Several months ago I read an article in our community magazine. The title is “Avoid Negative Thoughts.” I was intrigued because thoughts are foundational to the work I do.
I read. I was disappointed. If I did not understand how vital it is to face, feel, and find the message of my negative thoughts, I would have likely read this article and thought, “I’m really doing something wrong because I have negative thoughts. I’m wrong. I’m bad.”
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the brain processes up to 70,000 thought per day! The National Science Foundation believes that up to 80% of these thoughts are negative.
Part of being human is having negative thoughts. To me, it’s not “don’t have negative thoughts” but “I’m having this thought…what is my brain saying about me or this situation? Is it true?” And then stating how I want to think or react to the thought. This becomes intentional thinking. And all of the sudden, the negative thought isn’t actually an enemy anymore. It is a teacher!
Let’s walk through this together:
Grab a piece of paper and pen.
- Write down one negative thought in your head.
Example: “I can’t go to that social gathering tonight. It’s too scary.”
2. Ask yourself what your thought is really all about.
Example: “I think attending the gathering tonight is scary because I’m afraid of what people at the party will think about me.”
3. Ask yourself what your brain thinks will really happen.
Example: “My brain thinks there will be proof that I’m worthless if someone thinks poorly of me.”
4. Is it true?
Example: “No. If someone thinks poorly of me, I’m still worthwhile.” (even if you don’t believe it now, it’s ok. You’re interrupting a stream of subconscious programming and it takes time to reprogram!)
5. Restate the truth.
Example: “I am worthwhile to be around even when someone thinks poorly of me.”
Look at the power that comes from analyzing a negative thought!
I invite you to consider seeing your negative thoughts as teachers. It will put you on the road to finding relief during stress.