Do negative thoughts rule your brain…and seemingly your life?
Sometimes it seems like we have no choice but to listen to the negative soundtrack in our mind.
So you’re not imagining things! Sometimes it’s very difficult indeed to have a more positive mindset.
But it also isn’t your fault! Our brains are simply creatures of habit. We all think about 60,000 thoughts a day–but 90% of those thoughts are the exact same thoughts we had yesterday…and the day before that…and the day before that. It’s like our brains get stuck on a certain signal–and once they tune into that signal it’s very difficult to turn away–even if those thoughts are untrue and negative in nature.
However, even though our biology is stacked against us, it’s not all bad news! While your brain might love to run rampant in negativity, you can still train it to become more positive. Your physical body would seemingly love you to eat fats and sugars all day long but we know better than to give into those urges. It’s the same thing when it comes to your mindset.
Our brain might prefer a certain (negative) way of doing things but there are action steps we can take to regain control and feel happier. Or in other words, you don’t have to be stuck with the crappy thinking your brain defaults to.
Practicing positivity is a habit that will make you happier and more productive over the long run. While it’s not always easy, it is always worth it to put in the effort. So to help you on your positivity journey, today I’m sharing five mindset techniques to get you started.
How To Be More Positive: 5 Mindset Techniques
How To Be More Positive: Mindset Technique #1:
Know Your Brain Is Doing A Job
Your brain is hard-wired to look for negativity. Which means all those stressed out negative thoughts area really just your brain trying to keep you safe. It’s simple biology, not a defect on your part.
Our ancestors developed a keen sense of danger as a survival mechanism! Constantly scanning the world for impending danger was obviously beneficial for the human race. But our modern lives seldom have any real danger anymore–yet our brain is still on the lookout! Only these days it’s there’s not much to look for.
Knowing that fact does not mean that your brain will suddenly leave you in peace! Unfortunately, it’s still going to do its job. But you can learn how to disengage with those thoughts.
For example, when your brain starts going down a negative path (ie. “My boyfriend is late from work! Omg he’s obviously not thinking about me. He must not love me anymore!” etc.) you can see those thoughts for what they are–and thank your brain for trying to protect you. (“Oh I see you negative thoughts! Ok thank you brain for always looking out for me!”) Then go back to being open to something other than the terrible-ness your brain wants you to believe.
Our first reactive thoughts are often coming from our worst fears and beliefs! Sometimes you need to stop and take a moment to realize what’s really going on.
How To Be More Positive: Mindset Technique #2:
Thoughts Aren’t Facts
We’re just so smart aren’t we? Our ego mind just loves to play this game and it gives us constant proof of just how smart we are. That means when our brain is telling us something–no matter how negative it is!–we take it as fact, even though it probably isn’t.
While our brain loves to present our thoughts as being very factual, they’re actually 95% just our interpretations of the world. That means they’re just our stories. They’re open to interpretation–and they’re definitely able to be seen in a different (more positive) light.
So when your negative thoughts are telling you you’re stupid or the situation is hopeless, take a pause and try to come back to reality. What are the actual facts of the situation versus what your brain is trying to tell you? Simply being able to see the difference between the two can give you control back over your own narrative.
How To Be More Positive: Mindset Technique #3:
Minimize Your Triggers
As you move through your week, pay attention to what triggers your negativity the most. That might be watching or reading the news, something an ignoramus relative posted on Facebook or even a conversation with someone in real life. But if it something has the power to color your mood for the rest of the day, it’s important to become aware of it.
Most of the time we can’t completely eliminate the trigger itself. We can’t cut off every person who rubs us the wrong way and bury our head in the sand about world events. But you can limit your time spent watching the news or with a certain person. The world might be in a state of upheaval right now but that doesn’t mean that you have to strap yourself in for a front-row view for hours every day! Nor do you have to put up with people who don’t respect you, even if they are family members.
This one’s really all about setting boundaries to preserve your own happiness. So please just know that just because you’ve always done something one way, you don’t have to keep going. If something triggers your negative emotional soundtrack, then it’s in your best interests to make a permanent–more positive–change. Knowing what’s good for you and what isn’t is key to creating your own happiness.
How To Be More Positive: Mindset Technique #4:
Choose What Feels Better
Some of our habitual negative thoughts are absolutely abusive–and sometimes they’ve been around for so long we don’t even realize it.
For example, I used to feel very insecure about the dark circles under my eyes. Every time I’d look in a mirror I’d focus straight in on them and berate myself for looking too “old” or “tired”. But it’s a funny thing: when I’d mention my dark circle problem to people in real life, everyone would look at me with surprise: “What dark circles?”
If the rest of the world can’t see what you’re talking about, that’s a pretty good sign that your brain is making mountains out of molehills! But even so, it’s hard to disengage with those repetitive negative thoughts.
So don’t try to do it all in one go! Instead of going from negative to positive, go for a neutral statement first. Instead of thinking “I’m so ugly” think “I have a body/face/etc.” That might not seem like it’s enough but it’s a massive improvement over the negative thought. The neutral thought moves the inner conversation out of self-abuse territory. So whenever you notice the painful thoughts surfacing, do what you can to redirect your thoughts to something more neutral.
With more practice, you can move the thoughts into positive territory! But neutral territory is a great improvement over negativity.
How To Be More Positive: Mindset Technique #5:
It’s a fact of life: if you only look at what’s missing from your life, of course you’re always going to feel lack and scarcity! However, this can be tricky for us manifesting go-getters. While it’s cool to have goals and plans for our future, it’s also important to acknowledge how far we’ve already come.
Again, this is all just a matter of habit. Right now, your brain is probably not making it a habit to look to your past for your victories and gifts. But you can start creating gratitude as a habit right now! It’s time to start a gratitude practice. Put in in your schedule or make it part of your morning routine. Then take a few minutes to think or write about something you’re grateful for.
Even if you do this for just a few minutes a day, it can make a massive difference! And yes, it might feel weird and awkward at first but that’s just a sign that you really need this work. But keep going with it! The more you practice gratitude, the easier it will come to you.
So tell me: what tip are you going to use first to create a more positive mindset? How are you going to make a plan to conquer your own negative thinking?
Just remember, you don’t have to be stuck with your out-of-the-box way of thinking! Changing your mindset is really just like going to the gym for your brain. You’ve got to put some consistent effort into keeping things right and tight to reap the biggest results.
PS Looking for more? You might also want to check out this post about how to get rid of negative thoughts or this one about 10 ways to finally feel good.
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