Contrary to popular belief, it’s your own thoughts, not the opinions of others, which influence your mood and consequently how you view yourself and the world around you. The great news is that once you’re aware of the power of your thoughts, you can be mindful of the thoughts which you give your attention to, and as a result of shifting your focus from negative to positive thoughts, you should start to see your life transform before your eyes.
Did you know that your mind is like a movie reel that is playing at a rate of around 2500 thoughts per hour? As the human brain is constantly processing a barrage of thoughts, you won’t be able to block out 100% of the negative thoughts which pop into your head, but being mindful of those negative thoughts allows you to just turn off that line of thinking and say to yourself, “Not today. We’re not going there today.” Just watch what your mind is thinking.
As an example, if you’re about to fly away on a vacation which you’ve been planning for the past few months, you may have a variety of thoughts running through your head. In all likelihood some thoughts may be negative, such as thoughts about having to get up at six a.m. to check in for your international flight, or thoughts about whether or not your suitcases will make it to your final destination. Our “thoughts” train will leave for your trip long before you do.
In the event of such a scenario, simply think of two positive thoughts, to replace each negative thought which enters your head. For example, if you find yourself worrying about how you’ll get by in a country where English isn’t commonly spoken, you can choose to think about the parts of your vacation which you’re looking forward to, such as making the most out of the tropical weather, and the feeling of pride you’ll feel when you successfully manage to order a coffee in a foreign language. It helps me a lot to think of everything as an adventure and a new learning experience. Having those negative thoughts pop into our heads is also a good time to just give thanks for all the great things in your life regardless of how small they may be.
Just as you can change the way you feel about an event, such as a vacation, by selectively choosing which thoughts you pay attention to, you can also increase your self-confidence by carefully selecting your thoughts. As an example, if a family member, friend, or acquaintance makes a joke which puts you down, you can choose to let their comment affect the way you feel about yourself or you can choose to believe in yourself by filling your mind with positive, inspiring
thoughts. Negative comments are usually how the person making them actually feels about themselves.
It’s about standing outside yourself and watching your thoughts. It enables you to be subjective and to find humor in some of the craziness of where our minds take us.
If you find your mind going on that negative train, then find a distraction if possible. You can alter your mood by going for a brisk walk or run, as exercise releases endorphins which encourage positive thoughts. Or if you’d prefer, you might be able to get rid of some of your thoughts by concentrating on a book or movie for an hour. You might be surprised at how unimportant some of the thoughts running through your head may seem after a relaxing break from your thoughts.
Another way to get into the habit of thinking inspirational thoughts is to leave positive notes for yourself around your home. As an example, you could write a few of your favorite motivational quotes on a series of Post-it notes and place them on your fridge, your bathroom mirror, and your bedroom wall. That way, you’ll get emotional reinforcement every time you see one. Eventually, as you get better at managing your thoughts, you won’t need your Post-it notes anymore as thinking positively will become an instinctual habit.
In conclusion, remember that your thoughts can be inspirational, or they may be negative and discouraging. So despite what you may have been led to think, it’s not your partner, your friends, your boss, or your family members who get to control your thoughts and your feelings. The only person who can change your mindset and your mood is you! So ensure to be mindful of the thoughts which you give power to and to take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings.