Negative thinking is something we all engage in from time to time, but constant negativity can destroy your mental health, leaving you depressed and anxious. Science shows that positive thinking can improve mental wellbeing, minimize stress and even lead to better cardiovascular health. We are mean to ourselves. Nearly 90% of self-talk is negative. Three steps:
1. Release it. Let it out to help process, not to dwell. Three minutes, then the pity party is over.
2. Track it. Identify when you have negative thoughts. Awareness will enable reframing.
3. Reframe it. Once you know why you are being mean, consider what your best friend would say to you. Then tell yourself what you need to hear.

  • Challenge negative thoughts: Whenever you have a distorted thought, stop and evaluate whether it is accurate. Think about how you would respond if a friend spoke about herself that way. You would probably offer a good rebuttal to his or her negative view. Apply the same logic to your own thoughts. Ask yourself if you are assuming the worst will happen or blaming yourself for something that has not gone the way you wanted. And then think about other possible outcomes or reasons that something turned out differently than you hoped.
  • Focus on your strengths: It’s human nature to dwell on the negative and overlook the positive. The more you can practice focusing on your strengths and not dwelling on mistakes you’ve made, the easier it will be to feel positive about yourself and the direction your life is taking. If you find yourself thinking harsh thoughts about your actions, take a moment to stop and think about something you like about yourself.
  • Write Instead Of Think: Write down why the negative thought is present. Writing versus thinking helps purge the thought out, and when you can see the words on paper or a screen it is easier to make sense of it and move forward.
  • Establish New Habits: Rather than thinking of it in terms of “overcoming” negative thought patterns, think of it in terms of establishing new habits. You do that by directing your attention to subjects where there’s nothing to “overcome”: subjects that you already feel good about, and therefore think positively about. That could be your pet, your painted toe nails, being outside, the beach… Start with something easy.
  • Develop Your Success Routine: Every morning for fifteen years, I’ve done a process I created called “Quantum Programming.” It involves taking time each morning as you wake to meditate and focus on the person you want to be and the quality of life you want to live. You also set a few important goals to keep your momentum building toward your dreams. When you know what you want and are driving at it daily, negativity will fade.
  • Release judgment. We all judge ourselves and others, usually unconsciously. Constantly comparing ourselves to other people or comparing our lives to some ideal breeds dissatisfaction. When you are able to let go of judgment (not easy, but possible), you will likely feel more at ease. Some ways to take a break from judgmental thoughts include recognizing your own reaction, observing it, and then letting it go. Another helpful technique is to “positive judge.” When you notice you are negatively judging a person, yourself, or a situation, look for a positive quality, too.

 

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