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Training Your Mind to Think Positively?

The brain is a powerful tool. Every life experience marks a notch in our brain, with the ultimate goal of survival. Being happy and thinking positively aren’t things that come naturally to many of us, especially if we’ve allowed life, and external events, to determine our mood and attitude. 

 

The good news is you can train your mind to find that ray of sunshine, the light at the end of the tunnel, the good in any situation, if you give it the proper tools and apply them. If you find yourself thinking more on the negative side, keep reading. We will explore several ways for you to get control over your mind and think positively!

 

Understanding Negativity

 

First, we need to fully understand where all the negativity is coming from before we can stop it. Our minds take every situation and go into survival mode. The brain recognizes the difficulty in any given situation and provides you with the easiest and quickest way to get out of it. 

 

Then it locks in these painful memories and difficult situations and refers to them in times of stress, giving us a reference point on how to deal with what’s happening now. 

 

It’s automatic. It’s a pattern. This is unconscious  behavior, and it served our primitive ancestors well, keeping them safe from the many harms that availed them. And we allow it, because escape or avoidance is easier than going head-on into difficult times and persevering with positivity. 

 

We are assigning more power to the negative than positive. The recurring negative thoughts become second nature and it affects every aspect of our lives. It’s time to break the cycle and learn how to think positively!

 

Take Control of Your Thoughts

 

Easier said than done, right? Sometimes our thoughts just run rampant and we don’t even realize it. Before you know it you’re in a foul mood simply because you’ve let a negative thought sequence take over your entire mood. 

Acknowledge your thoughts. 

 

  • What are you thinking about right now? 
  • Are your thoughts causing you distress or supporting a happy disposition?

 

Pay attention to how your body is reacting to your thoughts. Be aware of how you are breathing, how your body feels and reacts to any given circumstance. 

 

You have the power to think about whatever you want. You have the ultimate say in where your mind goes and what you choose to focus on, be it good or bad. But first you have to acknowledge and take control. 

 

However, this does require some degree of conscious, mindful effort. As explained, our subconscious is dedicated to our survival. Stepping above that, to improving ourselves, and our attitude and perspective, requires engaging our conscious, thinking, rational mind.

 

Interrupt the Negative

 

When you pay attention to what’s on your mind, make a determination:

 

Is this thought supporting my goals and the overall attitude I want,

or is this thought hindering me?

If your thought is negative and you don’t want it to control your mind, interrupt it. It takes a bit of practice, but you’ll get it. In the beginning you’ll find your mind wandering back to the negativity, but gently and persistently interrupt that thought. 

 

Redirect and Reframe

Now that you’ve taken the negative thought and isolated it, it’s time to redirect and reframe. Turn this thought into something positive, no matter how difficult or mundane it may seem. From the simplest to the most complex, turn it around and force your mind to think about something positive in direct relation to this thought. 

For instance, you’re in line at the grocery store waiting for your turn to check out. Your mind starts wandering because you’re idle. You start thinking about a fight you had with your partner last night, and it didn’t end well. Your body responds and starts to tense up and your pulse increase. 

Now you are feeling upset and inpatient, and without realizing it you snap at the lady working the register because she’s not moving fast enough. 

You’ve given so much power to the negative thought! It has complete control and swallowed up any chance you had at being happy today. Now you feel defeated and like your entire day will be downhill from here on out.

Now try the same scenario this way:

  • Acknowledge the thought: Yes, there was an argument and I don’t like how it ended.
  • Interrupt: Stop! I’m not going to allow this negativity to have power over my day. 
  • Redirect/Reframe:  I can’t fix this right now, but I’ll be more compassionate when I get home and try to listen better. We will have a great night! 

You can do this with virtually any negative situation and find the good. Feeling the anger is easy. Put more effort into ways to fix the situation thus removing the power from negativity and replacing it with positivity. Again, it takes some practice but it will soon become second nature and you’ll be able to replace negativity with positivity without even trying!