According to the Boulder Academy Lifestyle Coaching, studies have shown that you have an average of 45,000 to 51,000 thoughts per day and eighty percent of your thoughts are negative. Also, according to the National Science Foundation, up to ninety five percent of your thoughts are the same thoughts, repeated every day. This is pretty alarming when you realize that your repeating negative thoughts are the framework that shapes your reality.
Let’s take a small example. You believe you were mistreated or wronged in some way by someone. You replay this wrongdoing, and maybe others, in your mind. Maybe to the point that you wake up angry, frustrated, or hurt by this person (or your version of this person).
How do you react the next time you see him or her?
Do you struggle with feelings of anger, intolerance, or pessimism as you have your first encounter? Do you approach this person with a negative attitude? Have you created such a feeling of mistrust that you put up a shield to stay safe and keep your distance or maybe lash out in anger and a tirade of blame?
Believe me when I say, all this is felt. Now the other person, feeling this, will probably respond in kind.
There are days when I am aware of the negative thoughts that float in and out of my mind. I am thankful that I am more aware than some in realizing this is happening and sometimes I have to pull in all my resources to re-frame my perspective in a more positive direction.
Rationalizing Your Version of the Truth
Most of your thoughts are likely to be opinions rather than facts. You will justify why you are feeling a certain way and dig deeper into anger, frustration, or fear. On occasion, this might be true, but often it is a version of the story that you tell yourself, so you are “right.”
Look at the situation from the other person’s point of view. Maybe from an outside observer’s point of view. Is it possible there are multiple stories in this event? Start writing down all the versions of this story you can come up with. Can you shift your emotions and accept another perspective? Can you step back and become unattached from your feelings and get on with something more constructive?
Get Behind Me
When negative thoughts that do not serve me persist, I yell at myself to just stop it! I envision my thoughts and throw them saying “get behind me Satan.”
Recognize that your thoughts are not always accurate. When you allow the negative thoughts to persist, they can take over your life. Knowing this, it is also true that letting go takes practice.
- Catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk
- Acknowledge that you’re doing it
- Tell yourself: “These thoughts are not productive”
- Shift your focus to something else (your breath, your footsteps, the smell in the air, etc.)
Negative thoughts will always creep into your mind. The key is to recognize them, manage them, and shift to a more productive mindset.
Change Your Physiology
Another approach is initiating a state change. It is a short-circuit approach to changing your behavior. It can be as simple as changing your physiology.
Think of a time when you felt full of gratitude and excited about your life. How were you breathing, how did it feel, what was going on in your life at that time? Change your body to match that image. Stand tall, breathe deeply, shoulders back, and hold your head high. Shifting your body will shift your feelings and allow you the opportunity to look at life differently.
Negative self-talk will persist but when you become aware of it and take steps to consciously choose to live in a more positive mindset your life will become more fulfilled, you will enjoy enhanced peace of mind, and your stress levels will decrease.
In my book, The Empowering Process, I provide the you with 366 questions specifically constructed for a positive perspective for change, growth, and curiosity. It is a tool intended to help you to start off your day with a healthy frame of mind. It is one way to begin your day differently.
You have the power to make today better than yesterday. This is a practice of conscious choice and being present in the uniqueness of the moment. Take control, accept responsibility, and be aware that your perspective, response, and results belong to you alone. You know it’s time for even more.
If not now, when?
You don’t have to go there alone.