“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.