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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.

More by this author

Nicole Leigh West

Travel and Lifestyle Writer, Choreographer, Reiki Practitioner

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success:

1. Become aware of what’s outside of your comfort zone

What are the things that you believe are worth doing but are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts, but your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

2. Become clear about what you are aiming to overcome

Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.

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How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your looks?

Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

3. Get comfortable with discomfort

One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

4. See failure as a teacher

Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.

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Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Here’re some examples:

10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

5. Take baby steps

Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps:

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The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

6. Hang out with risk takers

There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. (Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful).

Almost inevitably, their influence will start have an effect on your behavior.

7. Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses

Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

8. Identify how stepping out will benefit you

What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.

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9. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

10. Focus on the fun

Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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