Through the years, songwriters have written about how important it is to avoid negative thinking and focus on the positive. As emulated in popular songs from previous times such as: “Accentuate the Positive”, ”Sunny Side of the Street”, and “Put on a Happy Face”, to more recent songs such as: Pharell Williams’ “Happy”, and Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”, no one appears immune to having negative thoughts and experiencing feelings of the blues. The question of nature vs. nurture can be debated as to why some people always tend to go to a negative thought first; however, it is more important to focus on ways to become a more positive thinker than it is to figure out why. And for those that will argue that negative thinking has been a part of their life for as long as they can remember, please know that the more you practice positive thinking the more habitual and natural it will become. Here are some tips to help in becoming a more positive thinker:
- Start by writing down the recurring negative thoughts you have.
- Challenge those thoughts with at least one positive statement, Make the effort to add to this list even if you do not believe it will happen or apply to you.
- Visualize positive things replacing the “not so positive thoughts you are having”.
- Be mindful of your thoughts before you act on them. Try to act on the positive thought you are having. Some people think negatively as a way of avoiding disappointment, believing if they do not have positive expectations they will not be let down. Others may be in a frame of mind where they have to search for positives, and unless someone prods them they can’t think of any positives. Focus! Focus! Focus!
- Try to step outside of yourself and act as if you were going to be making these choices for people you care about. Would you still be focusing on the “what ifs”, the “I cant’s” and the “never will happen to me” syndrome?
- Do some yoga, meditation and/or some physical exercise. Endorphins are real and need to be released. Releasing these endorphins WILL make you feel better.
- Make a play list of every positive song you can think of or research positive songs and put them on your playlist to listen to when you start feeling negative.
Remember that practice makes perfect. Just like brushing your teeth becomes second nature, so will going to a positive place with your thoughts. If you find that all your effort is not making a difference, it may be time to think about getting more professional assistance. Medication may also be an option. It may help get you past the depression you may be experiencing as a result of long-term negative thinking.
We feel what we think and we act as we feel. No one likes to be negative all the time. A professional can help.