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5 Ways to Defeat The Stubborn Negative Thoughts in Your Mind

5 Ways to Defeat The Stubborn Negative Thoughts in Your Mind

“Every thought we think is creating our future.” Louise L. Hay

If your thoughts are focused on negativity, this quote is enough to scare the wits out of you. But, that’s actually a good thing. When you’re aware that negative thoughts are creating strangling weeds rather than blooming roses in your future, you’ve taken the first step towards defeating them.

With a few, simple techniques, that nasty voice in your head will soon learn to behave itself. None of us will ever entirely eradicate negative thoughts — these are a natural and sometimes necessary reaction to external influences. However, we can decide to put a leash on them. By doing this, we turn them around and focus on the silver lining in everything.

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1. Investigate Your Thoughts

Think about those times when you’re driving to work on a well-worn route and you realize, after you arrive, that you can’t even remember getting there. When we’re in auto-pilot mode with our thoughts, we leave ourselves open to invasions of negativity, as we do to car accidents if we don’t concentrate on the road.

You can limit auto-pilot thinking by starting each day with the intention of becoming aware of your thoughts. If, for example, you have a habit of cringing when you look in the mirror and unleashing a torrent of self-critical thoughts, use that as your first investigation of the day.

Ask yourself how those thoughts are helping you. This will lead to the knowledge that they are, in fact, destroying your confidence. Why would you want to do that to yourself, when you can just as easily think about your good points? Once you’ve recognized the pattern, write an affirmation on the mirror, such as: “I am beautiful inside and out.” Then, do it again.

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You might feel silly at first, but the practice will act like a magic eraser to banish negative thoughts.

2. Flood Your Mind With Positivity

It doesn’t matter if you hate your job, don’t get along with your flat mates, fight with your family or can’t lose weight to save yourself, you can still put steps into place to flood your mind with “positivity”. A flood washes away everything it makes contact with — in this case, your negative thoughts.

Start by introducing simple, yet effective activities into your life, every single day, to enhance positive thinking. These can include reading stimulating and inspiring books before you go to sleep, getting out into nature every day, giving yourself the luxury of having a long, hot bath, seeking out friends who support and encourage you, eating nourishing, delicious fresh food and expressing your creativity.

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3. Focus On Creating

When we’re busy creating, our minds completely lose the ability to worry. It doesn’t matter if you’re painting, playing an instrument, writing, doing craft, cooking, building a shelf or gardening. Any or all creative activities lead you towards inspiring thoughts.

Better yet, they act as a spring board towards the momentum you need to lift you into positive thinking. Momentum, in this sense, means that you need to have at least one positive thought in order to attract a spiral of them. Next time you find yourself wallowing down the wrong end of the spiral, get busy on a creative project of your choice and you’ll be on the up, before you know it.

4. Face Your Fears

Our negative thoughts are often a product of our fears and our fears create negative thoughts. This can be a never-ending cycle of self-sabotaging repetition, if we don’t commit to facing our fears and trying to overcome them. Nothing compares to experiencing the death of a fear by running at it head on. By doing so, we create space in our minds for new possibilities.

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For example, if you have a fear of public speaking and it’s setting you back in your career, start off small by practicing by yourself in the mirror. Or, you could do a short course or gather a group of trusted friends to critique you and build your confidence. If you’re scared of dogs because you were bitten as a child, rather than subject your body to ‘fight or flight’ mode every time you see one, spend time with a dog whose owner you trust, in order to work through your pre-conditioned behaviour.

5. Embrace Silence to Find Clarity

In the world we live in, our minds don’t actually get to switch off, unless we make a concentrated effort to find the ‘off’ button. Where is the off button? It’s located in silence. You don’t have to be in a hilltop monastery to find peace, but you do have to turn the TV off, stop scrolling through the Facebook feed and understand that silence doesn’t mean boredom.

With so many choices for distractions, we constantly escape awareness of our thoughts by adding to them, with irritating (at best) and horrifying (at worst) external influences that feed negative thinking for advertising and commercial purposes. It’s important to empty all the rubbish that builds up in our minds, by acknowledging negative thoughts, letting them go and replacing them with positive ones.

The easiest way you can do this is to meditate. By calming all thoughts in your mind, you’re effectively doing a spring clean. By allowing space between your thoughts, you’re gaining clarity. By gaining clarity, you’re strengthening your ability to choose positive thoughts.

When you do that, you will have uncovered the key to health, harmony and happiness…simply by turning it in the opposite direction.

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Nicole Leigh West

Travel and Lifestyle Writer, Choreographer, Reiki Practitioner

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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