Is there a little voice in your head that’s holding you back? What if the words you heard can give you a boost instead of it weighing you down?
We all have the tendency to hold on to negative self-judgments no matter what status we hold in our society. Whether we are a struggling freelancer who’s hustling every day just to make ends meet, whether we are an eminent executive who’s at the helm of our career, or a successful entrepreneur reaping the rewards of our hard work, negative thoughts tend to hold on to us. We are not spared from the plethora of distractions around us, the constant stress, worry, and anxiety that we experience in managing our daily lives. Even when we are steeped in reading a book, our mind wanders about 20% of the time. We have a difficult time being right here at the present moment.
Having negative thoughts are normal. Staying there is what causes most of the damage. Excessive mind wandering and self-criticizing can cause pain, anger, frustration, depression due to fear. It promotes the release of cortisol, a chemical substance that suppresses the immune system, and if not managed well can lead to poor health and even sickness. These prevent us from enjoying life as we should.
When we switch to a more positive thought pattern, we create space to invite anything you want into our life, like love, gratitude, excitement, and positivity. Acceptance allows us to be at peace and live our life to the fullest.
Our thoughts are our own worst enemy. Our feelings come from our thoughts. If we can learn to shift our thoughts to positive we are going to feel better. Here are some strategies you can use to quickly snap out of a negative thought.
1. “Can’t change it.”
These are the three life-changing words of Hal Elrod, “Can’t change it.”
Hal is the no. 1 Best-selling author of “The Miracle Morning: The not-so-obvious secret guaranteed to transform your life before 8 am”. Hal Elrod died at the age of 20. He was hit head-on by a drunk driver at 70 miles per hour. He died for 6 mins, flat lined 2x while in a coma, broke 11 bones, suffered permanent brain damage, and was told that he would never walk again. Instead of dwelling on the unfortunate consequences of reality, he learned to accept the situation and moved on. To find the logic of doctors, not only that Hal walked again after a few weeks, he went on to become an ultra-marathon runner, running 52 miles to raise money for charity. He’s also a hall of fame business achiever, international keynote speaker, a world renowned success coach, and hip hop recording artist.
Hal learned from his Cutco sales training, the what we call, “The 5-minute rule”. He said that it’s OK to be negative when things go wrong, but not for more than 5 minutes. When bad things happen in your life, you look at the situation, you can bitch, moan, complain, kick things, but after 5 minutes, take a deep breath and say “Can’t change it” and learn to accept reality. The 5 minutes gives you enough time to feel it, reflect, and decide on your next move. There’s no value in dwelling in the past. You can’t go back and change it. The only logical intelligent choice is to accept all things that are out of our control, accept the things we can’t change and move on.
When you accept all things you can’t change, you achieve emotional freedom. When bad things happen, it’s not the bad things that are causing us pain, it’s our resistance those things. It’s about wishing and wanting it were different. When faced in a situation like this, say, “Can’t change it.” Focus your energy on the things you want and accept the things you don’t want (reality).
.b pronounced [dot-be], stands for “Stop, Breathe, and Be!”.
In 2007, two school teachers experienced the benefits of mindfulness practice and wanted to bring it to life in the classroom. This was when the Mindfulness in Schools Project was born. Richard Burnett and Chris Cullen were tasked to encourage 25 teenagers to get involved in periods of stillness and silence. They need to convince them that mindfulness is a skill which could make a real difference to their lives.
Research tells us that our mental health and happiness are profoundly shaped by how and where we place your attention. Mindfulness is recognizing where thinking becomes over thinking and rumination. Knowing how to change gears into a mode of mind which is more nourishing is a skill that can be learned through practice.
When the mind wanders, we need to bring it back to the present. If it wanders 100x, we bring it back 100x. We need to train the muscle of our attention (also called, mind muscle). That’ s the foundation of mindfulness. Mindfulness strengthens the immune system. Less stress means less cortisol which results to improved health. Research tells us that our mental health and happiness are profoundly shaped by how and where you place your attention.
In a nutshell, every time you encounter any negative thought, Shout .b [dot-be]! This simply means “Stop, Breathe deep, and Be present!”.
3. “The Stop Light”
Daniel Goleman is a psychologist and award-winning author of Emotional Intelligence. He challenges traditional measures of intelligence as a predictor of our success in life. I learned about him while searching for videos on positive thinking. I watched his talk about “Focus-The Secret to High Performance and Fulfillment” at the Royal College of Music. One time he visited a grade school in New Haven, Connecticut. While going around the classrooms, the noticed that there were posters of a Stop light in every classroom. He realized that the school is encouraging kids to practice mindfulness at an early age.
The stop light reminds them that when you’re upset, angry or depressed, do the following:
STOP! means to stop, assess the situation.
CALM DOWN means to relax, you can manage your inner turmoil.
THINK means to think before you act.
By following these 3 simples steps, you will be able to overcome your negative feelings objectively. This is a lesson on cognitive control. One definition of maturity is by learning to lengthen the gap between impulse and action. By doing so, you allow yourself to handle a situation, wisely.
4. “Change the channel darling.”
This one is a classic. A word of advice coming from a Mom. Mama knows best!
I’m a subscriber at Marie Forleo TV, an online channel that features experts, authors, and movers and shakers of the society. One evening I was able to watch the interview of Arianna Huffington about her new book “Thrive”. Over the course of the interview, Arianna was sharing stories about life lessons her mother ingrained in them when they were growing up. She said:
“Another of my mother’s gifts was to be in a constant state of wonder at the world around her. Whether she was washing dishes or feeding seagulls at the beach or reprimanding overworking businessmen, she maintained her sense of wonder at life. And whenever I’d complain or was upset about something in my own life, my mother had the same advice: “Darling, just change the channel. You are in control of the clicker. Don’t replay the bad, scary movie.””
She hits the nail on the head. You can decide whether you want to feel bad or be happy. You are in control of your life. It’s your choice.
Are you constantly preoccupied with negative thoughts? Do you dwell on your past experiences and worry about what the future may bring? How are you coping? I’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments below.