Whether it’s because of genetics, experiences, or simply poor coping skills, most of us have a hard time controlling our negative thoughts—we’re more focused on the negatives in our lives than the positives. We previously discussed mindfully rewiring your brain to love yourself, but with a little more awareness we can also stop our thoughts from taking us down the path of self-doubt at all.
Our thoughts are made up of an intricate communication process between chemicals in our brain, gene expressions, and neutral connections—the more we experience a specific thought, the stronger that pathway grows. When our minds are constantly leading us down the path of self-doubt, it becomes easy to slip into a pattern of even more negative thoughts. What we have to do is learn to change our brain’s thought path.
The key is to become aware of our negative thoughts and mindfully lead those thoughts towards a path of positivity and self-love.
This is much easier said than done, but if you follow the steps of this mindfulness practice, you’ll soon be able to transform those destructive thoughts into something uplifting:
Become Aware of your Thoughts
Before you can change your negative thoughts into positive ones, you have to become aware of them. When negativity begins to consume your thoughts, write them down and identify what made you begin to think this way. Writing down your thoughts can help release them from your conscious mind.
Search for Evidence Supporting Your Thoughts
When you have a self-doubting thought, look for any evidence that supports those ideas. For example if your thought is something like, “I’m horrible at everything I do,” think about evidence that supports that theory—more than likely there won’t be much!
Now switch it up, find evidence that conflicts that that belief. Maybe you totally knocked that last project out of the park? Are you a great parent to your children? Write down your positive thoughts to help you remember them.
Look over the “evidence” that you found and ask yourself, are you really horrible at everything? No!
Go Crazy With your Thoughts
Exaggerate your negative thought to the extreme. Instead of thinking “I’m horrible at everything I do,” take it a step further: “I’m the biggest failure in the county,” “I could become the world champion of failures,” “They could write a book on me entitled ‘The Biggest Failure to Ever Exist.’” Keep going to the point that your thoughts are laughable, it helps to highlight how crazy these negative thoughts really are.
Become Your Own Friend
We’re much nicer to our friends than we are ourselves. If your friend were saying the same negative things about him or herself, you’d be quick to argue that they’re wrong and that they’re a wonderful person. So become your own friend, tell yourself the same things you’d tell a friend that was in your situation!
Practice Makes Perfect
You won’t be able to magically transform your negative thoughts into positive ones overnight; it takes time and practice just like everything else in life. Continue writing down your negative thoughts each time they occur and examining those ideas. Keep a list of positive affirmations with you to refer to when your thoughts start to wander to the dark side.
Do you already practice any of these things to deal with your negative thoughts? Have they been able to transform your thoughts?