Negative thoughts are something that we all experience and often on a daily basis. Some may be relatively harmless thoughts, such as ‘This is the worst coffee I have ever had!’, or ‘This weather is lousy’, or sometimes they are more damaging because they are critical, self-deprecating or unnecessarily judgemental of others.
The reality is that having an occasional negative thought is just part of being human. It is perfectly okay to not like something or have an aversion to a situation, person or outcome. However when we allow these negative thoughts, especially the damaging ones, to fester and build on themselves, they can start to form patterns of negativity. These patterns of negative thinking can be detrimental on so many levels, interfering with your relationship with yourself as well as with others.
Can you relate to this? Well here is the good news… It is within your power to steer those negative thoughts back on track, so that you can be the positive, optimistic and fun loving person that you know you are!
Here are some useful techniques that will help you overcome negative thinking patterns:
Recognize and replace - Start to recognise negative thoughts as they occur and make an effort to replace them with positive thoughts instead The more often you are able to recognise negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones, the more natural this ‘positive’ thinking process becomes.
Meditation - Meditation is a great way of clearing the mind and gaining new perspective. Mindfulness meditations in particular are fantastic ways of cultivating more awareness of the way the mind works and different thoughts that occur. I find meditation particularly helpful when my mind seems to have looped in a negative thought pattern, as a way of unwinding those thoughts and helping me see the bigger picture.
Positive affirmations - Try starting each day with a positive affirmation such as ‘Today will be a great day’. It might sound a little corny, but the truth is that by starting your day on a good note, and with a positive intention, you are setting the positive ball rolling.
Don’t play the victim - Take responsibility for your own life, instead of blaming others for things you are unhappy about. If you don’t like certain aspects of your life, then work towards changing them. You are the architect of your own life, create a great one!
Surround yourself with people who bring the best out in you - Negativity feeds negativity. So choose to fill your life with people who make you feel good about who you are and bring out the best in you.
Cultivate gratitude - Take the time each day to appreciate all the good things in your life, of which there are many! Even something as simple as a healthy and delicious meal is something to be grateful about. Instead of looking at others and wishing you had what they have, try to reflect on some of the great things in your own life, and develop a sense of contented gratitude for your own unique and wonderful life.
Most importantly, don’t give yourself too much of a hard time! Be kind to yourself and remember, angels only fly because they take themselves lightly! ;)