7 WAYS TO STOP NEGATIVE THINKING

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um-110210-emailMy husband recently attended a meditation where the teacher was asked what he had to give up to become a Buddhist. He answered in a way that was both thought provoking and instructing. He said he didn’t give up family or friends. What he and other students of this practice gave up was negativity.

This struck me as such a wise practice, because it’s so easy to edge into negative thinking. Maybe it’s in the daily commute to work, or when you’re standing in line at the store, and the checker is going so slow, you just shake your head and wonder where they get these people! Then you’re at work and someone asks you a question, and you think why would they ask such a stupid question. Of course you never have negative thoughts about anyone in your family! Maybe just the one about how thoughtless they are because they don’t pick up their socks.

Why is negativity … well … so negative? My rule of thumb is that negative thinking leaves you feeling worse, stressed, and victimized by what’s going on. It can be a real drag on relationships as well as your happiness, and often shows up when you compare what’s going on with how it should be!

You can stop negative thinking in its tracks, before the tracks become grooves, and then ruts that you could have a hard time digging out of.
Here’s how. Apply these 7 practices immediately whenever faced with a negative thought before those thoughts can grow and impact your day.

  1. Play a counting game. Count how many negative thoughts you have each day. When you begin to notice the negativity you’re creating that surrounds any fact of the matter, you gain the power to change your thinking. Have fun with this. Don’t hold it against yourself. When you notice, you can eliminate the negative thought as well as the energy that accompanies it.
  2. Make up something positive. Laugh at how easy it is to be negative, and how fun it is to make up something positive. If you’re in a line and it’s going slow, instead of going negative, say, “This line is going slower than I’d like, I’m going to take advantage of this wait and do isometrics (breath out/stomach in)”, or “I’m going to notice all the people in line, and send a positive thought their way.” Or just be present, and you’ll find that any negativity about waiting disappears.
  3. Refuse to say a negative thought out loud. Just don’t do it. Take deep breaths instead. Be a force for thoughtful thinking versus reactive thinking, which is what negativity is. It’s a reaction to some stimulus. Notice what stimulates the negativity, and ask yourself why it upsets your peace of mind.
  4. Recognize that what you think is inside of your control. You are not at the effect of circumstances unless you want to be. I know it’s hard sometimes to rise above the fray, and not be swept along by negative thinking whether it’s your own thoughts, or the thoughts of others. Don’t let life become one negative thought after another. Thoughts are an act of creation. Create thoughts that bring joy.
  5. Remember that people can’t read your mind. They don’t know what you’re thinking. So if you have a complaint or concern, don’t let it build a head of steam. Instead make a request. What’s required to do that? You have to know what you want. Not how you want someone else to be or not to be, but what you want from the relationship, job, situation, or person.
  6. Take a walk in nature. There’s nothing else that puts negativity in perspective than a walk in a garden, or just stepping outside to view the sky, or take a deep breath. Go sit in a park and watch the hummingbirds or squirrels scamper from branch to branch. I guarantee you; it will change your perspective about what’s important.
  7. Go to generosity and civility instead of negativity. You’ll find that you’ll have the freedom to think and create rather than confining yourself to the limited point of view that negativity brings. Ask yourself these questions when negativity strikes: How can I be generous in this situation? What would be a civil act?

Through these 7 practices you’ll bring a greater generosity of spirit into the world as well as deepening your peace of mind moment to moment. You will be the antidote for the pull of negative thinking, and be a peaceful center that radiates good will.

My love goes with you as you work with this Uplifting Moment.

 

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