First of all, it’s normal to have negative thoughts and emotions. It means that you are human. In fact, negative thoughts and emotions do serve a purpose. I mean, it would be really weird to greet devastating news with a smile and joy. So what’s the big deal then?
It becomes a big deal when we get attached to negative thoughts and emotions and we wear them like a cozy robe and fuzzy slippers. Literally! It becomes a big deal when we feed our negative thoughts with comfort food and a yummy bottle of wine. Before long we go shopping…online, in our robes, eating our comfort food, binge watching Mad Men! Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes that is the best way to spend a cold winter day, but not at the effect of our thoughts and emotions. Ten pounds later…well, you know. Read on for what to do…
Thoughts Trigger Emotions, Emotions Fuel Behavior, and Behavior Drives Results
- Question your thoughts! Be very curious about your thoughts without judging. Just because you believe something is true, even if you’ve believed it for a long period of time, that doesn’t mean that it is actually true or that it has to be true for the future. You don’t have to believe your negative thoughts! Your mind would like you to believe that all of your thoughts are correct. You have learned everything that you know to be true through your life experiences, and those experiences have been shaped and guided by other, often well-meaning, people. But here’s the thing: When you believe something is true, you tend to look for things that support those truths and ignore what does not. Beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies. So if those beliefs are helpful, then YAY! But if you want to experience something different, you have to prove to yourself that something different is possible.
- Replace your thoughts! There’s nothing wrong with choosing to have a positive thought. Just know that the negative thought didn’t matter in the first place. It probably wasn’t true and it doesn’t “mean” anything about you. When you jump on “negative” thoughts and reject them in a knee-jerk way, you’re saying to yourself, “I’m not good enough. If I were good enough, I wouldn’t have had that thought in the first place.” This is as negative as the initial thought. People think that “thinking positively” is the way to healing, but the quickest way is to first accept that the only reason you feel bad in the first place is because you’re listening to the rubbish your mind is telling you. It’s time to try some new thoughts on for size.
- New truth! I love positive affirmation but you have to ease into it. The last thing that you want to do is tell your brain more lies. Your mind will reject the information and then you will be back where you started. Start with the original thought and build bridge thoughts. Over time, you will have transformed your thoughts and emotions. For example; if you have a few pounds to lose, it does no good to look in the mirror and say, “I am never going to have the body of my dreams.” It also does no good to say, “I have the body of my dreams”. There is too much of a gap between those two thoughts and your brain will reject the new thought. Your thought bridge might start with, “I am working on the body of my dreams.” Building a thought bridge will take time and practice but you will be amazed at how quickly you will replace old thought habits with new thought habits that better serve your purpose.