Hello. My name is Kassy and I am a recovering negative thinker.
Doubts, fears, put downs, assumptions of failure. You name the negative thought and I am pretty sure I thought it at least once in my lifetime. It would be more than safe to say I have been known to be a glass half empty kind of girl.
But you know what I have realized? These negative thoughts get in the way of every big goal I have for myself. Holding me back from finding the love of my life, from pursuing a career I am truly passionate about, from having really rewarding friendships with others, from taking chances in life and enjoying the moment and so much more.
Ultimately, your thoughts are perhaps the most important part of any new goal you set for yourself and if they are primarily in the negative category how do you think your goals are going to play out?
Yea, they will probably get added to the never ending "goals unfinished" list you already have.
But what if you tried something different? What if you could work on quieting those negative thoughts and freeing up the space in your brain?
Even better, what if you could replace them with positive thoughts? What a concept right?!
Here is my step-by-step plan for stopping negative thinking (I encourage you to give it a try!):
Make a choice.
It might sound obvious, but you don't realize how often we are half in and half out with our goals. We say we want something, but we still doubt it will happen or HOW it will happen.
Listen, you can't figure out how to make something happen if you don't first decide you are all in. So make a choice about what you want for your year.
Do you choose happiness? Success? Love? Trust? Faith?
Whatever it is you need to clear on this choice because when negative thoughts creep back in you will need to start back at this point.
Get up close and personal with your negative thoughts.
That's right, we are often so quick to jump to the positive thinking and an insist we are magically not going to think bad any more. I hate to break it to you, but your mind doesn't work that way.
Resisting your negative thoughts is just going to make them that much stronger. You don't want to feed that bear. So instead you actually have to acknowledge those negative thoughts.
Make a list of all the fears, doubts, negative thoughts you have about yourself in your head. I want you to get beyond honest with yourself here, maybe even writing down some things that are pretty mean.
You've got to get them out of your brain in order to make space for other more positive thoughts to come in.
Kindly tell your negative thoughts you don't need them.
So you've wrote down all those mean and negative thoughts and now you can nicely let them know they are not needed. Acknowledge your fears for trying to protect you, but also let yourself know that you choose to not need those protective negative thoughts today.
You are going to try something different. These steps might have to be repeated over and over again as situations pop up that test your positivity skills.
Create your “bring me back to happy” routine.
Listen, you might have told those thoughts they are not needed, but they are going to try and slither their way back into your head at some point.
It's at this point that you need to have a plan of action for sending them away. So you need to figure out what makes you do a happy dance so you can focus on positive energy.
Maybe that is listening to upbeat music, writing in a journal, reading a certain book or spending time with your pets.
Keep yourself distracted.
So often our negative thoughts take over when we are doing nothing but focusing on them. Find a way to keep yourself busy and distracted with positive things.
Schedule times with friends, pick up a new hobby, join a meetup group, start going to a gym. Do things that will help you from letting your mind run like crazy.
Don't put so much pressure on yourself.
Getting rid of negative thoughts doesn't have to be an all or nothing process. You aren't suddenly going to wake up and be beaming with positivity from every pore of your body.
Find the grey area to be more positive. Instead of focusing on how horrible a date might be your could think to yourself how it will perhaps be fun and at least not awkward.
This isn't you trying to convince yourself it is going to be the be the most amazing date ever, but at least it will be a fun experience.
Ease yourself into positivity and remember that you don't have to go to the extreme. Being positive doesn't mean you see everything as perfect all of the time. It's about rolling with things as they happen and seeing good in even the not so good things.
Interrupt the spiral.
Negative thoughts love to spiral quickly. One second you are thinking about how you might stick to your goal of getting to the gym today and the next second you are imagining yourself at 400 pounds, alone, unable to work and completely miserable.
Don't let it get to that place.
Notice if your mind starts to go to extremes and just stop it in its tracks. An important part of this is not thinking into the future too much. Just focus on what is happening in the immediate future instead.
Remove negative energy from your life.
So this is a BIG IMPORTANT STEP and not always the easiest.
Why is it not always easy? Because it often involves cutting some people you care about out of your life, at least temporarily. You see, if you are surrounded by negative people their vibes are going to draw you right down that rabbit hole.
They are going to commiserate with your negative thoughts, validate them and suck the positive energy right out of you. When in negative thoughts recovery, you must stay away from the thing that got you there in the first place.
Remove the negative people and reminders (think pictures in your room for instance) from your life.
Fill your life with passion.
Seriously, make sure you are filling your spare time with things you enjoy. I realize you might not love your career and can't always change your job, but if you can then great.
If not then make sure to make time for hobbies that bring you joy. Maybe it is going to the gym, or walking your dog, or getting your nails done, or visiting a friend.
Whatever it is, you need to make it a priority. Put it as an appointment in your planner and don't cancel on yourself just like you wouldn't cancel on a doctor.
Take care of your needs.
So often I come across people who are drained, pessimistic, and lacking in hope because they are not taking care of themselves. They are not putting their need first.
Heck, they often don't even know what their needs are. Figure out what recharges you and what drains you. What in your life is not in alignment with your happiness.
Where you need to make improvements. Then go and get those needs met. Whether it is in your relationships, your well-being, your confidence, your career.
If you aren't taking care of yourself you can't maintain a positive aura around you.