Did you know that, on average, you have between 60,000-70,000 thoughts a day? Of those, approximately 95% are repetitive and about 80% are negative. OUCH! Do the math…that’s about 50,000 negative thoughts each and every day. It’s no wonder you feel mentally stressed out and physically worn out. Our minds and bodies react to those negative thoughts as though they are real threats, putting us in a state of heightened anxiety and tension. There is good news, though. Just as thinking negative thoughts can cause us stress, thinking positive thoughts can help us feel mentally calm and physically relaxed. With some simple steps and consistent practice, you can turn those negative thoughts around and improve your overall mood, health and well-being.
First, as soon as you notice yourself having a negative thought, CUT IT OFF. Whether it is after the thought is over, or in mid-thought, CANCEL, DELETE or STOP the thought and insert some other, more positive thought in its place.
Second, LABEL IT. “Here I go, having another one of those negative thoughts.” This places the thought outside of you and you begin to realize that you are not your thoughts. Once you realize this you take the power out of the thoughts and take back the control.
Third, EXAGGERATE TO RIDICULOUSNESS. Let yourself get silly with taking your thought to its most outrageous possible outcome. Usually you will see the humor in this and start laughing at yourself. Warning: this is not the best choice if you are seriously anxious or depressed as it may increase these symptoms.
Fourth, COUNTERACT WITH THE EXACT OPPOSITE THOUGHT. This relates back to Cut It Off, where you insert a new thought in place of the negative thought. Your mind can only hold one thought at a time. You get to choose whether it will be a thought that supports you or one that brings you down. Which will it be?
Play around with these techniques and find one or two that work for you. You’d be amazed at what a difference paying attention to your thoughts, and making a conscious choice to eliminate your negative thinking, can make. Simply making a commitment to increase your awareness will bring results. It may feel a little overwhelming at first, but your persistence will pay off. After all, what have you got to lose but a few thousand negative thoughts!