Getting Rid Of Negative Thoughts
It’s something that comes up a lot in coaching sessions: “How do I stop having such negative thoughts?” or “How can I change my negative thought patterns?”
Bottom line: It’s not easy, but you can do it.
There are several “ingredients” you need to get started when you find yourself going down a rabbit hole of negative thought:
- Determination: A deep desire and the moxie to stick with your task will get you there.
- Plan: You have to know how to do it (and you’re about to).
- Responsibility: Own your emotions. They’re yours, and no one else’s.
- Tools: We have you covered there, too.
None of us likes to experience negativity.
We’re cut off in traffic, treated unfairly by a co-worker, or as my friend was the other day while we were talking on the phone, splashed with street puddle water while walking down the sidewalk.
Just about anything can knock us out of a positive thought pattern.
The trick is recognizing that we have fallen into a subconscious ditch, and having the determination to get out – and quickly.
Make up your mind right now that you don’t want to feel bad.
That’s not hard.
None of us wants to feel bad.
But seriously: make up your mind right here in this very minute that feeling bad is not something you want, and it’s not something you’ll stand for.
Making that decision now, when you’re not in the subconscious ditch, will help you escape the ditch when you do fall into it.
Decide now how long you’re going to allow yourself to wallow.
My limit used to be 10 minutes.
Now it is one minute… because why waste nine more minutes feeling anything less than good?
Pick your limit – now, while you’re feeling good – and stick with it. (I think the shorter, the better.)
Here is a progression scale of emotions from the most negative (dark, at the bottom/right) to the most positive (light and the top/left).
If you would like a larger copy of this scale for yourself, request it through this link.
This scale helps you identify exactly where in the emotional progression you are currently, and lets you identify a “better feeling.”
This sounds simplistic, but honestly- this works.
It’s how I can be happy and cheerful in the face of disarray.
If you find yourself in the gray/black area of the scale, I’m not expecting you to soar right up to the blue section – or the green.
In that case (gray/black) the best I’d hope for is two to three steps up… maybe the dark red.
You’re not trying to conjure a miracle; you’re trying to reach a better feeling thought.
Once you’ve made it a few steps up, you can go a few more steps up.
I say it to my clients all the time: “This is all about mindset.”
You are in control of your feelings and emotions.
No one else can “make you feel” a certain way.
You allow their actions to influence you and allow the feeling to come up and perpetuate.
Once you commit to owning your actions, reactions, emotions, and everything else, the entire scope of your life will improve.
You’ll be less tossed-about by the words and actions of others.
If you can adopt this mindset of responsibility your life absolutely will improve in many areas.
There are several things I use and recommend to my clients to use for mindset tweaking.
My favorite everyday tools are:
- Dry erase markers – I’ve posted pictures of my family’s positive “mirror messages” on GILD’s Instagram and Facebook pages (follow the links to follow us!) and swear by them. Whether you’re just trying to remember something or writing an inspirational phrase, dry erase markers on a bathroom mirror do the trick.
- Positive affirmations – This is part of my daily life, and I encourage everyone to involve positive affirmations in their lives as well. There are several 10-minute positive affirmation meditations on GILD’s YouTube Page. Use that link to check them out and use them in your own life. We’ll be adding more over time.
- Deep breathing – There’s a reason doctors tell people to take long, slow, and deep breaths before surgery, or even before getting a shot. It’s the fastest way to slow yourself down. Breath is the equivalent of a pacemaker to your racing thoughts and high anxiety – the nerve center in the brain connected to arousal (positive and negative arousal) is directly linked to the breath. Slowing the breath slows an over-stimulated amygdala – that’s the part of your brain that controls the “fight or flight” response. When your anxiety is high, your amygdala is working overtime, and needs to take a break!
The most important thing to remember when it comes to turning away from negative thoughts and toward positive thoughts is that you can actually do it.
Other people do not control this part of you – no matter what you’ve been told.
Mindset is a major part of any coaching partnership. If you’d like to “test drive” a session to see what positive changes could happen in your life, I’d love to give you the chance. Click here to schedule a free session. I look forward to talking with you!