The Power of Negative Thinking

I haven’t written in a while. Not because I don’t want to write; not because I haven’t tried to write; and not even because I have nothing to say. I haven’t written because the words can’t seem to funnel out of my head, through my fingers and onto the page! It is discouraging!

The Power of Negative Thinking

I chalked it up to writers block or perhaps, just being unfocused. Then today in one fell-swoop Jenn hit the nail on the head when she said ‘Can you just say ONE positive thing!’

It’s true I’ve been on the negative bandwagon for the last week or so!

Many years ago I remember reading that humans only use 10% of their brain power. I have since learned that this isn’t true but the fact remains that the human mind is a wonderful and amazing thing. I often wonder where my feelings and thoughts; my experience of negative or positive emotions; or my encouraging or discouraging interactions with others come from. It seems to me that there are times when my brain acts on it’s own to flip a switch from positive to negative in a matter of seconds.

But if we do not control our thoughts, who does? If we are not masters of our emotions, who is? If we cannot choose our words carefully, then who can?

Can you really just put a happy face on it? Yes You Can!

I find for me that there are two huge factors that get in the way of my positive! They are:

1 Obsessing about the past

Life’s full of woulda, coulda, shoulda moments….let them go and focus on what you can change today!

2 Dwelling on the future

Yep, stuffs gonna happen! If you can control it or fix it get on it….if not worrying ain’t going to fix it!

It’s hard to do things in the past or the future. Go ahead and try it. (I’ll wait)

You can not change what you wore in 1980? You can not plan for everything that might happen in the future (you can plan for some things but not everything) If you find that you’re caught up in wishing you could change the past or worrying about the future, STOP IT!

Tell your thoughts you’ll get back to them later. And go do something that makes you feel good. Do something positive for someone else.

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Stop the Insanity

Do you ever go through those times when you feel as if the whole universe is against you? Me too! In August 2010 I wrote five tips for what to do when everyone’s against you. Today I went back to read the tips hopeful to glean some insight and inspiration. :\

So, I feel as if I have walked into the weekend from hell! It started Friday morning, continued to Friday afternoon and evening. So naturally, I thought things come in threes – Morning, Afternoon and Night – I’m done, let the good times begin! But regrettably the universe isn’t finished with me and as I sit here on Sunday night pontificating, the fun is still happening (seriously my dog is spewing from both ends – send prayers).

So I have done what every good google guru does, I googled ‘what to do when everything is going wrong’. And I discovered this wonderful article of good tips by Archie Dobbins called Staying Sane When Everything is Going Wrong. In it Archie gives ten tips – I’ll share a few of them with you (the ones I am trying right now):

1: STOP! Breathe in deeply, and slowly, hold for a few seconds, then slowly breathe out. Do this 3 times. This will prevent hyperventilation, you know, the short, rapid breaths and the elevated heartbeat and temperature.

2: GET AWAY! Try to get away from the source of irritation. If you can’t escape to a quiet place for five minutes, try just sitting down with your eyes closed. This will lower the amount of stimulus to the brain.

3: REMEMBER! Who are you, really. Deep down inside, away from the clutter of your fast paced life, there is the person that you see yourself as. Maybe it is when you were in a certain grade in school, and you felt the best about yourself, maybe it was after winning, perhaps it is as you see yourself in the mirror now. Whatever is the best image you have of yourself, close your eyes and see it.

4: AFFIRM! Don’t be afraid to say to yourself, “I’m OK. I am a good person. I deserve to be loved. I love others, and I am good for them. I am feeling better, already.

5: CHOOSE! How the day goes from here is your choice. Expect the best. It beats the alternative.

Archie then suggests that you ‘reward yourself.’ So in that spirit, I’ve now eaten a sleeve of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies. The world should be better soon!

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I hear what you’re saying, do you?

I spent some time with my friend Dorrie this past weekend.  We enjoyed some fresh shrimp and a blazing fire pit on a chilly fall evening. Dorrie is one of those people I just enjoy spending time with; she’s intelligent, funny, and the kind of friend who will and does go out of her way to help. Dorrie is a little over weight and she constantly makes reference to the fact that she never walks anywhere, she waddles. She constantly makes reference to her ‘fat butt’ or calls herself rotund.

For years, I have considered that Dorrie has been hurt by other people’s comments about her size and she was taking the strike first approach. She would say it before anyone could even think it. However, this weekend I realized that it has become so ingrained in Dorrie’s vernacular that it does not matter to whom she is speaking. Close friends or strangers we all are treated to Dorrie’s size comments.

Like many of us, Dorrie has spent so much time putting her self down that is it now an automatic response. I suspect that if I were to ask Dorrie for a self description her size would be top of the list, or be doggone close. You see the negative self speak has become so strong that she can no longer differentiate.

What negative things are you saying about you? What have you said so many times that you no longer notice what you’re saying?

Today I challenge you to make a list of those negative things you tell yourself. Write them out. Spend the entire day listening to what you are saying…and make the list.  Tonight when the sky turns to dusk take your paper and burn it. Once the ashes have become black, bury them. Let go of your entire negative repertoire of sayings. Then take out a fresh sheet of paper and begin a list of all your positive qualities. Keep this sheet with you, in your purse, your pocket, wallet or anywhere you can reference it often.

Change the words you are feeding your brain and see how you change your life.


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Stop Sabotaging Your Mood

Want to solve a problem? You can improve your problem solving skills by inducing a positive mood. If you can get yourself to a positive mood, you can improve your cognitive flexibility. Sound crazy?  A 2010 study in Psychological Science shows that inducing a positive mood can improve one’s cognitive flexibility.

The question then is how do you get into a good mood and how do you stay there?

Probably if you really thought about it, you could find the ‘trigger’ got most bad moods. Perhaps your spouse spoke sharply to you or you were unable to fit into your favorite outfit due to the five pounds you recently gained.  Consider in these examples the role that your thoughts play in all this. It wasn’t the event that was the root of your mood, it was the conversation you had with yourself related to the event.

You can learn to take responsibility and learn how to process information differently–in a more positive light.

Below is a video of Dr. Darryl Cross, an Executive and Personal Coach as well as a clinical psychologist.   In the video, Dr Cross explains how we get ourselves into this negative self-talk mess and more importantly he is even going to explain an exercise to get you thinking positively within in two weeks.

To be successful and mange and minimize negative self-talk you must:

1)     Become aware of your negative self-talk.

2)     Understand the origin of your negative self-talk and the mechanisms behind.

3)     Practice exercises that will slowly re-program you to process information in a positive light.


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Do you have Brave thoughts?

In July of 2011 I wrote a post about tuning in and listening to the words you use when you talk to yourself.  The title was You are Exactly what you Think and I am in need of a refresher. Want to know who you are? Tune in to the conversation inside your head. Your thoughts accurately reflect who you think you are.

I read a statement last week that said something to the effect that the worst thing someone could say to us in an argument is something we already fear (or know) to be true.  The voices in our head know the truth.  The voices know if we are procrastinating. They know when we lie (to ourselves or others). The voices also know how to trick us into believing untruths about ourselves.  This, my friend is where it all gets tricky; because our minds can spin an event to the positive or to the negative.

Does your mind always spin to the negative? Do you take every event and put yourself in the most negative position?

The good news is – you can change!

Sure, you learned a habit. Perhaps it came from your parents. Perhaps it is a defense mechanism. Why you developed it isn’t as important as discovering how you can change. It is time to embrace the new and improved (i.e. positive) you!

What I want to you start for this week is to begin a regimen of saying good things to yourself.

Make sure they are positive statements, not negatives masquerading as positives. For example, ‘I won’t be negative’ is a negative statement masquerading as a positive.

Ten times each day make a positive statement to you (and mean it). You will feel better about yourself by weeks end. Because you are what you think you are…think yourself into a more positive you!

Here are a few statements to get you started:

  • I’m making progress.
  • I can handle this.
  • I’m willing to try.
  • I am in control of this.
  • I am excellent at … writing/singing/problem solving
  • I have a fantastic … mind/talent/ability with people
  • I keep trying.
  • I’ll get it.

Tomorrow we’re going to talk about positive problem solving. So come back tomorrow.


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Do you control your thoughts or do your thoughts control you?

“A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.” ~ Hugh Downs

The world around you may have control of parts of your life. You may have to meet the demands of an employer. Your obligations to family or Church or any number of other organizations may demand your time. Nevertheless, you are the captain of your thoughts. You and you alone control your mental attitude.

Will you remain a slave to negative thoughts? Will you become the master of a positive mental attitude? The choice really lies solely in your hands. No one else can control your thoughts. No one can determine your reaction.

Napoleon Hill Said ‘When you control your attitude toward events, you control the eventual implication of those events.’

Choose today. Are you a slave or a master?


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