Why positive thinking is not enough and how to overcome your negative thoughts
There is so much stress around us at all times. And it’s up to us how we’ll deal with it. Sometimes is easy but sometimes it’s more difficult. We’ve all heard it before, “Think positive!” But for many of us, positive thinking isn’t enough to overcome our negative thoughts and feelings. And maybe before you keep reading further, I’d suggest for you to loop back to my 3-part series about the impact of your thoughts to your emotions and your feelings. And then, come back to this article.
You may know how passionate I am about helping others. That’s why I’m here to help you train your brain to switch from negative to positive thoughts. That will help you in your personal or professional leadership. Because everyone is a leader – in your personal life, you’re constantly making decisions and those impact you and others around you as well. And yes, I have no doubt you understand the leadership from your professional life.
So if you’re ready to take control of your mental health and gain the skills you need to become a more confident leader in your own life, let’s get started!
Focusing on positive thinking
Positive thinking is a valuable tool to have in life. It can be a powerful force that shapes our experience in every moment and helps us cope with adversity in a very healthy way. To master the art of turning negative thoughts into positive ones, it takes practice and dedication. However, with patience and self-discipline, this can be achieved. Some people (let’s be honest) are simply programmed that way more than others. Some just trained themselves to make the conscious choice to make the best out of their life. Also, don’t forget that every single situation we experience, is NOT the same experience for everyone involved. So you can theoretically argue, who can see it in the “right” way. And it all depends on your mental and physical state and your model of reality. But that’s a whole other conversation.
Where do you even start?
The first step to changing your mindset from negative to positive is identifying areas for improvement and change within your life. Do you tend to think negatively about work? Is there stress associated with daily commuting? Are you feeling overwhelmed by sudden changes? Are there any relationships that seem very difficult to handle? All of these points can help you identify the situations which lead to negative thought patterns so that they may be addressed with more significantly positive approaches in the future.
By focusing on solving just one thing at a time, great progress towards breaking bad habits and replacing them with better ones can be made over time. Once this is accomplished, optimism will become natural instead of forced! You can’t forget that small and sustainable steps lead to great results! That, on its own, is a great tip because there is nothing worse than setting an unachievable goal! That’d put you back into your negative thought loop. So small steps that you can manage and achieve so you can feed yourself with success and positive outcomes.
There are numerous strategies that people can employ to reduce the impact their negative thought patterns may have on their day-to-day life. These include learning relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation which can helps regulate stress levels; cognitive restructuring which involves challenging unhelpful beliefs through questioning them; practicing self-care activities such as reading or going for a run; reaching out or talking to people you trust; writing down your feelings through journaling; practicing mindfulness to focus on yourself instead of worrying about a situation; and most importantly make time for yourself every day
But the very first step is identifying and understanding how you currently think and the problems that result is an important first step in changing negative thoughts for the better. Additionally, it is essential to remember that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are interconnected so it will all have an influence over one another. (Again, if you didn’t do that, please go back to my 3-part series on this topic!). Seeking professional help like a coach or therapist may be beneficial while also engaging in self-help techniques such as reframing or meditation. I teach my clients many tools and techniques because everyone is different and different tools work for different individuals.
As you may understand, nothing is going to change your thinking overnight. It’s a process and you have to do the work! You have to learn how to re-program your brain! But if you do, it pays off big time!
So where can you start?
Mindfulness is a free and very valuable tool that can be used to help combat negative thought patterns. It has its roots in meditation and is the practice of detaching yourself from your thoughts and emotions, viewing them as an outside observer. Mindfulness seeks to change your relationship with your thoughts, helping you become aware of their presence without being consumed by them. Through mindfulness practice, you can observe the objects floating past without getting stuck on dwelling on them or trying to push them away. I always say – imagine you’re laying on the beach and watching the clouds on the sky. They come and go… you aren’t judging them, you’re just observing them… And you do the same with your thoughts.
In this way, mindfulness cultivates greater self-awareness and helps to reduce rumination on negative thoughts. When we notice ourselves drifting off into a repetitive loop of negative self-talk, mindfulness helps us recognize it for what it is — a thought pattern rather than reality — break out of it, and choose to focus our attention on something else more constructive or positive in the present moment. With regular practice, you will be able to better address challenging situations objectively instead of getting caught up in irrational cycles of rumination.
If you can name it, you can tame it!
Negative thinking can be a major roadblock in life, and it’s important to develop strategies for identify it and make changes. Easily recognizable forms of negative thoughts include the “black-and-white” thinking pattern, where one views outcomes as total successes or total failures. This limits people from seeing things in shades of grey and fueling an overall attitude of pessimism. Another form of negative thinking is assuming the worst will happen without considering other likely outcomes. Without an open mind to alternative explanations and possibilities, things may seem worse than they are and discourage people from taking necessary actions in life.
It’s essential to note that negative thinking isn’t always easy to spot, especially if it’s deep-rooted. Through reflection, observation and with some outside help, individuals can learn how to recognize their own cognitive distortions so they can take control over emerging emotions as well as other reactions that come up in difficult situations. Such skills enable us become more self aware while getting out of the “clutter” that occludes our otherwise clear thought process and perspective on any matter at hand.
Please don’t forget that all emotions are important!
All emotions are important and should be embraced, rather than suppressed. It can be easy to get into the habit of avoiding certain feelings – for example anger, sadness, and frustration. While it’s natural for us to want to see the brighter side of situations and focus on the positive, consistently ignoring these turbulent emotions can actually become dangerous over time. Everyone experiences emotional turmoil at some point in their life—it is a normal part of being human.
Sometimes taking a step back from our emotional reactions allows us to analyze why a situation made us feel the way we did in the first place. We can also use these trials as an opportunity to grow, learning lessons that allow us to become better versions of ourselves. As difficult as it might seem at times, pushing through these moments that bring out such intense emotions is often worth it—we find greater strength and beauty after having weathered the storm. Don’t be afraid to experience your full range of feelings, even if sometimes they don’t fit into conventional norms or positivity-driven agendas. Not only does this help make you more self-aware and resilient but it will also keep you in touch with your own humanity.
Building resiliency is an important personal and professional skill to have in today’s ever-changing and often challenging world. It enables us to cope with unexpected setbacks and losses, solve problems more effectively, and find creative solutions to difficult situations. There are several ways we can build our own resilience:
Maintaining good relationships with family and friends is one key way of building resiliency. Social support from the people in our lives helps us feel supported, valued, and connected. Others can offer advice or help on how to address certain issues that may arise, allowing us to be less overwhelmed by them. They also provide a source of optimism which can help maintain our mental wellbeing during tough times.
It is also paramount to accept change as part of life. Resilience requires the ability to adapt quickly to new circumstances; this means learning new skills and being open-minded about potential opportunities!
Lastly, it is beneficial to take action on any problems rather than waiting for them to pass or resolve themselves as this primarily manifests into a sense of agency over our own paths in life! Taking proactive steps towards problem-solving boosts self-confidence and enables us to become even more resilient in the future.
It’s never too late to make a change. So stop the negative self talk and limit the number of negative emotions as a result of it. Discover your negative thinking patterns and improve your overall quality of life by booking your free coaching session right now.