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Changing Negative Thoughts to Positive Thoughts...is it really worth the effort??

We all have a million thoughts that run through our heads each day. With all of this going on in our minds is it really feasible to change every negative thought to a positive one? All of the great teachers, religious scholars, and therapist say that we have to control what we think and make sure that we are thinking things that benefit our lives. But how on earth do you do that when there is so much going on each day and so many thoughts going through our minds? I don’t know about y’all but that just seems like a lot of work to me. Like just thinking about it, I want to go take a nap. So let’s go over why it’s worth it for us to try and then how we can be successful in catching our thoughts.

Why would it matter if we had negative thoughts? Why should we change our thoughts to positive? This is how I have come to understand it. My therapist used to tell me (with lots of dramatic flair) that any time I have a negative thought, I need to recognize it, catch it, change it to a positive one then release it. Now, this doesn’t mean that I’m going to catch every single negative thought that I have but I think the point it so be aware and try to make a positive change. When we have negative thoughts they do quite a few things. First of all, they make us feel bad. I don’t remember ever having a negative thought that felt good or helpful. Second of all, when we have negative thoughts and we let them continue we start to see more and more things in our lives in a negative light. It irritates us when we have these negative thoughts and that irritation, if not caught, will spill over into other thoughts. Before we know it, what started with one negative thought in the morning has turned into a negative day in general. Third of all, when we have negative thoughts, those thoughts have a negative effect on our health and well-being. There have been numerous studies to prove this. Negative thoughts can actually weaken our immune systems. So now, what started with a negative thought in the morning, turned into a negative day in general and the possibility of a cold the next day. Given just these three reasons for catching these negative thoughts, I would say yes, it is worth it to try to catch as many as we can and change them to positive thoughts. But how do we do that?

When it comes to the how, everyone has their own thing that works for them. Some use meditation. Some just step aside for a minute and correct their thinking. For me, it works best to catch it right in the moment. I wish there was a way to show y’all how my therapist used to demonstrate this for me. Basically she would say, “when you have a negative thought you have to catch it.” When she would say to catch it she would put her hand by her ear and make a gesture like she was catching a baseball and then she would say, “then you change it to a positive one and release it”. She would literally act like she was catching a baseball at her ear and flip it around and then throw it back. I’m telling you this because visualizing her doing that helps me remember that I am supposed to be working on this. So when I have a negative thought, out of habit, I can see her doing this gesture and I automatically pick a positive thought to replace my negative one. Everyone has different things that work for them. You just have to find something. Even if you don’t believe that negative thoughts cause any harm or that you can control them at all, wouldn’t it make you feel better to have less of them? Think about it. Having negative thoughts and letting them stick around just makes us feel crappy in general. I think we can all agree that being happy or content is way better than feeling crappy.

The last point on catching negative thoughts that I want to make here is that when we have negative thoughts and we allow them to stay, we allow them to seep into our subconscious. Why would we care what is in our subconscious? Our subconscious mind is basically our truth. Our belief systems and confidence and feelings of worth are all rooted in our subconscious mind. These are all of the things that have gone from just a thought to a firm belief. Now, if we allow negative thoughts to go unchecked, sooner or later they are going to take root in our subconscious mind. They will become a part of our belief system. When that happens it is so much harder to change your thoughts because they aren’t just thoughts any more they are a deeper part of us. When we allow these negative thoughts to become a part of us then we start to see the world in a negative light. How can we expect better and more of our lives when we have allowed negative to take over and the majority of what we see is negative?

We have all met those people that when you tell them anything, even the best or funniest news you have heard, they break it up and can find all of the flaws and negative aspects of it. Those people bring us down. We get all excited and they pull us back down. We feel accomplished and they pull us back down and make us second guess ourselves. Those people are the ones who have let the negative control their thoughts and so that is what they project. They can’t see the good or the dream all they see is the down side to everything.

This all sounds like a lot of effort. However, I will tell you that it’s not as much effort as you would think. As we all know if we do anything for a short amount of time then it becomes a habit. A habit is effortless. A habit is something ingrained in our subconscious and as far as our conscious mind it’s just how it is. It has become a belief. At first, I will admit that going through your day and trying to change every negative to a positive will be exhausting. It will feel like that is all that you are doing. However, make it fun. Make it a game. Do whatever you need to do to keep this going. If you can do that then you will wake up one day and realize that you don’t have to try anymore. You don’t have to think about it. You don’t have to focus on it. You have made a habit and your mind will automatically change your negative thoughts to positive ones. Once you have accomplished this you will notice that you will feel better as you go through your day. You will notice that you feel more optimistic about your day. You will notice more of the good and less of the bad. You will be able to see the opportunities as you go through the day and less of the obstacles.

I think we all deserve that kind of clarity in our lives. We are so busy and have so many things going on at all times. We don’t need to feel bad on top of all of that. So I want y’all to try this. Give it a week and see if you feel better. Let me know your experiences. Did it work? Did it not work? Was it hard or easy? Did anything change in your life from trying this? #Letstalkaboutit


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