Through my 20s and 30s, negative thinking felt like an inescapable part of my life. When negative thoughts really weighed me down, there were times I wished I could just unscrew my head to give myself a little relief – if only for a few minutes.
Although negative thoughts were always close by for me, I also had a lingering sense that I didn’t have to listen to them. Over time, and with a couple of breakthrough moments, this sense developed into something I could put into action – helping me take my negative thinking patterns and replace them with positive thoughts.
As well as being extremely powerful and enormously liberating, the practice I developed is amazingly simple. In fact, it’s just two steps. I’ll explain exactly how you can do it. But first, it’s important to understand what negative thoughts look like for most of us – as they’re often not what people expect.
The Negative Thought Process
For most people, negative self-talk isn’t about the world or people around us – it’s about ourselves.
Of course, this isn’t to say we don’t worry about other things – but our inner critic tends to focus almost entirely on us; the way we look, how much we weigh, our financial health, what’s going to happen in a certain situation, and so on.
You can actually put most negative thoughts into one of two categories: interpersonal (our feelings about ourselves), and interpersonal (our feelings about interacting with others).
Interpersonal negative thoughts often lead to:
- Perfectionism: feeling like our best is never good enough
- Seeking approval: hoping that others will make us feel better
- Achievement: aiming for an accolade that will confirm we’re doing well
Interpersonal negative thoughts tend to result in:
- Taking the blame: if you don’t have the confidence to stand up for yourself
- Submissiveness: lacking the confidence to lead or be heard
- Fear of conflict: thinking that our standpoint won’t hold up under pressure
Negative emotions like these might not follow us around quite as much as some self-defeating beliefs do, but they will almost always come to the forefront of our minds when we’re faced with an issue.
When these feelings come up, it often results in ruminating and overthinking; cognitive distortions that lead us to believe our negative self-talk is actually true, further confirming the negative feelings we have about ourselves. It’s a vicious cycle – and it can lead to you being absolutely convinced that your negative thoughts are here to stay. The good news is; they’re not! You can take action today that will encourage increased self-esteem and positive thinking.
Two-Step Practice to Stop Negative Thought Patterns Now
Letting go of automatic negative thoughts might feel like an enormous mountain to climb – but what I’m going to share with you will give you a real head start.
Like many issues that start in our minds, awareness is the first step to positive thinking.
Step 1: Know you have a choice
Negative thoughts might feel like they have a life of their own, but they really don’t. In fact, they’re a bad habit – but one that often stems back to our early childhood or earliest relationships.
At the moment, you might not feel like you have any control over these thoughts – but you need to understand one important thing:
Your mind is not in charge of you; you are in charge of your mind!
The first step in reframing and repatterining your thoughts is reminding yourself of this whenever needed. Without these reminders, you can feel like a victim of your own head – just having to put up with what it’s doing. I wrote my reminder in dry-erase marker on my bathroom mirror, and I said it out loud whenever I saw it.
Of course, what worked for me won’t necessarily work for you, so it’s worth trying a few different techniques until you find one that fits for you. If you’re looking for inspiration, my book, “Mastering Affluence” is a great companion while you’re building your self-worth; there are countless techniques within that I’m certain will help you move forward.
At this stage, you shouldn’t be expecting any magic quick fixes. Instead, focus on just realigning your thoughts whenever you can. It only gets easier with time.
Step 2: Hold Your Neurovascular Points and Acknowledge You Have Power
Step 1 of the process could feel like a real breakthrough moment that immediately makes sense. Then again, it could be something that takes time to fully appreciate.
Either way, acknowledging that you have a choice will sooner or later require you to make that choice. So, now’s the time to decide what’s going to replace the negative thoughts you’ve held for so long.
If you can, find somewhere you can be free of distractions for a few minutes. Now, reach up to just above the middle of your brows and apply gentle pressure with the first, second, and maybe third finger from each hand. These are your Neurovascular Points and stimulating them in this way draws blood to the frontal lobe – the part of the brain responsible for positive thoughts.
You might need to apply this pressure for 2-3 minutes, but as you do, you’ll start to feel a shift – and sometimes a slight light-headed feeling. Now, speak this statement:
“I now choose to think positively.”
Slight variations are fine, but speak your truth clearly – and mean it when you make that choice.
Now, negative thoughts don’t necessarily run through our whole life, so zeroing-in on your most common negative thoughts is a good idea here too. For instance, you might have negative thought patterns that relate to money. If this is the case, a mantra like “I’m attracting more and more money into my life, and I’m a wise steward of the money I have.”
Doing this might seem alien to begin with – especially since these are attitudes that you might not yet fully embody. However, our thoughts are the filters through which we see the world – so when you actively reprogram them like this, you begin to live with these positive thoughts at your very core.
Remember – most of us have a long history of negative thinking to counteract. As such, you might need to repeat this process numerous times each day – but it’s quick and simple, and it’s going to make an enormous difference to your life.
Four Other Helpful Tips to Train Your Mind to Stop Negative Thought Patterns
I can’t understate the value that you’ll find in this simple two-step technique. When you understand that you can choose a more positive outlook, you’re taking meaningful steps towards a life many people just never imagined they could have.
Don’t be afraid to experiment a little too. While it’s important to keep the two main steps, you might decide you want to add some of these other practices that reinforce the positive work you’re doing:
If words don’t feel enough, you might decide to visualize yourself acting out the mantras you’ve decided upon. Research shows that our brains consider imagery as an equivalent to real-life action, so your future actions have an example to follow.
Write and destroy
If you want to say goodbye to negative thoughts, write them down then rip them up, burn them, shred them, or screw them up. Again, the action turns thought into reality, cementing the fact that these thoughts have no place in your life.
‘Just because’ affirmations
For some people, it’s important to understand that our past doesn’t dictate our future, so why not adjust our affirmations to reflect this? For instance, “Just because I’ve had a difficult relationship with food before, doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy healthy eating in the present moment.” Since you’re repeating some negativity, it’s important to fully breath out after you’ve recited the line that’s right for you – exhaling negative thoughts completely.
There’s a lot to be said for the company we keep. If you find yourself surrounding yourself with people who keep your negative thoughts locked in, why not share your positive journey with them? If they’re not at the right place for it right now, then putting some space between you and negative people can help you break ingrained habits.
A Brighter, More Positive Future
It might sound overly simple – but there’s tremendous power in just acknowledging the possibility of change, then bringing that change into your life with positive affirmations.
The truth is, it’s not a simple process – there’s complex psychology at play that’s undoing years or even decades of negativity. You’re not alone in this negativity either, it’s a part of millions of peoples’ lives – but it’s a part that you can change.
If you’d like to find the affirmations and techniques that will work for you, take my healing quiz and sign up for a free trial at my Healing Center!When you do, you’ll qualify for a reduced-price copy of my “Mastering Affluence” book at the same time – a combination that I’m absolutely certain will steer your life towards the happiness and fulfillment that you deserve.