Say it isn’t so! Your old, persistent negativity demon has just reared its ugly head again. And it’s bringing you down.
You’ve heard a million times how powerful positive thinking is — in fact, it’s a superpower. You know in your DNA this is true, and you’ve taken all the steps to be a positive thinker — but alas — will you ever be the positive person you want to be?
How can you expect to remain upbeat when your life isn’t the way you want it yet?
Besides, so many negative influences, people, and situations are swirling around you that never fail to suck you back into self-defeating, depressing thoughts. There’s just no escape.
Is it hopeless to think you can consistently be positive and turn your life around? Will you always be fighting this uphill battle?
… And there you go again — even these thoughts embody another negative downward spiral.
Time-out for a second!
It’s true — we do face a lot of negativity, but once you get a handle on it, you can absolutely separate yourself from negativity and replace it with positive energy. All you need is a good plan and some stick-to-itiveness.
Understanding the cause of negativity makes it much easier to overcome.
Negative thinking stems mainly from the subconscious mind where every incident of your life, good or bad, is stored. If a friend hurts your self-esteem, for example, you react emotionally and develop conscious self-protecting behaviors. You put on a brave face to convince others and yourself that you’re alright.
Throughout the years, you develop a mismatch between your conscious personality and your subconscious thoughts.
When situations arise that feel similar to old negative situations, you react automatically in ways you don’t understand.
Something that seems innocent to another person might trigger anger, jealousy, stubbornness, or any number of negative behaviors that knock you off balance and make your relationships and life more difficult.
The following are a few signs of subconscious negativity:
1. Your moods change often.
Your underlying thoughts cause your moodiness. Thoughts are things, and they create your feelings. This is proven. For example, when you’re feeling good, but people ask, “You don’t look well, is something wrong?” you may start to feel bad. Persuasion is very powerful. Your subconscious thoughts are persuasive.
2. You constantly think or talk about the past or the future.
You may be attempting to escape the present. If you were happier in the past, do you often return to your memories for comfort? Or do you rest your happiness on future events, often thinking, “I will feel better when this thing happens, or that thing ends”?
3. You’re judgmental of others and yourself.
Sometimes you express your judgments, and sometimes they’re just thoughts. But rather than embracing other people and the events in your life, you critique their faults. If you have this tendency, you may also lean toward being hard on yourself.
4. You engage in bad habits.
You may escape by shopping, eating, watching mindless TV, or exhibiting other behaviors that cause problems down the road. You don’t feel good after indulging because you realize consequences tend to build. You eventually have to pay your bills, lose weight, or find more meaningful activities.
5. You’re full of worries and fears.
This has become a habit — worry and fear hold you back from enjoying life. You always discover that your worries or fears were unfounded but you can’t break the habit.
In general, if a negativity demon is lurking inside, your life will feel out of balance. What’s exciting is that you can use this feeling to your advantage.
Want to know the best ways to take control of your negative subconscious?
Step 1: Activate your awareness.
Awareness is the first step. I didn’t realize I came across negatively until a high school friend told me. I was raised to talk about negative things. In my mind I was just making conversation, but it wasn’t positive conversation.
Once I decided to change, I had to understand not only how I was being negative but also how to change it. Often we need to move like this through several layers of awareness before we can improve.
If you’re checking yourself for signs of negative thinking as you read, you’re already taking the first step to improve your life. So pat yourself on the back.
Step 2: Commit to yourself.
Overcoming negativity is a process, but it’s not difficult. Commitment is way more important than people realize. Committing before you embark on any tough challenge improves your chances of success.
Making the commitment is easy. Take just 15 minutes to write your answers to two questions.
- What I don’t want: “What is my life like when I allow negativity?”
- What I must have: “What will my life be like once I train myself to think positive consistently?”
Don’t hold back on this step — get all of your feelings about your transition from negative to positive down so you can return to it when you need a solid reminder to help you get back on your path.
You’ll be surprised how well this works.
Step 3: Identify what you need to work on.
The best way to uncover hidden negativity is to detach a bit. As Deepak Chopra likes to say, “Be the observer.” Step back and watch yourself throughout the day as though you were watching someone else.
From this perspective, you might think, “Look how I felt resentful because my boss said I need to get to work earlier. How can I feel better about this? Is he right?”
A wide range of outcomes is possible. You may realize you don’t like your job, and it’s time to look for another one. Or you may decide you need to adjust your schedule so you can get up earlier.
When any situation occurs that doesn’t feel uplifting or good, it’s a clue that positive thinking will help you turn things around. Step by step, this is the best way to transform negativity into positive energy.
Step 4: Immerse yourself in positivity.
Surround yourself on all sides, above, and below — with positive information, positive people, positive influences, positive input, and positive methods of learning to think positively.
Some people say positive thinking doesn’t work. Others believe you can’t change your mind, your subconscious mind, or your habits.
The truth is, conventional thinking is just wrong. Our minds are far more powerful than we realize.
Why listen to someone who makes you feel weak?
To understand how strong and resilient the human mind is, watch the documentary “Touching the Void.” It’s the true story of the amazing battle for survival Joe Simpson, a mountain climber, took in the Peruvian Andes after being left for dead. Watching it will change your life:
Unable to walk, in pain, and completely without food or water, Simpson managed to lower himself out of a deep crevice and crawl five miles down the mountain over rough terrain and through violent blizzards over a period of three days.
It’s truly mind-boggling how strong we can be physically, mentally, and emotionally. Immerse yourself in positivity, and you won’t believe what you’ll accomplish and overcome.
Step 5: Simplify your thinking.
Years ago, I had the rare opportunity to seek the counsel of a Buddhist monk, asking any question I desired. I explained that I had been raised without positive reinforcement in my life and described how this was affecting my self-confidence and my job.
I anxiously awaited his advice, certain he would have the answers I needed. Instead, he looked at me with the most puzzled expression on his face — his eyes searching mine — and he uttered a single word — “Why?”
I left the session extremely disappointed. But as I drove home deep in thought, the answer flashed into my mind. He was right! “Why?” It really is that simple.
If I have the ability to think any thought, why would I tell myself I am less than I want to be? It doesn’t make sense when I can just as easily tell myself the opposite.
We make life too complex. We overthink things. We fail to connect with our true, positive inner selves, and we end up miserable.
Choose differently. Use your inner strength and your positive mind. It’s completely up to you whether you want to torture yourself, to do whatever is necessary to move yourself toward greatness, or to do something in between.
Step 6: Prepare yourself with positive thoughts.
I mentioned the negative downward spiral. It’s a habit. One negative thought is connected to the next, and off you go. You have a finite number of subjects this happens with, meaning you can easily take control.
Sit down with a spreadsheet. Name the left column “Negative Thoughts.” Write down every negative thought you tend to have. You can complete this over time as the thoughts arise.
Name the right column, “Reality.” Now do a reality check for each negative thought. Is the negative thought accurate, or is there a positive way to think about it that makes more sense?
For example, are you really not as smart as some of your friends, or are you just smarter in different areas? Together, can’t you and your smart friends combine efforts to accomplish more than any one of you?
Your friends probably feel inadequate in the areas where you are strongest.
When you’ve completed the spreadsheet, commit it to memory. Remember the antidote — the reality check for each negative thought. The next time a negative thought arises in your mind, immediately replace it with the positive reality.
You will no longer need to participate in any negative downward spirals. Now you can spiral up instead. Doesn’t it feel so much better?
Step 7: Keep your forward momentum.
We all have moments where we backslide when we’re trying new things, working to change habits, or reach new goals. After all, we’re human.
This is no time to beat yourself up. It’s time to remember clearly why you set out to change things in the first place so that you can overcome any discouragement and get yourself in gear again.
So outwit that backslide. Retrieve your commitment reminder from Step #2. Put yourself in the zone again. Read over what you don’t want and what you must have. It will help you re-commit quickly, and you’ll be back on the road to positive thinking.
A brighter future awaits you.
Remember how discouraged you felt when you were overflowing with negative thoughts and surrounded by negative people and events?
Don’t go through the rest of your life bogged down in the mire — locked into the matrix of negativity that surrounds you. You can wake up every day looking forward to what life has to offer because you have the simple answers. Just adjust your thinking a bit.
Watch for hidden signs of negativity. Commit yourself to create a more gratifying, positive life. Determine what you need to work on. Surround yourself with positive influences wherever you go. Realize how simple life truly is, and keep it that way. Create your spreadsheet of antidotes to your own negative thoughts, and use it.
You absolutely will create a positive life when you make a conscious effort. You’ll feel a sense of freedom and relief that grows over time. The best part is, positive thinking is contagious.