Joyce Meyer once said, “being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don’t have to sit on it.”
So, turning negative thoughts into positive one isn’t actually that hard. Same for emotions. Everything in life depends on how we choose to look at things, how to perceive them, depends on our state of mind (maturity) or our expectations.
So here are some steps on how to turn negative feelings into positivity.
Become Aware of Negative Thoughts
If we want to eliminate negative thoughts, we need to understand where they are coming from. We need to be aware of them.
Monitor what you’re thinking. Stop yourself several times per day and audit your thoughts. You won’t be able to fix these negative thoughts until you become fully aware of them.
Train your brain to reject these thoughts, stop them before they get stuck in your head.
You’ll get better at this and catching various negative thoughts more often with practice. To speed up the process, in the beginning, you can use the rubber band technique. Put a rubber band or hair tie on your wrist. Make sure it’s not too tight. Then snap it anytime you recognize a negative thought. The little sting from the rubber band makes you pay attention. After a couple of days of this, you’ll become aware of your negative thoughts without the rubber band to aid you.
Find Something Positive To Counteract The Negative Thought
When you catch yourself in a negative thought, it’s time to balance the scales with something positive. Acknowledge the negative and then come up with something positive. For example, if you find yourself thinking that you shouldn’t bother starting a garden this year because you have a brown thumb; counteract that with a mental statement about how good of a cook you are.
The idea is to not let the negative thoughts bring you down. You’re also simply acknowledging that the thought is there- not that it is right or valid. We’ll tackle that problem next. For now, simply get into the habit of following up negative thoughts with positive ones. The closer you can relate them to the negative one, the better. So, an even better response to the earlier statement would be that you’re good at growing herbs on the window sill or that you have some of the prettiest houseplants around.
Make Time for Positivity
Make time to do things that make you happy personally. A hobby, reading, sports, anything enjoyed by you is a good distraction. Focus on things that make you happy and promotes positive thinking and let them be in charge of your emotions.
Picture Yourself Happy and Be Grateful
If you are frustrated, lonely or pessimistic, remember something you feel good about, and focus on it. Think about your loved ones, your pet, your friends. Recall something that you are grateful for. Absorb that feeling of gratitude for a moment. Reminiscing on a positive memory and experience helps to settle a positive mood.
Finally, Replace the Negative with Positive Thoughts
Last but not least, it’s time to truly turn the negative into a positive thought. The key here is perspective. If you look hard enough, you can find something positive in every negative thought. Thinking that you’re not a good gardener also means that you have the opportunity to learn more. Play in the dirt and experience. You could even think about how fun it would be to get some help and tips from a gardening friend.
You may also have to distance yourself from negative people or negative things. People that tend to bring you down or the one you feel like only waiting for your failure are toxic and should be avoided.
It’s hard to focus on the bright side when you’re surrounded by negativity. Identify the positive people in your life, the one who will bring the best in you and spend time with them on a regular basis.
A positive mindset is key for living a healthy and satisfying life. Find something positive and start to focus on that. Think of shortcomings as opportunities for improvement. Once you get into the habit of turning your negative thoughts around, you open yourself up to a lot of happiness and almost unlimited possibilities.
A lot of thoughts run through our mind on any given day. Instead of paying attention to what we should think. We want to make you aware of some keywords you need to watch out for in your thoughts when you want to reduce and stop negative thoughts.
What Are “Negative Words”?
Let’s start by going over some of the words that should give you pause and check if you’re slipping into negative thinking. They include words like no, don’t, won’t, can’t, shouldn’t, and the likes. This is a short list of the most important ones.
You probably have a few of your own words that you know you use when you start to slip into negative thoughts. As you start to pay attention to your thought processes, you’ll recognize the words that are particularly important to you. Make a note of them and add them to the short list above.
Of course, context matters. Sometimes thinking and saying “no” can be a very positive thing. The idea is to treat them as stop words. When they come across your mind, stop and examine if you’re still on track or if you’re slipping into negative thought processes. This gives you the control you need to literally change your mind.
Saying NO more often means you’re putting yourself first. You become the number one priority in your own life. If you don’t look after YOU first, then other people will simply not get the best of YOU when it comes time to help them.
Start by becoming more aware of the thoughts running through your mind, particularly when you start to “hear” these negative words. Stop and figure out if you are using them in a positive, negative, or neutral context.
Turning Negative Words into Positive Ones
When you do find yourself using those negative words and catch yourself with those negative thoughts, it’s time to take action and do everything you can to turn a negative into a positive. Let’s say you find yourself doubting your professional abilities; you hear about a fun new project at work and catch yourself thinking that you “can’t” do that.
It’s time to turn that around and change your thinking process from “I can’t do that” or “I don’t know everything there is to know about this project” to “I know how to do parts A, B, and C and I know I can learn part D”.
The same goes for any other negative thoughts you have, including self-image ones, self-worth ones, relationship thoughts, and the likes. Instead of beating yourself up to that the house isn’t perfectly clean, focus on the fact that you spent a fun afternoon at the park with the kids or that you now have the perfect opportunity to work on practicing chores with the little ones, and get everyone involved in house cleaning tasks.
Challenging negative thinking is neither simple nor easy, but with patience and hard work, it is greatly satisfying to be able to deal with it.
By understanding our thoughts about such situations, people and our experiences, we get a better understanding of our feelings as well as our behavior. With better insight we are able to we begin to recognize these repetitive negative thoughts, and we are able to replace these thoughts with those that are more rational and cause less pain.