Every interaction, conversation, process, and personal thought that happens over the course of the day-both good and bad-plays out in your head as much as it plays out in reality. ~ Rhett Power
If you have ever found yourself spiralling into a vortex of negative thinking, (and who hasn’t had the experience?), you know it can be a difficult place to climb out of.
Unhealthy thinking such as destructive self-criticism, excessive reflection on past or recent events, or worrying about the future can be a strong influence on anxiety and stress. Stressful thoughts can result in an anxiety driven reality in life.
So, how can you move away from the tyranny of your ‘thought blindness’ and become more conscious of what you think and more able to shift from negativity?
Try this ->
Pay attention to your thoughts for 24 hours. Chances are you will be shocked to find how much negativity and self-critical thinking is ingrained in the inner world of your everyday life.
- Listen to your thoughts:
What are you saying internally when you are driving your car? Being with co-workers? Interacting with friends? Relaxing with loved ones? When you are upset at someone or something?
Does your train of thought include hostility toward a situation or person?
- Identify overthinking:
Does your desire to control all outcomes in your life cause you to worry about possible outcomes of an experience? Does your fear of being wrong or making a mistake keep you stuck and unable to move forward? Over-focus on outcomes can create intense mental and emotional stress that drains your energy.
- Observe your ‘all or nothing’ perceptions:
Do you notice such words as ‘never, always‘ in your thoughts? An ‘all-or-nothing’ approach will prevent you from seeing the ‘sometimes or maybe’s’ of life experiences.
- Identify Self-Criticism:
When and how often are you self-critical for errors or wrong choices? Are you hearing that you are ‘too fat, too ugly, too stupid, not good enough?’ in your thoughts?
- How do you perceive others’ actions:
Do you take a cynical approach to a stranger’s behaviour or believe there is an ulterior motive in a friend’s actions? Or are you open to uncomfortable situations and see them from a more trusting view that doesn’t have to be against you?
- Be aware of how you speak:
What tone and words do you use when you are angry or disappointed with someone or when you feel you are being judged? Are you self-critical? Blaming of others (a sign you are trying to deflect responsibility)? Do you have the ability to cut yourself or others some slack?
Unhealthy ways of thinking can distort our loving connections to others. When we listen to our thoughts and beliefs that we make up, we can cause harm to our relationships.
Tips to Help Change Your Thinking:
After you know where you get stuck in unproductive thinking, the next step is to find ways to embed new patterns of thought:
- Use Your Breath: – Your breath is a direct reflection of your thoughts. If you are in a panicked state, your breath is shallow and rapid. Use your breath to shift your thoughts:
- Use the conscious connected breathing pattern of Breathwork to support the release of cellular negativity
- Here is another breathing exercise to try: – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67SeR3LxtdI
- Practice Self-Forgiveness – let go of powerless thinking and lovingly commit to changing behaviours
- Take action – interrupt the pattern by changing your focus and do something different
- Give yourself a ‘negativity’ time-out – allow yourself to entertain unproductive thoughts for a limited time
- Consider that there is a better side of negative thoughts – find the good instead
- Reduce the stress from overwhelming thoughts with yoga, meditation, or spending time in nature
- Realise your thoughts are transient. Intend to bypass the thoughts and access the loving center and essence of who you truly are.
Consciously changing your thinking patterns on a moment-to-moment basis will eventually shift the neural pathways in your brain and ultimately create more grounded, healthier and more hopeful patterns of thought.
Understand the global impact of your individual efforts at inner peace.