Breaking free from negative thinking isn’t about techniques. It’s a revolution. You are literally going to walk in a different world. Because negative thinking, is just a mistaken idea about what’s possible and who you really are. And you have no idea what this kind of cruel perspective is costing you.
You may be unconsciously sabotaging your own life with negative thinking and fear. Your thoughts can create anxiety, frustration, and pain. A negative mindset can weaken your marriage, career, health, or more.
But likewise, you can shift into well-being and possibility. You can restore your connection to peace, sanity and creativity.
How? Here are five ways I’ve used with clients to stop negative thinking:
- Redefine What’s Realistic
- Seek Higher Wisdom and Listen for Love
- Rewrite Your Story
- Focus on What’s Working!
- Monitor thoughts throughout the day
1. Redefine What’s Realistic
There’s a cultural bias toward pessimism. We’re encouraged to doubt our wild, pure strength, and instead, bank on the times when we lose faith, and “come back to earth.” We trust cynicism as though it’s wisdom, the voice of “experience” instead of embitterment.
I’d always assumed I couldn’t make a living as a creative writer. I grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. to an orthodox Jewish family. I was told, “You’re going to write? You’re going to starve.” So, I became a lawyer instead. I slogged through Harvard Law School and onto the partnership track of a major firm.
It never occurred to me that “you can’t make a living at doing what you love” was a negative thought. To me, it was “just being realistic.” Everyone, including a school’s career counselor, thought it was “common sense” to squelch my dearest desires in life.
I didn’t know that I had limiting beliefs– more than I had limits.
And now, as a career/success coach and speaker with four best-selling books out and a world-wide following, I can tell you those “practical” thoughts didn’t lead me to safety. They guided me towards self-repression and meaninglessness. Had I stayed negative, I would have missed the life I’m born to live.
So do yourself a favor. Stop calling negativity “being realistic.” Call it what it is: being negative. Does a particular thought inhibit your greatest potential? Then it’s poison.
2. Seek Higher Wisdom & Listen for Love
In any situation, choose to listen to your love more than your fear. I recommend a technique I call “Inspired Self Dialogues.” It’s easy to do and can be SO incredibly eye-opening. Here’s what you do:
- Write down what your fear/inner critic is saying to you.
- Now listen & journal what your positive, loving, Inspired Self might say in return. (Go ahead and make it up!)
For help connecting to this loving voice, you might start by asking yourself: “What would I say to my best friend or child, if they felt this fear?” Or you might consider writing a response from a Loving Higher Spirit’s point of view. Or maybe try writing to yourself from the mindset of someone who has always been your advocate. Experiment and get your pen or keyboard moving!
Trust me, you have an EXTRAORDINARY counsel within you. Use it.
3. Re-write Your Story…
When you find yourself in a flurry of anxiety or frustration, use this chill pill of a thought…
“I don’t know what anything means.”
It’s rarely the event that’s causing you pain. Instead, It’s usually the interpretation of the event that causes us pain. We don’t see anxieties as just flights of imagination because we assume they are truth. But you don’t really know what things mean.
So, the interviewer didn’t call you back? What might you be making this mean? It is possible she may be recommending you for another position? Maybe she has food poisoning. Or is out robbing a bank. You don’t know. And if nothing else, is it possible that you may just be being spared from a situation that isn’t the highest use of you?
If your story is causing you anxiety or pain, it might be time to re-write it.
4. Focus on What’s Working!
The mind can’t focus on more than one thought at a time. Guess what that means? When you focus on anything that calms or excites you, you literally can’t be in anxiety. Too often we try to “fix a problem,” by obsessing over what needs to be changed. So, what do you do instead? Try doing something you love!
Or, one of the quickest ways I’ve found that helps shift from negative thinking is to stay in the present moment and— create a WIN LIST. A WIN LIST is a list noting anything (And I mean it! Anything…)that has worked or is moving in the right direction. Don’t forget to include inner shifts as well! For example, if you’re usually depressed for 30 minutes in the morning, but this morning you’re only depressed for 29 minutes, YES…. this inner victory goes on your WIN list!
5. Monitor Your Thoughts Throughout the Day
Many of us, despite our best efforts, will find ourselves in the thick of anxiety and fear. It only takes one negative thought to sour your day. Then your mind can spin out of control.
Fortunately, it also only takes one thought to focus you in the right direction. Of course, your negative mood can feel real. But it’s just a habit of thinking, and it can be changed. Monitoring your thoughts is how you can beat negative thinking.
Remember what’s true: your dreams can take off at any minute.
You can quit drinking this time. You can write a screenplay that Sundance produces. You can meet the love of your life, yes, at your age or with your ridiculous issues. It happens. But only when we feed the light within us.
As a career/success coach, I am in the business of helping people not only get out of negative thinking, but also stay in an inspired mindset. Mindset is the difference between those who succeed in life and those who struggle.
Of course, the best way to get out of a negative cycle is not to get in one in the first place. It’s like car maintenance. Change your oil regularly—and you won’t have to deal with a flashing red check engine light.
For most of us, moving beyond negativity isn’t an overnight shift. It’s not a pill. It’s a practice.
It can even feel awkward. But I’d rather you go too far in believing in your possibilities than not go far enough.
Go ahead, and dare to stray from conventional thinking—and trust the brilliance within. It’s worth everything to wake up to your own fearless potential, one thought at a time.
Welcome to a whole new world.