Negative thoughts are automatic and creep in without much of our control. Happy or sad though can generate different physiological responses in our body. Try this:
Think about a sad memory. How are you feeling? What are your physiological and bodily responses?
Now switch to a joyful memory. Think about every single detail of that event if you can remember. How are you feeling?
Now, were your responses different? Did you notice any change in your bodily responses?
Our negative thoughts are triggered by a cue from an environment, an event, and then our beliefs and our interpretation of that belief creeps in and will change the meaning of that event. A neutral event for someone could end up being a disastrous event in someone’s head.
One feature of negative thoughts is that they are hard to shake. They stay longer and we have a tendency to ruminate them over and over. So that is why without much conscious control, they come and will be circulated in our brain. As a result, we will easily dismiss positive things around us.
If we let our thoughts win over us, it is as if we give our credit card information to a stranger on a street! Strange right? OUr negative thoughts will end up robbing us of success, enjoying our life to the fullest, and taking risks that could bring us opportunities and success.
What to do?
What can we do to first, identity our negative thoughts and second, stop them at the right time.
We have different types and each needs to be talked to differently. We need to track them and see what thought is more dominant in our head first. Then, talk back to them. We provide a 5-step framework to help with questioning your thoughts. Head over to Neuroacer to learn more about these strategies in our online program. Here are a few steps we practice to control our negative thought:
Do you have evidence that this thought is true?
How does this thought make you feel?
what would happen if you didn’t have this thought?
Write them down and bring counter-evidence. Do not buy into your negative thinking easily!
Practice micro habits that could help with strengthening your positive thinking muscle. For instance, talk about what went well during the day at the dinner table or practice gratitude that could help you to notice positive things around yourself.
Stay tuned for more tips on negative thinking at Neuroacer!