Learn to Overcome Negative Thinking

You don’t have to believe everything you think. Why stay in a prison of self when the door is wide open? Let everything go. Let everything be. Dr. Bob Stahl and Steve Flowers, Mindful experts

According to Melody Wilding, Executive Coach for sensitive high-achievers, an effective way to work with negative thoughts is by following a simple mindfulness exercise including allowing negative thoughts to pass through your mind. As you do this, watch out for stories you’re telling yourself such as, “this always happens,” “I should have done….” or “I never do anything right.” Choose to use empowering rather than negative self-talk. 

Follow the advice of the mindfulness experts as you decide to let negative thinking go. When you practice releasing negative thoughts, be compassionate with yourself. Changing your mindset isn’t easy but being proactive about overcoming negative thinking can put you on a new, positive road.

Affirmation: I think positive thoughts.

Coaching questions: What can you do to help yourself think more positively? How will positive thinking benefit your life? What is a first step to letting go of negative self-talk? 

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Understanding Debbie Downer

People tend to dwell more on negative things than on good things. So the mind then becomes obsessed with negative things, with judgments, guilt and anxiety produced by thoughts about the future and so on. Eckhart Tolle

Do you know a Debbie Downer? Have you ever wondered why a person is predisposed to negative thinking? Our psychological predisposition comes from many sources of course, not the least of which is our upbringing. However, I found the following quote by Rick Hanson, Ph.D. and founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, to be very enlightening.

Dr. Hanson says, “Negative stimuli produce more neural activity than do equally intense positive ones. From an evolutionary standpoint, our ancestors’ predisposition to Debbie Downer-ism makes sense. Ancient humans lacked reliable sources of food, water and shelter, and, as a result, made life-or-death decisions more frequently than we do today. To keep our ancestors alive, Mother Nature evolved a brain that routinely tricked them into making three mistakes: overestimating threats, underestimating opportunities, and underestimating resources. This is a great way to pass on gene copies but a lousy way to promote quality of life.”

I’m sad to say that I have limited loving memories of my mother but I do have a few negative ones. Dr. Hanson’s findings help me to understand this fact of my life experience. Perhaps his wisdom will help you also.

Affirmation: I embrace my memories.

Coaching questions: What negative memories are you wanting to understand or set aside? What will help you get out of the Cave-Woman mentality and move forward?

Looking For Peace

What we focus on expands. The more were complain, the worse things get. It’s a universal law. OprahWinfrey

Remember the last time you considered buying a red sedan and everywhere you looked there were red sedans? The same is true of negative thinking, negative social media, negative cable news…more, more, more and the worse things seem to us.

Even in our personal lives, the more we focus on the negative and complain, the worse things seem to get. My step mother, Sylvia, used to say, “This too shall pass.” And sure enough it did/does. Yesterday some friends and I were remembering Hurricane Irma and how it brought out the best in so many people…the compassion, the caring. It renewed in us the sense that the world is mostly filled with good, caring people who want to take care of their friends, neighbors, and even total strangers. Focusing on the positive brought each one of us a sense of peace and hope for the world.

Affirmation: I choose the positive.

Coaching questions: What outside sources are feeding you? What have you done lately that shows your compassion to another? On what are you focusing?