““With the right mindset we can’t lose. We either practice what we’ve learned, or we learn what we need to practice.” -Nuora
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When I organized events for my previous employer, I loved seeing the positive comments flow in from participants about how much they enjoyed the events.
However, even if I received 500 positive comments, I would fixate on that one negative email or review. It would eat at me, wake me up in the middle of the night, or be the first thing I thought about when I woke up in the morning.
How often do you do this? Fixate on the negative?
Depending on which research article you read, adults have anywhere between 12,000-65,000 thoughts a day (give or take). Would you believe it if I told you that 80% of those thoughts are negative?
- I’m not smart enough
- I’m out of shape
- I’m not qualified
- I should be doing more
- I should [FILL IN THE BLANK]
Your mindset is a collection of your thoughts and beliefs that shape your thought habits.
Mindsets are formed by your experiences, education, and culture from which you shape thoughts which establish beliefs and attitudes.
Changing your mindset takes work because formed habits aren’t easy to break. If they were, no one would ever need therapy, coaching, read self-help books or have any struggles with going from being pissed off to being happy –maybe we would never get pissed off in the first place.
Most people don’t wake up thinking, I want my mind to be consumed with negative thoughts today. But when life decides to throw you a curve ball or two – it happens.
So how do you do it? How do you shift your negative thoughts to become more positive?
How to shift your negative thoughts…
- Open your eyes: The first step is identifying and understanding how you are currently thinking. It’s hard to improve upon or change something you can’t define.
- Do you see the glass half empty or half full?
- Do you see things in black and white or is there some grey in there?
- How do you start your morning, with gratitude or fixating on the thousands of things on your to-do list?
- See it: Capture those thoughts! Take them from your brain and put them down on paper. I’m not talking about journaling here, just list them out. Seeing your negative thoughts written out helps increase your awareness about your thinking.
- Own it: Don’t play victim, take responsibility here. This is your own emotional response to whatever has transpired. It’s no one else’s fault that you might be sensitive to particular behaviors or how you interpret a situation. No one else is putting these thoughts in your head. Of course, your experiences in life create thoughts, but YOU get to choose if you keep those negative thoughts swirling around in your noggin.
- Practice coping with criticism: Someone who criticizes you could either be doing it because they are an ass, OR it could be constructive feedback not intended to cause you pain. TRY to see if there is validity to anything they are saying. Is there a lesson you “could” learn? Perhaps it’s just a difference of opinion which is ok –remember, not everyone loves the same kind of ice cream. Then again, there are always mean assholes that just criticize to criticize. Never, ever, ever will everyone agree with you or like you. Once you accept that, this tip will be easier to work on. But it still can be hard and take a bit of practice. Try role playing with a friend!
- NLP: Neuro-Linguistic Programing is a set of language and sensory based interventions and behavior modification techniques intended to help improve someone’s self-awareness, communication, perception and thought patterns. Dissociation is one technique in NLP that teaches you to not stop the negative thought all together, but reduce the intensity and feelings associated with the negative, thought so it loses power. (Visit my website to learn more about my free webinar where I walk you through an NLP activity).
These tips are some of the different ways of cognitive restructuring, which help you identify and change negative thoughts into more positive responses.
Whether done in therapy, coaching, or on your own, restructuring your thoughts takes effort and only you have the power to change them.
These suggestions and tips are just the beginning of a mindset shift journey.
The biggest take away here is it takes work. With anything in life, you can’t expect that you can change your thought patterns overnight, in a week or even a month. You have to be willing to put in the work and consistency to see lasting change.
I can tell you from personal experience, I’ve done it! I have shifted my mindset from being a Negative Nelly to a more Optimistic Ophelia! Not that I don’t still have negative thoughts, that is a part of life, but I do the work to not let them control me.
Remember, You Got This!
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