One struggle I think many people have when looking to shift themselves into a more positive state of mind is their thoughts.
There are so many negative thought patterns that tend to bring us down. If you take a few moments and think about it, you may just realize that you’ve had more negative thoughts than you’d probably like to admit. Now out of those, how many of them are against yourself?
When we have negative thoughts against ourselves, it is pretty hard to be truly positive. How can we, after-all, be genuinely positive to others when we are having a hard time being positive to ourselves?
How can we counter-act that?
I think the first thing to do is to take steps to become more consciously aware of when we have negative thoughts. The reason to become more aware of negative thought patterns is because it is when we are fully and consciously aware of an undesirable behavior that we can change it.
So the question now is how can we become more aware of ourselves?
One way is to freewrite. If you are not familiar with this concept, feel free to review our Internal Communication post that explains freewriting.
Another way is to ask those who are closest to you and spend the most time with you to point out negativity from you when they see it or hear it. This helps give you an accountability partner (or partners), if you will. If you know someone is going to call you on it, then you may just start thinking twice before thinking, saying, or doing that negative act. The other part about this method is that it can also help you realize when negativity comes from you thereby helping you become more aware of yourself. There are, after-all, a lot of things we do that we are not even consciously aware of. This can help bring those things into your conscious awareness thereby allowing you to take action to change that behavior and even learn things about yourself.
If you don’t want to share this with an accountability partner, but still want a simpler alternative than freewriting for another keep-it-to-yourself exercise, then you could start a count on an otherwise anonymous sheet of paper. No-one needs to know what it is for except for you, and you don’t even need to label it. If anyone asks you what you are counting, you can just say that you need to keep track of something. All you’d need to do is put “tick” marks on the sheet any time you catch yourself thinking, acting, or saying something negative. The main point of this exercise is to honestly reduce the number of tick marks you have every day.
What Matters Most
No matter what method(s) you choose, just remember to be honest with yourself. Though that can sometimes be the hardest thing of all to master, keep in mind that doing so is how you will make progress.
And there may be times that you feel as though you are sliding downhill and not always making steady, solid progress. When that happens, compare your results now from where you started from and take the opportunity to congratulate yourself for all the progress that you have made. If necessary, write out a list of accomplishments so you can see that you really have made a difference.
Remember too that the positive differences in you also positively affect others around you in ways you may not even realize.
In the end, how positive or negative we are is up to us. Though tempting as it may be, we cannot blame anything or anyone else for being more negative than we may want to be. The important part is realizing that we really can change that within ourselves to become genuinely positive.
Now, if you would like even more ideas on living a more positive lifestyle, check out our 10 Every-Day Steps To Become More Positive post!
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