Recently I was asked to listen to what I said to myself on a regular basis, really listen. I was given a little notebook to carry around and jot down little snippets of what I was saying to myself. The premise was we all are much more negative thinkers that we realize. My first reaction was, “Me, I am not a negative thinker. I am a positive person.”
What is your first reaction when asked the question, “What kind of thinker are you?” What is the mind chatter you listen to on an hourly, daily, weekly basis? A person who is thinking negatively is someone who has thoughts that are worrisome, judgmental, guilt-producing, shaming, negative comparing, not good enough, , and generally blaming self for anything and everything. Do you fit in any of those categories? I know, you say, who doesn’t fit in any of those categories? The problem occurs when that becomes all the thoughts you have. Negative thinking is a bad habit and in your brain, it can become an addiction, because of the chemicals and energy levels it releases.
When was the last time you felt you were drawn into drama or been in a situation where you felt like the people around you stirred the emotional pot because of the drama that it creates? Different emotions emit different energy levels. Dr. Jeffrey Fannin, Ph.D has determined that the more positive emotions, love, joy, peace emit a higher frequency of energy. Principles of physics tell us that energy vibrating at a certain level attracts energy of the same kind. You have seen it in being drawn to other people of “kindred spirits.” Also if you are feeling angry, how many angry people seem to pop up in your life? Practice holding a positive emotion in your mind for 17 seconds, like gratitude, and see how your thinking changes. By practicing even this one step consistently, you will be on your way to changing your brain structure and how your brain thinks.
In the list below, what negative habitual patterns do you recognize and what positive habitual patterns would you like to work on?
- Judgments vs Describing What we actually see
- Half empty glass view vs Half full glass view
- Emotional reasoning (I feel bad so everything will be bad) vs Rational reasoning (I feel bad so I need to take care of myself
- Catastrophising (worst possible thing will happen) vs Staying in the day and taking things as they come
- Critical self (blaming self, putting self down for everything) vs compassionate self talk (I can do this, you are ok)
- Shoulds, musts vs coulds, wills
- All or nothing thinking vs everything in between
I told you I began writing down my snippets of mental chatter and discovered that I make evaluations or judgments about myself, others, events, the world ALL the time! Whew! No wonder I get anxious! I am so busy pointing fingers, especially as what I coulda, shoulda been doing. I need to get busy describing what I actually see and have evidence for and be more mindful of the positive choices I am making and stay in the day. My prayer will be:
Romans 12:2. “Let God transform you by changing the way you think.”
I look forward to sharing my journey of how God is transforming my thinking from a more negative pattern to a more positive pattern. My goal is to share tips with you as well as the ups and downs of developing new habits as He helps me rewire my brain. I am officially retired from my educational consulting job now so I can devote more time to you, my self care and my family. I am looking forward to the journey.
If you would like to join the challenge of moving from negative to positive thinking and reduce your anxiety, join my private Facebook page LiveFullyNowFriends and we can continue the conversation of what it means to make these types of positive thinking pattern changes. Working together we can make healthy, positive changes. I look forward to hearing from you.