self-care is often the first to get left behind. Audio gives you a no-excuse option as you can listen while doing other mindless tasks.
For instance, you can easily listen to audio each morning and/or evening while preparing for or winding down from your day (e.g. shower, getting dressed, making/eating meals). Also utilize any other windows of opportunity—“transitional moments”—such as during your commute or exercise session, thus maximizing your time.
When caught in the extreme negative, it may be necessary, for a period, to listen whenever possible. The required time and intensity are determined, in part, by the extent of your desire for real change.
Then, once you build enough positive neural pathways, you can listen much less often. Until then, you must be consistent and diligent. I have done this and it works!
Listening to positive, inspiring up-beat music also helps, but for most, will not replace the need for mind-enhancing personal-development audio.
When you’re too depressed to utilize other positive strategies, definitely the easiest thing to do is to just hit “play.” If you can’t do that, you may be beyond my savvy and should consider reaching out to a behavior health professional.
2) Surround yourself with positive people
It’s of crucial importance to amp up your environment at least 1-2 days a week. Find a group that focuses on: empowerment, meditation, self-help, spirituality, men/women’s specific groups, or anything positively driven that speaks to you. (Meetup.com is a great resource.) The group must truly be positive—not a gripe session—focusing on solutions and the up side of life, even amongst challenges.
3) Limit or eliminate news and TV
Refine what you watch and listen to and you will see your mood lift and positivity increase.
4) Do positive things daily to relax
Invest 20-60 minutes per day into you. Engage in healthful practices such as working out, yoga, walking, meditation, sports, gardening, journaling, reading, or donating your time to a good cause.
5) Reframe your thoughts
Replace negative thoughts with positive spoken affirmations like these:
“I’m determined to create this job in a way that will be fun and supportive.”
“I will find a new job with ease.”
“I will invest the necessary time to discover why my marriage isn’t working, then do my part to heal it.”
“Even though they’ve diagnosed me with (____), I believe I can reverse it.” Or “Despite (___), I function very well in life and feel better every day.”
Sometimes baby steps are required: Pick something you can believe for now. As you practice reframing your thoughts, your belief will expand.
The voice is often soft and subtle, but do not underestimate its power. Be patient with yourself, and each time you notice yourself thinking unsupportive thoughts, do your best to rephrase them right there on the spot. This may prove challenging at first, but the important thing is to continue the practice.
Remember, altering your mind takes effort. Your mind can be your most powerful ally or your worst enemy—it’s truly your choice.
Negative thinking is a stubborn pattern, especially if you’ve been doing it for a long time. So don’t beat yourself up or quit because of mini-failures: Increased awareness and success are both birthed from failure.
Be diligent, yet kind to yourself. It took years of repeating certain negative thoughts to chisel those neural pathways, so it’s only habit to traverse them. But like falling into a deep trench, it’s not easy to climb your way out, but when you do, you’re so glad you can see the horizon again.