“It is not always easy for a man to trace the inward path by which he reaches his own conclusions; so much of the working of the mind is subconscious” Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary (1905-1916)
Our past thoughts, feelings, behaviours and actions establish certain patterns that we often repeat time after time because they seem quite natural. If these patterns are grounded in negative attitudes, fears, anxieties and doubts, then we are held back by these invisible chains that we have built for ourselves. They have the effect of limiting our beliefs, behaviours and actions, even though we don’t realise they are there. Conversely, patterns that lead us to positive attitudes, to enjoy life’s challenges and to believe in our own abilities, encourage beliefs, behaviours and actions that propel us to winning and successful outcomes in the future. For example, the self-disciplined individual focusses on the 20% of the high value activities that yield 80% of the desired outcomes.
A self-doubting person who focuses on negative thoughts and emotions will retreat in life and be influenced by external factors and people. To overcome negative thoughts you need to look fearlessly at your own emotions and face up to negative thoughts. You can then establish new and better systems of thought that will become habitual after you practice them each day for at least 20 days.
Following are some simple action steps you can take today to overcome negative thoughts and emotions:
- Take responsibility for your own life – You are the master of your own destiny. Take control of your own life and become proactive in designing your future.
- Surround yourself with positive people - There too many people around who are always negative (Black Hat thinkers). Take a moment to observe their lives, which are full of doom and gloom, and they always blame someone or something else for their situation. Seek out people who are positive, passionate, optimistic and successful. Take note that you generally become the average of the four to five people you associate with the most.
- Challenge your negative thoughts – Confront your negative thoughts by taking a piece of blank paper, writing down your negative thoughts, asking why you have those thoughts, and if you don’t have a valid answer tear up the sheet of paper and physically throw the negative thoughts in the bin. The physical action of capturing the negative thoughts on paper and then disposing of those thoughts can be very relieving.
- Change your thoughts from negative to positive – It is easy to think of everything in a positive tone. For example, instead of thinking to yourself, “Today I will make sure I do not feel negative”, turn the tone into a positive thought, “Today I will be positive and optimistic and take control of my life”.
- Use positive affirmations to change your state of being and your mindset – You can create a list of positive affirmations that you read daily or you can read positive quotes on your computer, mobile phone or from a list you post on the wall.
- Daily gratitude – Be thankful for what you have received and what you have achieved in life. List five things that you are grateful in life and read them every day when you wake up in the morning. It’s amazing what effect this activity can have on your life.
- Positive visualisation - Every evening before you go to sleep or early in the morning when you wake up, breathe deeply, relax your body, remove all thoughts from your mind (achieving a meditative state), and then concentrate hard on visualising your desired positive state. Picture yourself achieving the outcomes you desire in your work or personal life.
Make it a positive focus!
Dr John Kapeleris