Mindful Living #AtoZChallenge Personal development

The Negative Thought Diet #AtoZChallenge #SelfHelp

The negative thought diet. Change your thoughts change your life

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

The negative thought diet. Change your thoughts change your life

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.

  1. For seven days, you must be conscious about not allowing yourself to dwell on any negative thought.
  2. When you feel one coming, let it go. Steer it out.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.  

12 Comments

  • Reply
    Lael
    April 16, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    This is a lovely way to look at the problem. A good way to take back our minds!
    One thing I find helpful is to remember that our brains have a built in negative bias. It’s not because we’re weak or bad, it’s just biology. And that our brains are also elastic and we can change them too! I just love the positivity in that.
    Thanks for the helpful tips. I’m putting my thoughts on a diet right away!
    Lael recently posted…N is for * Neighbourhood Nonsense. A-Z Challenge.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 16, 2019 at 10:15 pm

      Hehehe. You know, Lael, my grandmother always told me, when I was little, that there’s an angel sitting near my right ear, listening to my thoughts. So I should always try to think good thoughts. I believed it at the time and I am glad I did. But you are right — we are biologically geared to think negative! Thank you for your comment!

  • Reply
    Rachna Parmar
    April 16, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    This is so unique, Vidya. I had never heard of it till now. I think it will be very difficult to do. Not a single negative thought in a day. I would love to take it up sometime.
    Rachna Parmar recently posted…Easy Homemade Nachos Recipe (Step-by-step Recipe)

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 16, 2019 at 10:16 pm

      Yes, it is tough, Rachna. Here’s an easy way to start it: no negative thoughts for one hour each day. Then build it up. 🙂 to make it a habit!

  • Reply
    Shilpa Garg
    April 16, 2019 at 10:17 pm

    Negative thought diet!! What an amazing concept.Letting go of negative thoughts can do wonders to our mental well-being. I am trying it from now on. It makes so much sense. Thanks for the reminder, Vidya!
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…5 Easy No-Cook, No-Fuss Recipes #AtoZChallenge

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 16, 2019 at 10:22 pm

      Thank you Shilpa! With your discipline, I cannot think of anyone who’ll succeed faster than you! <3

  • Reply
    Anita
    April 16, 2019 at 11:40 pm

    This is a great diet! Totally agree with you.
    I remind myself to be positive. It’s our life and we should be in charge!
    Anita recently posted…Netherlands And Odisha – Shared Heritages

  • Reply
    Kalpana Solsi
    April 16, 2019 at 11:44 pm

    Whenever I close the door of my negative thoughts, they enter through the window. But I am now consciously attempting to close even the smallest groove that permeates negative/ bad/ unwanted thoughts. I have partially succeeded and am still in work-in-progress mode. My teen help me a lot in this endeavour. Thanks Vidya for sharing this.

    https://ideasolsi65.blogspot.com/2019/04/nails-parts-of-body_15.html
    Kalpana Solsi recently posted…Nails : Parts of the body

  • Reply
    Claire Noland
    April 17, 2019 at 3:35 am

    Such great suggestions! I find thinking of blessings and being grateful is the best way to turn thought positive.

  • Reply
    Kaddu
    April 17, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    “Letting go of negative thoughts is rather like losing an addiction—unless you stop completely, you have not quit.”
    That is sooooo true. I am stuck on a loop. Keep going back to Day 1 #facepalm.
    But that’s okay. I will get there. Just need to be more mindful, that’s all.
    Complacency is the culprit, as you said.
    Kaddu recently posted…10 Personal Skills Of Narendra Modi That Truly Inspire Me #TenOnTuesday #AtoZChallenge

  • Reply
    Suhasini
    April 19, 2019 at 9:56 am

    This is really an unique and amazing concept. I wish everybody follows this concept. My mom used to tell that there are angels flying up in the sky especially during early morning and early evenings and they sat Amen to all thoughts. So we are supposed to have onlty positive thoughts during that time and enjoy the nature.

  • Reply
    Ronel Janse van Vuuren
    May 1, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    Love the Emerson quote!

    Ronel visiting with the A-Z Challenge music and writing:More Great Music and Lyrics

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