If we spoke every thought and worry throughout the day, we’d mutter an unending stream of words from dawn to dusk. Imagine how destructive that would be!
Think of telling a coffee shop server you’ve never met, “You look like something the cat dragged in. I bet you haven’t slept in a week!” What would that do to your odds of getting your coffee fast and with a smile?
There’s a reason why we have the capacity to think before we speak. Take that a step further — we also have the capacity to choose what to think in the first place. It takes time and patience, but re-training how we think has beneficial effects on how we feel.
You may already know this, but many of your thoughts are not helpful. Negative inner chatter is common. Thoughts swing wildly from if I’d just get up five minutes earlier, then I’d get to work on time to I can’t do anything right! Having negative thoughts isn’t the problem; it’s the ratio of negative to positive thoughts that’s the problem. When nearly all your thoughts are negative and they flow in a constant stream, your body is sure to react.
It’s no wonder we don’t always feel our best.
There’s a consistent mind and body connection. When we’re in a good mood, we feel it, physically, too. When we’re in a bad mood, we may experience headaches, cramps, nausea, fatigue, digestive upset, etc.
To curb negative thinking, take action! Follow these preliminary steps:
1) Be aware. Pay attention to your negative thoughts. Write them down. List the words and phrases you hear the most. When looking at your list, what falsehoods do you find? The negative messages we repeat to ourselves are often untrue.
2) For each negative thought you’ve written down, think of a positive, and more accurate statement to counteract it. For example, replace I always say the wrong thing, with I have valuable and important things to say. By replacing negative statements with positive ones you’re prepared for the next time you begin to think negatively.
3) At the first inkling of a negative thought, create a physical response. Tell your thought process to STOP by taking a deep breath (connecting the mind and body) and then replace your negative thought with a positive one. This step creates a powerful physical reaction to your thoughts and provides a stopping point for the spinning thoughts that can trap you into negative thinking.
4) Add a repertoire of positive statements to your daily thoughts with cards, notes, and lists. Write down positive phrases, quotes, Bible verses, etc., that are meaningful to you. Keeping these positive messages around will help to re-frame your thoughts in a positive direction.
With practice, you can move forward with reducing and then eliminating negative inner chatter. How you think has everything to do with how you feel. So why not think your way toward feeling your best?
Do you have favorite thoughts, phrases, quotes or verses? Share them with the rest of us here!