“Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed or offended. But what you’re doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness. You can choose to not let little things upset you.” ~ Joel Osteen
You’ve probably heard that one of the most common practices of successful people is positive thinking. But how easy is it to really make this a practice in your life?
Sure, you’ve probably had good days where you could keep your thoughts positive and empowering.
But what about those days when it just seems that nothing is going right and you can’t seem to keep the flies of negative thought from ruining your picnic?
If you’re curious about the solution to this dilemma, this simple yet powerful strategy might be just what you’re looking for.
Reframing Your Thoughts
The first key to stamping out negative thoughts fast is to accept that your thoughts not only influence your actions, but that they are also influenced by the actions which you take in response to them.
In other words, when you allow fear to take over and you act fearfully, that fear is only going to grow more and more powerful.
However, if you refuse to allow fear to push you to fearful actions, and if you choose acts of courage
instead, you’ll find that your fear will take on a new context: excitement.
Think about this: Biologically, fear and excitement aren’t any different. They both cause accelerated heartbeat, rapid breathing and a heightening of your physical senses.
Yet there is an enormous difference in the frame of mind that accompanies fear and that which accompanies excitement and that frame of mind is influenced by your experiences.
For example, if you fear rejection and choose to retreat into the privacy of your own thoughts, you’re only reinforcing what you fear through what psychologists call “self-rejection.”
On the other hand, if you choose to act in courage by either approaching that prospect or speaking to that member of the opposite sex whom you’re afraid of being rejected by, you give that fear a new context.
The more persistent you are in confronting your fear with acts of courage, the less like fear it will seem, and the more excitement you’ll feel.
This is the fastest and most effective way to stop negative thoughts. Now, in case you’re thinking that this sounds way too simple to be true …
Making the Switch
Have you ever changed your mind about something? Of course, you have … but what really changed? Most likely it wasn’t your mind, it was your actions … and those actions changed because your priorities changed.
In other words, you decided that NEW action was more important than your original action.
This is exactly the key to reframing your thoughts by taking new and empowering actions.
The next time you’re overwhelmed by worry or fear, or any other kind of negative thought, ask yourself this: “What action is this negative thought keeping me from taking?”
If the action is stupid or if you don’t have it planned out, then your “negative” thought might be completely valid. It might be telling you that you need to develop a more solid plan of action.
However, if the action is something which would be beneficial to you or someone you care about, redirect your focus to what’s really important.
Your thoughts and emotions are influenced by what you focus on, and the more you focus on what’s important to you, the fewer thoughts and feelings of fear and worry will hinder you when you try to take positive action.
You’ll also be more empowered to confront your negative thoughts with acts of courage, and those actions will reframe your thoughts.
TIP: The next time that you have a negative thought, stop and think about what that thought might be trying to tell you.
Most often, once you discover the source of your negative thoughts, they lose their power to influence you.
However, if you keep trying to bury them, you’ll miss the insight that they hold, and the more persistent they’ll become.