We’ve all heard the saying that “Every day is a gift”, but for the person with anxiety, any day can turn into a true nightmare. Thinking the same negative thoughts over and over again leads to a pattern of negative thinking.
The bad news is that it will take you time to change the way you see the world. The good news is that you definitely can. Here’s how:
1. Notice the Negative Patterns
The first step to solving a problem is to openly acknowledge it. Keep a journal of your negative thoughts and watch out for the repetitive ones. It’s important to not judge yourself for thinking them, but to see them for what they are – just thoughts. You are not defined by these thoughts and you shouldn’t revolve your life around them.
2. Accept Them
When you think negatively, you are essentially having an internal conflict: you wish that you could stop thinking these thoughts, but you are effectively reinforcing them. How? By thinking about your thinking, also called overthinking or analysis-paralysis. To avoid overthinking, there is something useful you can do.
Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit. Try to slow down your breathing, close your eyes, and stay still for a couple of minutes. Stay with your mind. Let it ramble. Are you feeling anxious? Scared? Angry? Irritated? Good. This means that you are now one step ahead than you were before. You realise what your resistance is doing to yourself. Feel the pain in your body. Do you really want this for yourself? No. Then do nothing. Observe your negative thoughts. Detach from them. Resistance is what makes them stronger. When you truly let them go, they will disappear.
3. Replace Them
To get rid of the chatter in your mind, it’s often not enough to meditate or do yoga. Don’t get me wrong, I meditate and do yoga, and I can say that both have changed my life. But you need to rewire the way your brain thinks. Let me give you an example.
When you find yourself in a stressful situation, it is very likely to fall back into old negative patterns. I’m talking about any kind of addiction – smoking, drinking, overeating, or overthinking. Yes, negative thoughts are also addictive. Once you’ve settled not to fight them, they are going to become stronger and stronger. The best way to overcome them is to find their core and change your outlook.
Negative thoughts like “I’m stupid”, “Nobody likes me”, “I’m going to die alone” or “I’m a complete failure” are very common. Everyone has their own reason to be struggling with letting them go. The problem often lies in unresolved childhood trauma, for example bullying at school or some kind of a traumatic event. We’re not going to go into details about the past, though. What is important is to focus on what you can do about your negative patterns right now.
Start to affirm yourself by being grateful for what you already have in your life. Find the things that you like about yourself and focus your attention on them. Be open to people, expect good things to happen to you and don’t underestimate yourself.
My Personal Recommendations
Easier said than done, right? Personally, I started to work on my negative patterns by reading good books like “The Mindfulness Code” by Donald Altman, “Self Esteem” by Matthew McKay & Patrick Fanning, and “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson. All of these books gave me a different perspective on thinking as a whole.
Another thing that I did back in the days when I started working on my self-improvement was to listen to Eckhart Tolle, Alan Watts and other wonderful lecturers. Indeed, the lessons I’ve learned in the past few years have been invaluable.
Last but not least, feeding your soul with positive thoughts and quotes is great, but achieving actual results in real life requires dedication, patience and a support system. Personally, I went through coaching myself before becoming an actual coach, so that I can now help you with techniques that actually work. How do I know that? Because they most certainly worked on me.
If you want to battle your negative patterns with my help, book your FREE coaching session now.