Hello all! I am sorry this did not get posted on Friday but as you saw last Monday, we are living in Puppyville right now and our new fur baby has kept us busy. He’s sleeping right now with his big sister so I have time to do the second part of this blog. 🙂 A bit of cuteness first you say??? Oh, okay. If I must. He’s waving hello.
Pervasive Negative Thinking Part 2. A few more suggestions. 🙂
How about we start with being more compassionate with ourselves?
It is natural to have negative thoughts. No one is happy all the time. Daily ups and downs help make life better for us in the long run. Even the “bad” stuff can help us appreciate the good more or perhaps even learn a lesson that we otherwise would not have learned.
People who are in counselling who are able to acknowledge feeling both good and bad feelings make more positive changes than people who do not.
Suppressing negative thoughts can backfire. There was a study once where participants were told not to think about a white bear. Of course they thought about it almost constantly… and you are thinking about one right now aren’t you? 😉 When a white bear is just there in a room and people are not told to ignore it, they hardly think about it at all.
If you have a good friend or are in therapy, make time to discuss some of your negative thoughts. Getting them outside of your head can help you move past them far quicker.
One quote that I love is by Tori Rodriguez.
“A thought is just a thought and a feeling is just a feeling.”
It sounds simple but we often give our power to our thoughts. We feel upset about a certain situation and we can react as though there is no other way to think about it. Like that thought owns you rather than the other way around.
Having a negative thought is normal and healthy. Putting a cape on it so it can fly around knocking everything all over the place is not.
Now here is a hard one. Let go of jealousy.
We all like to think that we are not jealous people but jealousy is insidious.
Our lives would be better if we were thinner, stronger, richer, better, prettier or more handsome, smarter, warmer, colder, healthier… Almost every one of us has at least one area where we look at others and think “If I was just _______, my life would be better or easier”. In truth? They are thinking the exact same thing but perhaps just a different topic. In Buddhism (which I follow), there are 4 “truths/levels”. The first one is that every single person suffers. This is the human condition. It is not a bad thing, it just ties us all together. No one has a perfect life no matter what they show on the outside. Never compare yourself to anyone else. You do not know the full story… and they do not know yours.
How about a few easy suggestions? When you can’t shake those negative thoughts, take a walk, exercise in your favourite way, listen to upbeat music, distract yourself, or schedule some worry time in to each day.
Another technique. “Repeat after me…”
There is a technique called “cognitive diffusion”. If there is a word or phrase that you think to yourself far too often, repeat it over and over again for a couple of minutes. An example. What if I always call myself stupid? I would say “I’m stupid.” Over and over again for two minutes. At first it feels very real but by the end, it should have lost some of its power. If you need to do it one time or ten times, it doesn’t matter. Just repeat the technique until you feel the power within those words lose their grip.
Journal it. Writing a problem down can help you think less about it. Spending 20 minutes a day writing down your worries can significantly diffuse them. I actually calm down A LOT after I write something out. It feels like I get things sorted out better because I have to slow down to write.
This one might seem silly but it really works for some people.
Jot your problem on a piece of paper. Rip up the paper and throw it out. Toss that thought in the trash and leave it there. It it is a big thought that holds a lot of power? I like to write it down, scribble all over it, crumple it up and burn it (safely). Do what works for you.
Just remember this one last piece of advice…
Being negative is often due to many reasons. It probably took you a long time to find your thinking where it is now. Family, friends, circumstances…
For this reason, please be patient with yourself. Changing thinking takes time and practice. Be very forgiving of yourself and don’t quit.
I had a way of reacting to people who I really did not like about myself. I tried and tried to change it but that negative view held on. It actually took me several years to have it stop completely but I did notice small improvements along the way. Giving up is the only way to lose at this.
Have a terrific week. Let me know if any of the suggestions help you.