Contrary to traditional belief, life isn’t merely a random sequence of events that involuntarily happens to us. Our thoughts, words, and actions largely create what happens to us. We have the incredible power to help mold our lives based off of our thought processes. Once you learn to master your mind, you can begin to master your life.
However, many people struggle with how to do this in the long-term. They might practice it for a while, then lose their luster and go back to old doubtful, negative thinking patterns. If you want to stop harmful, negative thoughts in their tracks and learn how to cultivate a positive mind, try out the following tips in your own life.
5 habits that stop negative thinking
1. Focus on one positive affirmation and say it repeatedly.
The mind can have trouble juggling ten different positive affirmations in one day, so try to give your mind a break and tell it one positive affirmation throughout the day. It can be something simple, such as “I love myself.” Any time you feel something negative come up, release it and replace the bad energy with that positive affirmation.
Try to do this throughout the day, when your mind tends to wander to bad memories or degrading thoughts about yourself. It takes practice, but incorporate this method every day for a month, and you will see a drastic difference in your thinking patterns.
2. Keep yourself busy with things that will enhance your life.
If you have too much idle time, your mind might wander simply because you have nothing to keep it busy. The mind needs to engage in tasks or activities in order to retain sharpness and vibrancy. You can work out, hang out with positive, uplifting people, volunteer at your local animal shelter or community garden, go to yoga classes, or anything you really enjoy that will promote positivity in your life.
Staying busy will keep toxic thoughts at bay, and put your mind into a state of “flow,” so you have something to do other than overthink.
3. Keep a gratitude journal.
If you listen to almost any successful, happy person on the planet today, they usually have a grateful, humble attitude about life. They express gratitude each morning for seemingly insignificant things, like having headphones to listen to music, having a floor to walk on, eyes to see, or whatever comes into their stream of consciousness. They list out every little thing they feel thankful for, and let that energy carry over into the rest of their day.
Before bed every night or when you wake up each morning, just sit in silence and write out everything you feel blessed by in life. This can make a world of difference in how you perceive your world and yourself.
4. Transform negative thinking.
Looking on the bright side of the most tragic situations can really pay off at the end of the day. If you get in a wreck that totals your car, feel thankful you lived to see your loved one’s faces again. If you someone stole your wallet, look at everything else you still have that others may not. You can look at any situation you encounter and take away something positive from it, but you have to adjust your attitude first. How you see the world reflects the way you see yourself, so once you cultivate a positive outlook about yourself, you will see your environment entirely differently.
Colors will get brighter, people will seem friendlier, and the world will just seem like a thriving, happy place. Find the beauty within, and see the beauty without.
5. Ask yourself if your current thoughts are helping or hurting you.
Do your thoughts serve your best interest, helping you create positive results without resistance? Do they nourish your mind and spirit, or make you feel inadequate and powerless? Just observe your normal thinking patterns without judgment, and decide if you need to develop new thinking habits or not. Chances are, most of your thoughts are probably hurting you, not helping you. Most people’s thoughts run on autopilot, until they learn to start paying attention to them. Once you do, you can retrain your brain to think positively by practicing affirmations and only repeating the uplifting, nourishing thoughts to yourself.
Discard the negative thoughts after you’ve observed them and thanked them for their presence; they can still teach you lessons, but they should not have a permanent residence in your brain.