How To Overcome Negative Thoughts and Embrace Positive Thinking

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Here is another  of my top 5 best strategies I have used with clients. These are my own unique strategies I created by combining some of the most effective coaching and counselling techniques I have worked with over the years.

I want to share one of the strategies I have used in the past – and still use occasionally –  when I need to recognise, prevent and overcome  negative thoughts and feelings.

Do you have times in your life- or even days when you find yourself thinking thoughts such as….

I’ll never be able to do that!”

“I should have done it differently”

“I’m sure they talking about me”

“Its already far too late to ….

And the list could go on and on.

Here’s a confession … I’ve experienced all of these thoughts during my darkest days and verbalised them many times. And every time I spoke them out, my self confidence dropped another notch and my self esteem plummeted. My thoughts and words reinforcing my negative self image, causing me to procrastinate and become stuck in a world of disbelief and doubt in my abilities, unable to move on.

As we go about our daily life it is so easy to fall into this negative way of thinking and reacting, and then we risk them becoming habits that have a real effect on your life.

Fortunately I discovered a strategy that I still employ today if a bout of negativity surrounds me. And it has worked for my clients as well who have a harsh inner critic, are feeling stressed and anxious, or who wrestle with low self esteem.

Using this strategy I call “Garbage Monsters“, I believe anyone who has the desire to, can break free from negativity for good. It has worked for me and others as well – so there is no reason why it will not work for you too – if you give it a try!

In a nutshell, here is my “Garbage Monsters ” strategy. When I am working with clients I explain this in far greater detail so clients understand the process and can immerse in it fully.

1 # Recognise and become aware of the negative thought pattern:

Those unhelpful, repetitive thoughts that cause you “negative” emotions such as anxiety, stress, fear shame etc. Notice how they affect you and influence your actions and behaviour. Become aware of the language your inner critic is telling you that you are thinking and probably  speaking out loud.

2 # Step back from those thoughts

Once you can recognise them – consciously  begin to step away from those disempowering thoughts. See the thoughts simply in your head and for what they really are – just thoughts! Not necessarily your reality – simply thoughts. When we can see them for what they are, then we do not take our thoughts on board and can step back from them. We have a choice in the way we respond to them.

3 # Become aware of the present moment

Negativity most often flows from dwelling on the past and ruminating over the mistakes you feel you made, the guilt or shame you may feel, or really anything in the past that upset you and did not work out the way you had hoped it should have  gone.

Alternatively the negativity may flow from worrying about the future – you stress and worry about what may- or may not happen. And most of the things you worry about never happen! In fact 80 – 85% of things we worry about never actually happen.

The past is gone, the future is not here, so the present is the only time and space you have control over. By becoming aware of the present moment, you can take a deep breath –  regain control of your thoughts and decide on the action you need to take to arrest the negativity.

This is the time I ask myself my “helpful questions for unhelpful thoughts” to mentally change my focus. I have a list of 6 questions to help reframe my mental focus – I usually just pick one question to hone in on, and that is enough to get me grounded again and feeling calm and empowered about the situation.

4 # Replace the thoughts with more pleasant ones and do something positive – take action!

Once the raging negative thinking has been stopped in its tracks, I can then focus on coming up with a solution to the problem/situation, or if it’s beyond my control, its time to just let it go! This is the time to do something that makes me feel happy. Taking action and doing something – anything – is the key because when we take action it has redirected the negativity away from our minds in a positive direction.

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Leave a comment below if you have a favourite way of dealing with those worrying thoughts that drag you down – I would love to hear about what you do. If you want to learn about my other top coaching strategies, click here