Changing our thoughts can literally change your life. As deliberate creators we know that we need to be positively focused and think thoughts that are helpful and not think of what could go wrong. Yet it might seem that our brain takes over and the thought patterns that we are habituated to use come up involuntarily in our mind.
So how can we override this very practiced and deeply ingrained impulse to think negatively?
Neuroscience has proven that our brain is neuroplastic in nature. Which means that we can change our brain by consciously choosing habits, thoughts and behaviors that when adopted consistently can change the physicality of our brain.
Here are some ways in which you can start to change the way your brain operates by instilling new thought habits in yourself.
Raise your awareness of how you are feeling moment to moment - When you are feeling negative emotions, check in with your self to identify the thought pattern or the narrative that is playing in your mind and bringing up these emotions. Your awareness will help you manage your state of mind better.
Recognise and identify recurrent thought patterns that make you feel bad - As you get familiar with yourself at a deeper level, you will be able to identify patterns of thinking that you might have adopted in your childhood from your parents, teachers or environment. If you are aware that these thought patterns do not make you feel good, it is time to replace them with more positive ones. Use affirmations, self talk and self motivation to override the unhelpful thoughts.
Name the thought pattern - A good way to release the thought patterns that don't serve you anymore, is to give them a name or title. For example - every time I think about standing in front of a group of people to teach them deliberate creation, I start to think that they might not think of me as credible or might not enjoy my class. As I become aware of the fear that starts to come up, I name this thought pattern as " The unhelpful gremlin is again talking me out of reaching for what will give me joy" This exercise then creates some distance between my thoughts and me. I feel more in control to choose more empowering thoughts and in a way can "shoo" my gremlin away.
Build high self esteem and self value - A vast majority of our negative thoughts are usually directed to ourselves rather than at a particular person or situation. Nurturing the relationship you have with yourself and developing unconditional love and acceptance of yourself will help you eliminate a lot of the negative chatter.
Worry, doubt and fear are emotions that come up when we are thinking of an imagined worse case scenario that has not happened yet. Change the neural pathways in your brain by focusing your attention on the present in a mindful manner. TIP - Focus on your in breath and out breath to bring your attention to the present and prevent your brain from building on the imagined future event.
Ask your brain some redirecting questions - Asking your brain specific questions will help it redirect its focus on something positive rather than the worse case scenario. Ask yourself - " Is what my brain thinking about true", " How do I feel when I think of what might go wrong?" and " What do I really want?"
Celebrate even the smallest of victories - When you recognize, celebrate and congratulate yourself for flipping your negative thought to a positive one then you are activating the reward center in your brain which in turn makes it easier to change the next time it is thinking negatively.
It is important that you practice replacing old unhelpful patterns of thought with new positive ones when things are going well or when you are faced with smaller challenges. That way when you come across bigger challenges your brain will already be wired to support you in being positively focused.
If you need more support or guidance or a cheerleader to cheer you on as you navigate through your life's ups and down, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org