Building on yesterday’s discussion of the addictive effects of negative thinking, how did you do in your 24 hours of “no negative thinking?” There’s a good chance that it was a very long evening, but if you truly worked at it, the time spent was eye-opening. Today, let’s talk further about breaking negative-thinking addiction.
We have been talking about the fact that negative thinking can be a harmful addiction, and about how to raise our awareness of the amount of negative thinking we do by learning to pay attention without blaming ourselves. Today, let’s take it one step further and talk about what you can do to break this destructive habit – to do a pattern interrupt – once you realize that you have it.
The first thing to do is stop justifying or defending your negative thoughts. While it may be true that they are perfectly rational, they are not doing you or anyone else any good. They are getting in the way of your interactions with family and friends, and causing unnecessary distractions in the workplace.
These negative thinking moments likely are impacting your physical as well as mental health. So, stop labeling them as reasonable or unreasonable. Note them, keep track of them as they happen (journaling is a wonderful tool for this purpose) and see if you can find the original source (or sources).
Another thing to do is declare a ban on all negative thinking for short periods every day, say for 30 minutes when you get up, before you get in your car to drive anywhere, or right before you go to bed. Then, gradually extend those times.
One final strategy is to be a champion Disputer. Learn to argue with your negative thoughts and to replace them with positive ones. Every possible subject has a positive side if you look for it. Accomplished positive thinkers know they have a choice about where they want to focus their attention, and they choose the positive aspect. You can, as well. Say, “Yes,” to life and to breaking the negative thinking addiction.
If you start today, imagine how you will feel in a couple of weeks. The New Year is looking better every day!