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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 October 14, 2019

12 Inspirational Speeches That Teach You the Most Valuable Life Lessons

12 Inspirational Speeches That Teach You the Most Valuable Life Lessons

The most valuable thing an experienced person has is their experience. People make mistakes, learn from them, and adapt their life around them to become better people. Those people would then tell tales to others to help teach those lessons so that others would not have to make the same mistakes.

People still tell these stories today but in a slightly different format — they use speeches to express their experiences. Here are some valuable life lessons you can learn from some of the greatest inspirational speeches:

1. JK Rowling teaches us to not fear failure no matter how bad things become

It is a well-known fact that JK Rowling’s now-famous Harry Potter series was turned down by several publishers before it was finally picked up. Those publishers are likely kicking themselves in the pants right now. However, before that, JK Rowling was in a fairly dire situation and was on the brink of failure. Despite being turned down time and time again, she kept trying. Her efforts paid off. Harry Potter is now a ubiquitous character in today’s world culture. Despite failing over and over again, Rowling kept trying and fulfilled her dreams. You can watch her deliver some valuable life lessons in her Harvard commencement speech video above.

2. Steve Jobs teaches us to never settle

Steve Jobs had a fairly tumultuous life. He co-founded Apple, was kicked out of the company, came back, and then re-defined the mobile phone space with the iPhone. Even if iPhones aren’t the rage they once were, its iconic value is forever written in stone. One thing Jobs never did was settle. He lived life on his own terms and was rewarded for it by being dubbed one of the most revolutionary voices in technology of our time. In the Stanford commencement speech above, Jobs explains how you should never settle for what someone else wants out of your life. It’s your life and you should do what you want with it.

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3. Admiral William H McRaven teaches us to make our beds every day

Anyone who has gone through the basic training of a military service will tell you it’s pretty difficult. However, every seemingly obnoxious step is actually a life lesson in disguise. This even applies to flawlessly making one’s bed every single morning. As Admiral William H McRaven teaches us, recruits are taught to make their beds every morning to remind them that even the little things in life matter. After all, how can you be expected to handle the biggest obstacles in your life if you can’t even handle the small and the mundane like making your bed every day? You can watch the entire speech in the video above.

4. Author David Foster Wallace teaches us that we’re a part of a greater existence

David Foster Wallace found fame in 1987 with his book The Broom of the System. Nearly 20 years later in 2005 he game a commencement speech at Kenyon College that is worth listening to at least once. In his speech, he reminds us that was are but a part of a huge, dynamic, ever changing interaction of life forms. In order to truly experience life, we need to leave our personal bubbles and interact with others even if it’s in an unpleasant way. Wallace states, “It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.” You can watch the whole speech above.

5. Stephen Colbert teaches us that life isn’t something you can plan

If there is anyone who knows about improvisation, it’s comedian Stephen Colbert. In his commencement speech at Northwestern University in 2011, Colbert reminded students that you cannot plan life. Life throws too many curve balls. There are too many unpredictable things that can happen. The most successful and happy people are not those who have a plan, but those who can roll with the punches and overcome the obstacles. He goes on to site his time as an improv comic and how all of the actors working together to create a scene out of literally nothing are all working for one another. He states that like improv comedy, you don’t know what happens next in life. You just make it up as you go along. You can watch the whole speech above.

6. Kurt Vonnegut teaches us to not sweat the small stuff

Some of our younger readers may not know Kurt Vonnegut. He is a famous author that found of of his success during the middle of last century. In 1999, Kurt Vonnegut was at Agnes Scott College giving a commencement speech. During the speech, he mentioned that in order to live a more complete life, people needed to let stuff go. He argued that you cannot reasonably expect others to forgive you for your mistakes if you cannot forgive others and that you cannot live life fostering a personal vendetta against others.

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7. Neil Gaiman teaches us that success can be distracting.

Neil Gaiman is most known for his work in a number of literary mediums including journalism, comic books, and novels. In 2012, Gaiman gave a speech at the University of the Arts where he talked about success. He stated that when you become successful, you may be unintentionally swayed from performing the actions that made you successful. Gaiman recalled his early success and how he felt pressured to answer emails all day long and it actually prevented him from writing as much as he wanted. So he reminds us to keep doing what makes us successful and to not let others get in the way.

8. Barack Obama’s life lessons teaches us that you really can beat the odds

We know that not everyone likes Barack Obama but that doesn’t mean the man can’t deliver an amazing speech. In this 2004 keynote speech at the Democratic National Convenction, Obama reminds that it is possible to beat the odds and become something great. He cites his own upbringing as an example and how he was never expected to make it as far as he did. It shows that when you’re passionate about something and when you try hard enough, you can accomplish almost anything. It’s important to note that Obama talks about this in 2004 and would become the President of the United States just four years later.

9. Robin Roberts reminds us that we each have the courage to overcome challenges

Robin Roberts knows a thing or two about courage. She is a breast cancer survivor and has done battle with a rare blood disease called myelodysplastic syndrome. Her sister once had to donate bone marrow just so Robin could remain alive. She was also ESPN’s first African American broadcaster in the early 1990’s. She’s a woman who works in an industry predominately populated by men. So when Robin Roberts takes the stage at the ESPYs and delivers a short lecture on having courage, we would do well to listen!

10. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that some things are more important than success

We all know the story of Martin Luther King Jr. So much so that we have a day of the year to celebrate him as a national holiday here in the United States. Most of us have listening to segments of his famous speech where he told the world about a dream he had. The main message of his famous speech is that racial inequalities needed to end and he was absolutely right. However, he also reminds us that there are things that are more important than success such as equal rights and treating each other with respect and kindness. If you somehow made it through school without watching the famous speech, we’ve got it linked above.

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11. Jim Carrey reminds us that even if you keep it safe, you can still fail so you might as well go big

Jim Carrey delivered a commencement speech at Maharishi University recently that went absolutely viral. You may know it as the one minute video that will change your life. They weren’t lying but they weren’t telling the whole truth because the speech was actually 28 minutes long. During the speech, Carrey talks about his father who wanted to be a comedian but decided to take the safe route and become an accountant. As it turns out, his father was laid off and his family ended up poor anyway. With that, Carrey tells us that you can still end up failing even if you play it safe so you might as well swing for the fences and do what you want to do.

12. Bill Murray teaches us that it’s the hard times that determine if someone really loves you

You may have heard the story about Bill Murray crashing someone’s bachelor party and delivering a speech. It turns out the speech was both short and fairly epic. During the speech, Bill Murray challenged the bachelors to travel around the world with the women they love and go to places that are difficult to go to and deal with. He says if you can get back to the United States and you still love each other, then you should get married right then and there. It’s a great message. It’s easy to love one another when times are good but do you still love each other when the times are bad? If so, that’s true love according to Bill Murray.

Final thoughts

Inspiration comes from everywhere and from anyone. There are a countless number of speeches and stories that can teach us an incalculable number of life lessons.

All these speeches almost share the same message: Don’t be afraid to fail and keep trying.

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If you also want to live your best life like the above successful people, this is what you should start doing:

You’ll Only Live Your Best Life Once You Step Out

At the end of the day, everything is inspirational. It’s just a matter of finding the message that we need to hear to change our lives.

Featured photo credit: Miguel Henriques via unsplash.com

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