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How To Change Negative Thinking Into Positive Thinking

How To Change Negative Thinking Into Positive Thinking

Negative thinking can start a downward spiral — we’ve all been through it at one point or another. At some point, you’ve got to haul yourself up and embrace positivity. Positive thinking can be the cure-all you need to start down a happier path in life. Here are some suggestions to help you out with that.

1. Remind yourself to think positively every day

With hard work, determination, and strength, nothing is impossible. Negative thinking is common, but too often it is harmful to the body, mind, and soul. Each time you have a negative thought, redirect it to a positive channel. Find the positive in the negative. It is going to be difficult, but it becomes easier with practice. In the long run, you will be relaxed more often and enjoy life a whole lot more.

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2. Start reading positive quotes

Reading positive affirmations helps give you the motivation you need for the day. It’s time to turn the television off and get reading. It will lift the spirits and help you feel more alive and radiant. If you don’t have an appropriate book on hand, go online and do some Google searches. Or, drop by the library and spend some time among the bookshelves there. You are bound to come up with a ton of quotes to help you feel better. Just get up and be proactive. You will be grateful for it soon enough.

3. Begin meditating and picturing nature in your mind

Picturing nature in your mind helps you feel more relaxed and positive. When you have an internal sense of peace and bliss, you are more mindful of your surroundings. Practicing meditation has been shown to reduce stress, improve calm, and increase happiness and mindfulness. Like anything, it takes continual practice to reap the full benefits. Imagine a calming destination and transport yourself there. You’ll be surprised with how rewarding this can be.

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4. Take time to do the things you like

When you start looking forward to something, your mind stays proactive. You feel fully functional. So, plan a day with things that give you real happiness and aid you in your quest to think positively. Life is too short to only do what you are forced to do. Go skiing, travel the world, run with the bulls — do anything that makes you step outside of your comfort zone.

5. Believe that you can change your thoughts

Sometimes, the belief is all that matters. As they say, you can do anything you put your mind to. If you think you can’t change your thinking, then it’s likely that you won’t. However, with a positive mindset, just about anything is possible. Just believe that good things will happen, and things tend to fall into place.

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6. Remember that nothing is permanent

Nothing is permanent — that’s one fact that nobody can undermine. If you take the time to truly digest it, it’s a lot easier to start thinking positively. Nothing is set in stone and you can work on changing the things that you are unhappy with. Whether it be your relationships, your health, your professional life — there are things you can do right now to be happier in the future.

7. Embrace the negative and positive

Sometimes, you’ve got to remind yourself that where there is darkness there is also light. The truth is that no matter how hard we try, we are going to have some sort of negativity in our lives at times. Life is a mixed bag. Everyone has there own struggles, and most of us come out unscathed on the other side. Just remember to look for the good in every situation — maybe you’ll be surprised.

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Ramanpreet Kaur

Currently a student but don't know what direction to go in: Let us see if writing gets me anywhere :)

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

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Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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