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How Not to Let Negative Thoughts Trump the Positive Vibes

How Not to Let Negative Thoughts Trump the Positive Vibes

Have you ever had one of those positive moments in life spoiled by a negative thought? Or maybe your life is constantly being clouded by these negative thoughts and its creating anxiety, stress and low mood.

If so, stick with me. I’m going to teach you a solution. Something that embraces biology and psychology, something you might not have thought of, something that has already helped hundreds of people dispel negative thoughts.

I’m going to teach you the unique equation that you can start using right now to stop these negative thoughts from suppressing your life. Stay with me, it might change your life forever.

It’s annoying to have a wonderful moment ruined by a negative thought.

You know when you’re having a good time and you’re completely in the moment. Not necessarily a life changing moment, but just good positive vibes.

Then that negative thought creeps into your mind and says ‘I’m not going let you have this moment’.

These negative thoughts are something I call ‘Positive Emotion Suppressors’. Why? Because they suppress so many aspects of life, take a look…

Out with friends… ‘I’m not going let you have this moment’.

Spending the day with your child… ‘I’m not going let you have this moment’

Having a good day at work… ‘I’m not going let you have this moment’.

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Having a meal with your family… ‘I’m not going let you have this moment’

It takes the moment away. Your heart sinks and you have that rush of adrenalin and you’re suddenly not in the moment anymore. Instead you’re stuck in spiral of negative thoughts.

So, I’m going to teach the fool proof equation to stopping this and it’s probably not what you’re expecting.

This information is so valuable as it is the bridge between you enjoying these moments and breaking free from Positive Emotion Suppressors. When you think about it, that’s what life actually is… Being in the moment. When you’re not in the moment and focusing on negative thoughts, you’re not really living your life. This leaves you open to things like depression, anxiety and stress.

Before everything else, know where your negative thoughts come from.

When I say negative thought, I don’t just mean something negative that pops in your head for a few seconds. I’m talking about an uncontrollable obsessive negative thought that clouds everything and stops you taking in the moment.

This is created by 2 factors. It’s not just about psychology, but biology as well.

Let me explain…

Factor 1: A ‘Negative Hormone Harmony’

This might sound complicated and sciencey. So let’s keep it simple. Imagine you have a bucket in your body. This bucket’s for stress hormones. If this bucket is too full, it starts to effect how well your body and mind function. It effects how well feel-good neurotransmitters work like serotonin (these are chemical messengers responsible for positive mood and emotion), this makes you more likely to obsess over negative thoughts and makes it harder to feel positive emotions.

Factor 2: ‘Negative Automatic Thought Response’

This is when a negative thought pops in your head and your automatic response is to not be able to rationalise it out. This means the thought stays and continues to be a problem, creating a negative cycle.

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So there you have it. When your body is biologically set to think negatively and your automatic thoughts are negative, you have a problem. Therefore allowing Positive Emotion Suppressors to take over. It’s harder to feel positive emotions.

But, now you know the issue, you just need to know how to reverse it.

So this is the equation I’ve been talking about…

Positive Lifestyle Triggers + Positive Mindset Triggers = Decreased Negative Thoughts

So how does this equation work?

Well there are 2 parts to it…

Part 1: Create a ‘Positive Hormone Harmony’ with ‘Positive Lifestyle Triggers’

You probably have a big question—What’s a ‘Positive Lifestyle Trigger’?

Good question. Let’s get to it…

This is a small lifestyle change that results in reduced stress hormones and an improved Hormone Harmony. Therefore reducing the chance of you having negative thoughts, before you have them.

Here are 2 you can try…

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Spend 10-20 minutes doing ‘Flexible Exercise’ each day.

This is different from traditional exercise, which can actually increase stress hormones. Instead Flexible Exercise is designed in a way that allows the body to easily adapt to the stress of exercise, therefore reducing stress hormones in the body. Try doing 10 minutes of Flexible Exercise as soon as you get up every day. Learn how to perform these flexible exercise workout. [1]

There is such thing called ‘negative food’ that you should avoid eating.

These are foods that trigger high levels of stress hormones in the body. This Lifestyle Trigger is very effective, as it’s very simple. Just cut these foods from your diet and get the benefit. Start by cutting out processed foods and meals with a high glycemic load. Here is more about where these foods are hidden.

These lifestyle triggers help to adjust your Hormone Harmony, so biologically, you’re less likely to have negative thoughts.

Part 2: Creating an ‘Optimal Mindset’ with ‘Positive Mindset Triggers’

Positive Mindset Triggers are to break the pattern of automatically thinking negatively if a negative thought pops in your head.

Here are 2 you can try…

Be mindful and stay away from any negative thoughts.

There are many techniques and approaches to Mindfulness, but they all help you to be in the moment and help to distract from your Negative Thought Cycles.[2]

Give yourself positive self talks to clear your mind.

This helps you rationalise your thoughts. You could start by simply writing down some positive phrases that give you a positive outlook. Then say them to yourself when the negative thoughts come into your head.[3]

Start trying this equation to bring more positive emotions to your life.

So there you have it.

Use Lifestyle Triggers to improve your Hormone Harmony to decrease the chance of negative thoughts happening.

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Use Positive Mindset Triggers to improve the way you deal with the negative thought if it does happen.

And that’s how the equation works.

If this has made sense to you, don’t just ignore it, give it a go. You’re probably experiencing some ‘Motivational Energy’, this is how I explain that light bulb moment when something makes sense and you get a burst of motivation. But this motivation doesn’t last long. So what’s important is what you do right now to commit your self.

So have a think. Jot down in your diary how you could fit some Lifestyle Triggers and Positive Mind set Triggers in your daily routine.[4]

It takes time to get rid of negativity, but it’ll worth it.

It’s very important to reduce Positive Emotion Suppressors as it let’s you experience life free from negativity. It’s important for your mental health. It can help relieve or prevent things like depression, anxiety and stress. When you don’t allow any negativity to enter your life, you’ll brighten up and live a healthier life.

Take it one step at a time, and start from the smallest things in life. You can do it!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

More by this author

Ben Jones

Fitness Coordinator

We Feel Empty Because Our Bodies Aren’t Evolved to Cope With the Current Lifestyle How Not to Let Negative Thoughts Trump the Positive Vibes The 20-Minute Morning Routine That Relieves Anxiety The 10-Minute Daily “Lifestyle Trigger” That Relieves Anxiety and Depression 2 Major Flaws in Your Diet That Cause Stress and Anxiety

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Last Updated on October 30, 2019

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

Change is tough, there’s no doubt about it. Old habits are hard to shift, and adopting a new lifestyle can feel like an uphill battle!

In this article, you will learn about a simple yet powerful model:

Stages of change model, that explains the science behind personal transformation.

You’ll discover how and why some changes stick whereas others don’t last, and how long it takes to build new habits.

What is the Stages of Change Model?

Developed by researchers J.O. Prochaska and Carlo C. DiClemente over 30 years ago[1] and outlined in their book Changing For Good, the Stages of Change Model, also known as the Transtheoretical Model, was formed as a result of the authors’ research with smokers.

Prochaska and DiClemente were originally interested in the question of why some smokers were able to quit on their own, whereas others required professional help. Their key conclusion was that smokers (or anyone else with a bad habit) quits only when they are ready to do so.

Here’s an illustration done by cartoonist and illustrator Simon Kneebone about the different stages a smoker experiences when they try to quit smoking:

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    The Stages of Change Model looks at how these conscious decisions are made. It emphasizes that change isn’t easy. People can spend a long time stuck in a stage, and some may never reach their goals.[2]

    The model has been applied in the treatment of smoking, alcoholism, and drugs. It is also a useful way of thinking about any bad habit. Social workers, therapists, and psychologists draw on the model to understand their patients’ behaviors, and to explain the change process to the patients themselves.

    The key advantages to the model is that it is simple to understand, is backed by extensive research, and can be applied in many situations.

    The Stages of Change Model is a well-established psychological model that outlines six stages of personal change:

    1. Precontemplation
    2. Contemplation
    3. Determination
    4. Action
    5. Maintenance
    6. Termination

    How are these stages relevant to changing habits?

    To help you visualize the stages of change and how each progresses to the next one, please take a look at this wheel:[3]

      Let’s look at the six stages of change,[4] together with an example that will show you how the model works in practice:

      Stage 1: Precontemplation

      At this stage, an individual does not plan to make any positive changes in the next six months. This may because they are in denial about their problem, feel too overwhelmed to deal with it, or are too discouraged after multiple failed attempts to change.

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      For example, someone may be aware that they need to start exercising, but cannot find the motivation to do so. They might keep thinking about the last time they tried (and failed) to work out regularly. Only when they start to realize the advantages of making a change will they progress to the next stage.

      Stage 2: Contemplation

      At this stage, the individual starts to consider the advantages of changing. They start to acknowledge that altering their habits would probably benefit them, but they spend a lot of time thinking about the downside of doing so. This stage can last for a long time – possibly a year or more.

      You can think of this as the procrastinating stage. For example, an individual begins to seriously consider the benefits of regular exercise, but feels resistant when they think about the time and effort involved. When the person starts putting together a concrete plan for change, they move to the next stage.

      The key to moving from this stage to the next is the transformation of an abstract idea to a belief (e.g. from “Exercise is a good, sensible thing to do” to “I personally value exercise and need to do it.)[5]

      Stage 3: Preparation

      At this point, the person starts to put a plan in place. This stage is brief, lasting a few weeks. For example, they may book a session with a personal trainer and enrol on a nutrition course.

      Someone who drinks to excess may make an appointment with a drug and alcohol counsellor; someone with a tendency to overwork themselves might start planning ways to devise a more realistic schedule.

      Stage 4: Action

      When they have decided on a plan, the individual must then put it into action. This stage typically lasts for several months. In our example, the person would begin attending the gym regularly and overhauling their diet.

      Stage 4 is the stage at which the person’s desire for change becomes noticeable to family and friends. However, in truth, the change process began a long time ago. If someone you know seems to have suddenly changed their habits, it’s probably not so sudden after all! They will have progressed through Stages 1-3 first – you probably just didn’t know about it.

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      Stage 5: Maintenance

      After a few months in the Action stage, the individual will start to think about how they can maintain their changes, and make lifestyle adjustments accordingly. For instance, someone who has adopted the habit of regular workouts and a better diet will be vigilant against old triggers (such as eating junk food during a stressful time at work) and make a conscious decision to protect their new habits.

      Unless someone actively engages with Stage 5, their new habits are liable to come unstuck. Someone who has stuck to their new habits for many months – perhaps a year or longer – may enter Stage 6.

      Maintenance can be challenging because it entails coming up with a new set of habits to lock change in place. For instance, someone who is maintaining their new gym-going habit may have to start improving their budgeting skills in order to continue to afford their gym membership.

      Stage 6: Termination

      Not many people reach this stage, which is characterized by a complete commitment to the new habit and a certainty that they will never go back to their old ways. For example, someone may find it hard to imagine giving up their gym routine, and feel ill at the thought of eating junk food on a regular basis.

      However, for the majority of people, it’s normal to stay in the Maintenance period indefinitely. This is because it takes a long time for a new habit to become so automatic and natural that it sticks forever, with little effort. To use another example, an ex-smoker will often find it hard to resist the temptation to have “just one” cigarette even a year or so after quitting. It can take years for them to truly reach the Termination stage, at which point they are no more likely to smoke than a lifelong non-smoker.

      How long does each stage take?

      You should be aware that some people remain in the same stage for months or even years at a time. Understanding this model will help you be more patient with yourself when making a change. If you try to force yourself to jump from Contemplation to Maintenance, you’ll just end up frustrated. On the other hand, if you take a moment to assess where you are in the change process, you can adapt your approach.

      So if you need to make changes quickly and you are finding it hard to progress to the next stage, it’s probably time to get some professional help or adopt a new approach to forming habits.

      The limitations of this model

      The model is best applied when you decide in advance precisely what you want to achieve, and know exactly how you will measure it (e.g. number of times per week you go to the gym, or number of cigarettes smoked per day). Although the model has proven useful for many people, it does have limitations.

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      Require the ability to set a realistic goal

      For a start, there are no surefire ways of assessing whereabouts in the process you are – you just have to be honest with yourself and use your own judgement. Second, it assumes that you are physically capable of making a change, whereas in fact you might either need to adjust your goals or seek professional help.

      If your goal isn’t realistic, it doesn’t matter whether you follow the stages – you still won’t get results. You need to decide for yourself whether your aims are reasonable.[6]

      Difficult to judge your progress

      The model also assumes that you are able to objectively measure your own successes and failures, which may not always be the case.[7] For instance, let’s suppose that you are trying to get into the habit of counting calories as part of your weight-loss efforts. However, even though you may think that you are recording your intake properly, you might be over or under-estimating.

      Research shows that most people think they are getting enough exercise and eating well, but in actual fact aren’t as healthy as they believe. The model doesn’t take this possibility into account, meaning that you could believe yourself to be in the Action stage yet aren’t seeing results. Therefore, if you are serious about making changes, it may be best to get some expert advice so that you can be sure the changes you are making really will make a positive difference.

      Conclusion

      The Stages Of Change Model can be a wonderful way to understand change in both yourself and others.

      While there’re some limitations in it, the Stages of Change Model helps to visualize how you go through changes so you know what to expect when you’re trying to change a habit or make some great changes in life.

      Start by identifying one of your bad habits. Where are you in the process? What could you do next to move forwards?

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Psych Central: Stages Of Change
      [2] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [3] Empowering Change: Stages of Change
      [4] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [5] Psychology Today: 5 Steps To Changing Any Behavior
      [6] The Transtheoretical Model: Limitations Of The Transtheoretical Model
      [7] Health Education Research: Transtheoretical Model & Stages Of Change: A Critique

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