Ever wondered how some people always seem to be positive, no matter what? Even when you expect them to sulk and react and rant?
Happy people have a strategy for staying that way. It is called positive thinking and it is powerful.
Also, much easier said than done.
The thing with life is, some days are good and it is easy to stay motivated, stay positive. Other days, not so much, when nothing seems to go right.
So how do we incorporate the practice of positive thinking into our routine when life’s pretty unpredictable most of the time?
How to stamp out negative thoughts?
There’s a fantastic technique for this and it is called reframing your thoughts. Simply put, you pick out those negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.
It is not unusual to nurture negative thoughts and imagine the worst—and find excuses not to do what we want to do.
However, the truth is, most of these pessimistic thoughts play out only in our heads, not in real life. Unfortunately, they do cause a headache, a dull pain.
Of course, you can reframe just about any thought, but let’s focus on those negative ones, the most common being limiting beliefs and FOMO – and maybe even chronic procrastination.
How to stamp out negative thoughts
The first step in erasing those negative thoughts is to understand this: your thoughts influence your actions—but the same thoughts are also influenced by your own response to them. Basically, it is how you perceive something and act in response. So, when you think something terrible has happened to you, it is only because YOU see it as terrible.
Not undermining any feelings here because I’d be the first to acknowledge that you have every right to react the way you want – but remember everything has a good side to it.
The second step is to be aware that each thought comes with its own hidden frame—this frame is composed of your beliefs and your assumptions that your thoughts imply.
Third, every negative thought has a positive intention.
We all have that inner voice that’s constantly holds us back with all kinds of excuses—and even if it isn’t always helpful, the intentions are good.
So, be kind to yourself and identify the positive in those negative thoughts to reframe the situation.
Putting these steps into action
Rephrase your thoughts
Use milder words to describe your thoughts. Rather than “I hate this” maybe “This doesn’t appeal to me”. Which of these expressions make you feel worse?
Focus on the solution
When faced with a challenge you are not sure of accomplishing, why not focus on the solution rather than the problem? How about looking at the best ways to do it? It is a positive way to see the problem surrounded by solutions.
Here’s the thing: when you let fear take over, and act in fear, that fear will overpower you.
What if you didn’t let fear push you into fearful actions?
What if you chose courage?
When you do this, you’ll find that your fear transforms into excitement, which is a completely different context.
See, fear and excitement feel pretty much the same. Our reaction to both these emotions is similar: faster heartbeat, faster breathing and a greater physical awareness.
However, there’s a huge difference in the mental state that comes with fear and that which comes with excitement and this frame of mind is influenced by your experiences.
Let’s say you fear rejection and withdraw into your own thoughts. When you do this, you reinforce what you fear through self-rejection. Right?
But what if you decide to approach what you have to do with confidence, with courage—and give that fear a new context?
When you confront your fear by acting with courage, it seems less like fear and more like excitement.
A quiet shift in perspective is what it takes. Also, affirmations help.
What can you learn from this experience?
Think about what you can learn from this experience. Every challenge comes with its own learning points, so focus on that.
What is the hidden frame about?
Understand the hidden frame behind your thought. Maybe you have a limiting belief that has you tuned to negative thinking, based on your assumptions—which may be true or unjustified. Think about why they may be unjustified and consider getting rid of those limiting beliefs.
Reframing is a great method to stamp out those negative thoughts that hold you back in fear.
As I said earlier, what you focus on influences your thoughts and emotions. So, the more you focus on what’s important, the less those thoughts of fear and worry will come in the way of you thinking positively.
And as you practice this, you’ll feel more confident to face your negative thoughts with courage.
So, the next time a negative thought appears, pause.
Think about what that thought is telling you.
When you find the source of your negative thoughts, you will discover that they lose their power over you.
If you try to suppress them, you won’t understand them and their hold over you will seem stronger.
While positive reframing will not change the situation itself, it will certainly give you a different perspective—and often make the difference in how you approach it and take you closer to your desired outcome.
Reframing helps you get rid of your limiting beliefs, and look on the brighter side of life. Also, who wants to be called a Negative Nancy?
Can you practice reframing your thoughts?
Can you stamp out those negative thoughts?
Can you give your inner critic a rest?
Tell me what you think in the comments!
Wednesday Wisdom is a series with short bursts of easy-to-consume wisdom in the form of stories, quotes, anecdotes, and humor