How to boot out negative thoughts… or at least reduce their tenancy!
I sent an email out about a month ago asking my contacts what their biggest challenge in business was right now. This wasn’t after anything contract related, or Cash Flow related, just their biggest challenge. One that came back time and time again was negative thoughts.
As these quite often pop into my head, I know I have to boot them out, however, I can also understand how difficult it can be to overcome them it when you aren’t used to doing that.
So I put my thinking cap on and thought who do I know from my networking, who would write a fantastic blog to help all my readers with this problem. Of course, lots of names came to mind from my networking contacts, this is why I drive for 6 hours to go to a networking meeting, so I have the connections to help out my contacts with any challenges they have.
With some of my local contacts that I see regularly already doing guest blogs on Time Management, how to stop thinking about work at the weekend, I decided to reach out to some people I see less frequently so you can the benefit of the whole spectrum of people I know.
Taz Thornton is based near Spalding, she’s a speaker, an author and an extreme empowerment strategist! She is a fantastic lady who wants to share with you how you can manage your negative thoughts, so over to Taz.
When I was first asked to write a blog about getting through the day without being hindered by negative thoughts, I jumped at the chance.
After all, I’m a motivational speaker, empowerment specialist and confidence coach – I talk about this stuff all the time – it should be easy, right?
In an ideal world, yes. An ideal world, though, would arguably assume we hadn’t all become used to wading through negative news on a daily basis – I’m not sure we even notice it all any more!
We’re surrounded by negativity. Wherever we look, there seems to be someone intent on filling our minds with woes and worries. War. Bloodshed. Famine. Inequality. Abuse. Assault. Someone being an idiot on Facebook…
I subscribe to the theory that there’s balance in all things – that means for every bit of perceived negativity, there’s some wonderful positivity too. We don’t need to turn a blind eye to tough situations across the globe, we just need to remember there’s yin to the yang and choose to concentrate not just on the manure, but on the beautiful flowers growing from it.
No more negative thoughts?
Is it really possible to reach a point in life where we never have a negative thought? I’m not convinced.
We’re human beings, not robots. Personal tragedies, grief, loss, relationship breakdowns, cash flow worries, even hormones will occasionally knock people off that perfectly balanced centre spot and into a place where – even if only for a short time – the world just feels a little bit too much.
What we absolutely CAN do is train ourselves to not stay down for too long. We can learn to adopt methodologies that allow us to refocus, put things into perspective and concentrate on the positives – or even switch our thinking to redefine situations in a more positive light. The real trick to positive thinking isn’t never having a less than happy thought, but changing the way we look at the world to help us find the suntrap instead of lurking in the shadows.
This kind of mind switch can, of course, take time and doesn’t usually happen overnight. But it IS possible and, if you really do want to enjoy a happier, more contented way of looking at the world, there’s no better time to begin than now.
Here are a few practices that can help move us towards a more positive mindset – or, at least, get us to a place where we’re not knocked off track by other people’s negativity.
1 – Give yourself social media holidays.
Facebook’s an awesome tool and plenty of good comes out of it every day… but it’s also a breeding ground for drama, negativity and petty arguments.
If you can’t resist being a keyboard warrior, it’s time to take a break.
If you find yourself sinking into online drama, it’s time to take a break.
If you find yourself struggling to just scroll on past something you disagree with, it’s time to take a break!
Scheduling in regular social media vacations is good for the soul. Try turning your mobile off after a certain time at night, leaving it at home when you go out to socialise, or switching it off at weekends.
2 – Get into nature
Get outdoors regularly. Go for walks in woodlands, find a nature reserve or just get out to your local park. There might not be Wi-Fi, but you’ll begin to awaken an entirely different kind of connection.
Comment from Rachael – Getting outdoors is also mentioned in 2 of my blogs “5 ways for a virtual assistant (or any company) to Network”
And Working from home: “10 ways to stop feeling isolated and stay motivated“
3 – Develop an attitude of gratitude
Practice ‘The Appreciator’ exercise. Every morning when you wake, think of five different things you appreciate. They don’t need to be huge.
If you struggle, start off with the small things – ie: I appreciate the smell of coffee, I appreciate the sun rising every day, I appreciate my ability to walk/breathe/swim/cook an awesome lasagne, I appreciate my bed, I appreciate never being far away from water on tap.
Try to list different things you appreciate every day. Choose to develop it into a habit. It’s one of the most simple daily tasks and, over time, it really can start to retrain your mind to a more positive state.
4 – Meditate
Seriously… meditation is great for your mind, body and spirit. And it doesn’t mean having to burn incense, wear a kaftan, sit cross legged or chant ‘om’!
Just dedicate a few minutes a day to sitting quietly, breathing deeply and zoning out of the daily hubbub. There are a gazillion and one meditations you can download online if you prefer something guided or with more structure.
There’s no real right or wrong here… simply adopting a daily routine of taking time out to switch off and recharge can work wonders.
5 – Exercise
It’s one of the oldest feel-good methods in the world, and for good reason! Even if it’s a walk around the block. Sometimes, the best way to move out of a negative state is to literally MOVE yourself out of it.
Take a walk. Dance it out. Take a spin class. Whatever feels right for you. As well as the notion of ‘change body, change state’, it’ll help build your fitness and, of course, exercise releases feel-good endorphins too.
Comment from Rachael – Why not try combining getting outdoors and exercise by either getting a dog, or doing some gardening?
6 – Take the first hour for yourself
Get out of the habit of checking your emails first thing.
Take the first part of the day for yourself – and if you can’t manage an hour, give yourself half an hour. Hey, even ten minutes is better than nothing!
After you’ve completed The Appreciator exercise, try doing some breathing exercises, maybe journaling your thoughts, reading something positive or listening to something motivational to set you up for the day.
Realise the benefit of investing in yourself. Remember that old rule about putting your own oxygen mask on first? This is just the same.
7 – Set your mood before you sleep
This is another one of those practices that takes a while to remember to do regularly. Every night, make sure the last thought you have before you sleep is a positive one.
It stands to reason that the last thought we have before entering the land of nod will be – or impact – the first thought we have upon waking; think of the damage we’re doing to our mindset for the next day by inwardly groaning about not having enough hours to sleep before we close our eyes, or dreading an appointment, task or meeting.
I usually speak a little mantra out loud –that the hours of sleep I’m about to have will be the perfect amount my body needs to rest and recharge so I’ll wake up tomorrow feeling fresh, full of energy and ready to have an awesome day.
I started doing this after readingThe Miracle Morning and, though this is a much simplified version of the methods mentioned in the book, it’s had a dramatic effect on my morning moods.
I’ve stopped craving that extra time in bed, stopped begrudging mornings and even started to wake up before the alarm!
From naysayer to yea-sayer
There are lots of ways to create a happier life – or to just be happier with the life you already have – and there are many other hacks and tips to stop negative thoughts taking up residence in your head for quite so long. With this list, I’ve tried to pick some of the easiest tools to start with… and you never know… if you use them regularly, they just might be enough!
Let me know how you get on and remember, no day is ever too busy to go without a smile.
Taz Thornton is the UK’s #1 Inspirational Breakthrough Speaker, best selling author, extreme empowerment specialist and coach. She also created and founded the #UnleashYourAwesome personal empowerment and business confidence seminars.
Taz works with business people on a 1-2-1 basis, coaching on confidence, direction and smashing that glass ceiling, with teams who need better communication, understanding and cohesion, and on a consultancy basis for businesses needing to hone their message, be more visible, improve their brand and instil passion and belief in their workforce.
Find her on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/TazThorntonOfficial), as well as Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.