The first indicator that you’re experiencing a negative thought is the way you feel. If you wake up feeling crappy or as you’re going about your normal everyday activities you find yourself feeling low, down, irritated, angry or upset (among others), the chances are that you’re experiencing a negative thought.
Now some people would just tell you to think a positive thought instead and get on with it but for anyone who’s tried this, you’ll know it’s not that easy. When you’re feeling upset, angry, agitated or down the hardest thing to do is try and replace that thought with a more positive one. More often than not, the more you try – the more you just enhance those negative feelings. Unless you know the reason behind a negative thought, it’s very difficult to just switch it to a positive one.
With this in mind, we’ve created 6 easy and simple steps below to help you turn any negative thought into positive action within a matter of minutes!
Why your thoughts are so important
Who cares if you have negative thoughts? We all have them some time or another, right?
Negative thoughts only become problematic when they drive negative behaviours. We’re not talking about obvious kind of negative behaviours like excessive drinking or violence. We’re talking about the small stuff you do. Or more importantly, the small stuff that you don’t do but should.
We’re talking about the self-sabotaging behaviours that lie beneath the surface. The ones that you’re not probably not even aware of. The behaviours that come from feelings of not being good enough or worthy enough. They show up when you’re scared to meet new people or you’re afraid to go outside of your comfort zone. When you’re terrified of public speaking or when you get anxiety about travelling. We’re talking about these small but significant negative behaviours that hold you back from living the life you deserve.
How to overcome negative thoughts
The problem with negative thoughts is that until you confront them, they’ll just keep swirling around in your head making you feel worse and worse. Not only that but they’ll continue to drive behaviours that hold you back.
The only way to get rid of a negative thought is to confront it head on, in all it’s glory. This in itself can be a pretty uncomfortable experience but what we can promise is that by the time you reach step 6, you’ll be feeling a whole lot better and clearer about how you want to live your life.
We’ve been working through this process with many of our clients and have had fantastic results. So, if you’re ready to be free of negative thoughts, lets get started!
Step 1: What’s your negative thought?
This is your space to be brutally honest with yourself. Those things you wouldn’t tell a soul – this is the place to jot them all down (just make sure you keep this document somewhere safe and secure).
If you’re not feeling great right now, sit down and think about what’s been floating around in your head. What are you thinking? Have you just heard some good news about a friend and while you’re happy for them, for some reason you feel down? Or do you keep thinking that you can’t do something? Are you nervous or afraid of doing or wanting something? Are old conversations playing in your head? Are you feeling anger towards a parent or spouse? Are you doubting yourself? Whatever it is that you’re feeling – ask yourself what the thought behind it is.
We’ll be working through the following example as part of these steps:
Step 2: Why are you thinking this thought?
OK, so now we’ve got that negative thought out of your head and onto some paper (or the screen). Lets figure out why you’re thinking it! Something has clearly happened for this thought to pop up in your head?
What has lead you to think this thought? You arrived here somehow. What was the trigger?
Step 3: What’s the belief behind this?
This is perhaps the most difficult part of this process. Your belief about yourself is the whole reason that these negative thoughts are cropping up. Your belief system is the engine that’s driving your entire being.
Your beliefs are likely to fall into one of the following categories:
a. Self worth/ approval – this usually boils down to believing that you’re not good enough or worthy enough
b. Safety /security – do you believe that you’re under threat in some way? That you don’t feel safe?
c. Control – do you believe you have a lack of control in this situation? Like things are just out of your hands?
d. Connection/ love – do you believe that you’re not loved enough or at all? Do you love yourself enough to think highly of yourself?
Continuing with the example above, we now have this:
Step 4: Is this belief really true?
Come on. Be honest. Is this really 100% true? You might be on such a downer about yourself and your life right now that your first instinct is probably to say ‘yes’. But we want you to really think hard about this.
Is there any shred of evidence (even a minuscule piece) that at some point throughout your entire existence where you can say that this belief wasn’t/ isn’t true? Dig deep here people.
If the belief is not 100% true, even if it’s 99.99% true – move to step 5.
If you’re struggling with either step 3 or 4, drop us an email or give us a call free and we’ll help you work through this process. There’s no way we’re buying that this belief is 100% true about you!
Step 5: What do you want to think or believe instead?
Ahh, finally some light at the end of the tunnel. Now it’s the fun part.
Ok, so what we’ve figured out so far is why you feel crappy, what the negative thought that’s running through your head is, why that thought is there and what the belief behind that thought is. Most importantly of all, we’ve discovered that that belief is not 100% true – which means it isn’t true. End of.
So if this belief about you isn’t true – what is? The world is your oyster here. You can think or believe anything you want to now we know your belief was bullshit. Go crazy here, what do you want to think or believe about yourself instead?
What you write down in this section can become your own personal affirmation because it resonates with you specifically. Affirmations tend not to work if they are not aligned with your belief system. The beauty of this process is that we’re building a new belief, a belief YOU’VE chosen to have.
I want to believe that I do deserve good things.
I want to believe that I am worthy of good things
I want to believe that I am good enough
I want to believe that I am doing well in life because, I am. I’m being too hard on myself.
If this doesn’t feel right to you just yet, simply start each affirmation or new belief with“I am in the process of believing… ”
I am in the process of believing that I deserve good things.
And every day in every way, I believe more and more that I deserve good things
Step 6: How are you going to do achieve this?
They (the people in the know) say it takes 21 days to create a new habit. So why not try your new affirmations for 21 days? Repeat them any time you notice yourself feeling that low crappy feeling that lead you to this process.
Aside from affirmations, there are also a number of other ways you can think or believe what you’ve chosen. What’s your action plan?
How are you going to show yourself that you do, for example, deserve good things? Now you have this new belief and these new thoughts, how are you going to prove to yourself that they are true? This could be in a number of ways. If you truly believed you deserve good things, what would you do? Treat yourself? Put yourself first? Pamper yourself? Speak up for yourself? How would you behave and interact with people if you truly believed you deserved good things? How would dress? Walk? Talk?
Even if you just have one action point, you have something to build on and work with.
Once you have an action plan of what you need (and want) to do – get out of your head and start ticking those things off!! Not tomorrow, but today, right now! Go treat yourself, walk taller, carry yourself based on your new belief system. Prove it to yourself!
By the end of this process, your spreadsheet should look something like this: A simple process of following the thought….
We recommend you hold on this log of your thoughts. The more evidence you have that your beliefs aren’t actually as true as you thought they were, the easier you’ll find it to overcome negative thoughts/ beliefs in the future.
So, how do you feel about that negative thought now?
We’d love to hear how you got on with this process. Please leave a comment or contact us directly. Also, if you’d like a FREE copy of our ‘follow your thought’ spreadsheet, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get it emailed over to you asap.
We have extensive experience of helping clients overcome deep rooted negative beliefs in just one or two sessions. Find out more about how we’ve helped our clients here.