Do you ever find yourself trapped in a never ending cycle of negative thinking? If so, then you’re not alone and you’re most definitely in the right place.
Endings and beginnings
As I write winter is on its way out and spring is making a welcome return.
Spring is all about new beginnings, new hope, new possibilities. There’s new life all around us, from the newborn lambs we see in the fields to the flowers that are starting to bloom. Many of us also find that we have a renewed energy and zest for life now that the darkness of winter has started to lift.
What we don’t always think about is that these new beginnings wouldn’t exist without something having ended, whether it be winter ending in order to make way for spring or whether it be something in our own lives that has to die in order for something new to take its place.
So, what’s all this got to do with negative thinking I hear you ask?
Let me ask you, do you ever feel like you’re at war with yourself?
Do you ever find yourself wanting to make certain changes in life, maybe improving your health, maybe changing jobs, maybe improving your relationships, only to find that you’re stuck in the same old self destructive patterns that keep you going round in circles?
It feels like there’s a battle (or three) going on inside us. A war, in fact.
Why do we stay stuck?
So why, when in most cases we know exactly what to do to break these destructive patterns, do we stay stuck? Why can’t we just choose to behave a different way, to do what’s required to make the changes we so desire, to put an end to our struggle and begin anew? And why is it that, so often, when one or two areas of life are going swimmingly, there are others that take a nose dive? It can feel like we’re playing a never ending game of whack-a-mole.
There are a few reasons for this, such as hitting the upper limit of what we believe is possible for us, being afraid of change (even if it’s good change) and over identifying with our struggles.
Underpinning all of the above are our beliefs, our beliefs about ourselves, who we are, and about what’s possible for us.
So, how do we go about changing our beliefs so that they enable us to live the life we want to live, to be the person we want to be? By changing our thoughts, that’s how.
In the words of Abraham Hicks, “A belief is just a thought you keep thinking over and over again”. So simple and so empowering. And, when we consider that thoughts become feelings which then lead to actions, it’s vital that our thoughts are supportive rather than sabotaging.
So, how’s your self talk, what’s the tone of the thoughts you have on loop. Empowering or…not?
If you’re anything like me you may find the fact that you manage to accomplish anything at all in life is a bloody miracle when you listen closely to your thoughts. Mine are certainly far from being a bunch of energetic, enthusiastic cheerleaders most of the time. More like Kreacher the crotchety house elf, hovering in the dark corners of my mind.
Winning the war against negative thinking
If we really want to end the war against ourselves then we have to eliminate (or as close as we can get) the negative thoughts and replace them with thoughts that will lead us to feeling good about ourselves and our lives, thoughts that will lead us to a new beginning.
Here’s my step by step process for doing this:
Step 1: Catch your thoughts. Awareness is key to accomplishing any kind of change. If we’re not aware of what we’re dealing with then how can we do anything about it? Start to check in with the thought reel in your mind on a regular basis. Even when it doesn’t feel like anything particularly negative is going on, you still need to keep an eye (or ear) on it. I’ve found that, even when I’m doing mundane tasks, there’s often a vague undercurrent of unpleasantness rumbling away in my mind, which left unchecked could do some serious damage.
Step 2: Change your mind. Once you’ve identified a negative thought pattern the next step is to replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. The best way I’ve found to do this is to find the best case scenario and start thinking about that instead. This takes effort to begin with because it’s not what we’re used to doing.
Step 3: Repeat. Often we’ve devoted a lot of time to negative thinking so in order to build new pathways in our brains we have to start devoting just as much time to positive thinking. Positive thinking needs to become our default.
Step 4: Take action. Take action based on the positive thoughts you are now cultivating. Not only are you far more likely to want to take action when you think positively, but the action you take is also far more likely to reflect who you want to be and how you want to live. Taking action also enables our brain to collect evidence to support our new beliefs, which then helps to cement them.
This will not be a linear process, so don’t get discouraged if you find yourself slipping up occasionally. You’re human. Just pick yourself up and go again.
If you want to learn from the master about this process then check out this video from Brendon Burchard. He, along with Marianne Williamson, provided the inspiration for today’s dose of wisdom, so I hope I’ve done them both justice.
And, if you want even more inspiration to change your negative thoughts, I wrote an article about taking responsibility (read it here) which might help you finally take control of your life.
Never forget that, as A Course in Miracles so wisely says, “you are reborn in any moment that you do not bring the past with you”. In any moment we can choose a new beginning.
If all this seems a little overwhelming and you’d like some one to one support from me on your journey to creating a life you love, I currently have space for new clients. Just head on over to the contact page on my website and let me know you’re interested. I’ll be in touch to arrange a free 45 minute discovery call to see if we’re a good fit. You can also find out more about the packages I offer here.