As we prepare to close out the calendar year, it’s a natural time to start thinking about what we’d like to change about ourselves and the course our lives are taking. The first thing on our to-do list is to become aware of the way we currently think.
Do you know anyone who is addicted to negative thoughts? Perhaps it is someone closer than you think. Now, we are familiar with addictions to drugs and alcohol. It seems that addiction is behavior that is usually harmful and that controls you, rather than the other way around. This begs the question then, can negative thinking be an addiction? You bet it can. Can it harm you? Most definitely. How can you tell if your negative thoughts are out of control? Well, as we mentioned earlier, the first step is awareness.
Let’s make today your Day of Awareness. As an experiment, here is something you can try, something The Pacific Institute includes in nearly all of its programs. Try going through one whole day, a full 24 hours, without thinking a single negative thought. No sarcasm, no put-downs, no belittling – of others or of yourself. Yes, that includes time spent driving in traffic and maneuvering through the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
Now, most people notice quite a few negative thoughts during this day of awareness. But that is not all they do. They get upset at themselves for thinking those negative thoughts, and they end up caught in a mental double negative.
So, give yourself a break. Just pay attention without blaming and without judgment. Notice your thought patterns for the next 24 hours. Once you become aware of how much control negative thinking has over your life, you may choose to change it. It may be easy to change, or it may not be so easy, but you can do it! First, though, you need to raise your awareness of what is happening today – your Day of Awareness.
Have a terrific, illuminating evening, and we will continue this discussion tomorrow.