There are so many things we can do to make our lives amazing. Yet, we are only human and don’t always have control over our thoughts, do we? Especially negative thoughts. These are triggered mostly in response to something someone said or a situation we just don’t want to deal with. When the door opens to let these negative thoughts in, your mood can spiral downwards and stay there faster than you can say “what!!”
How do you stop that spiral? You really don’t have to live with it, because I know through experience that life can be wonderful when you focus on positive solutions rather than groan under the constraints of those negative thoughts. They really drag you down if you let them, you know.
Emmett Fox, author of The Seven Day Mental Diet suggests that we use the concept of “diet” for our mental well-being. Just as we create a healthy diet for our body, we create one for our mental well-being too! And I think you will agree that our spiritual, emotional and intellectual health impacts our entire life.
Your own mind is a sacred enclosure into which nothing harmful can enter except by your permission. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
And just to make the seven-day mental diet fit into the A to Z Challenge alphabet, I am calling it the Negative Thought Diet.
How to practice the negative thought diet
Just to be clear, a negative thought is any thought of failure, disappointment, or trouble; any thought of criticism, or spite, or jealousy, or condemnation of others, or self-condemnation; any thought of sickness or accident; or, in short, any kind of limitation or pessimistic thinking. Any thought that is not positive and constructive in character, whether it concerns you yourself or anyone else, is a negative thought.
As with any diet, there are rules, but these are very simple.
- For seven days, you must be conscious about not allowing yourself to dwell on any negative thought.
- When you feel one coming, let it go. Steer it out.
- Should you be unsuccessful and allow the negative thought in, stop the diet immediately. Give yourself five minutes to recognize what’s going on and put a stop to it. If you linger on the negative thought for more than five minutes even once, start from day 1 again.
- To complete the negative diet diet successfully, you must do the full seven days-consecutive days with no gaps in between.
Letting go of negative thoughts is rather like losing an addiction—unless you stop completely, you have not quit.
Focus on solutions the moment a negative thought comes in. Try to solve your problems rather than focusing on them or whining about them.
If you’ve had the same challenges for some time now without finding a solution, maybe it is time for you to switch to something else instead of post-mortem-ing what’s wrong.
Sure, we are all convinced that worrying helps—but unfortunately it becomes a habit and keeps you stagnant at the same place. Sometimes it even becomes a quicksand that drags you in.
The moment a negative thought comes in—and believe me, there will be many—immediately ask yourself: How can I solve or improve this problem? The wonderful thing about life is that when you ask good questions, the answers are also usually good.
As you go on the negative thought diet, it will become a habit to recognize that negative thought when it enters and start thinking of solutions for those thoughts. At the end of seven days, if you’ve been successful, you’ve probably built the habit of finding solutions. And it will need just a little maintenance to stick to the habit.
It’s perfectly okay if you find yourself going back to day 1 several times. It really is not easy to build the habit, but once you do, the rewards are tremendous. When I tried this, my day One did not go well for me at all! As it is, the pressure of letting that negative thought go was tough enough.😊 And then, just when I became complacent on day Five, back I went to day One. The important thing is not to beat yourself up. Don’t be competitive about this. Remember that you are focusing on solutions—and that’s your main goal.
Now let me share some tips on how to focus away from a negative thought when it tries to stroll into your mind.
Ask yourself positive questions. For example:
- What’s great about today?
- What appeals to me most about today?
- What am I happy about?
- What am I looking forward to?
- What am I grateful for?
When you fill your mind with positive thoughts, you leave little room for the negative stuff. We are capable of thinking consciously about only one thing at a time—so make the most of it.
So, please do try this seven-day negative thought diet. I’d love to know how you benefited. It changed my life. Of course, I also had my Mom constantly nagging me lovingly to think positive and focus on solutions, not problems. Today, even if I try, I cannot dwell on a problem. My mind automatically looks for ways to solve it, find solutions.
Please try the negative thought diet.
Change your thoughts, change your life.