I know I've covered this subject before in my posts but it's such a prevalent issue in almost every one of us. I've mentioned before a mental exercise that involves recording down your thoughts throughout a 24 hour period and then reviewing them at the end of the day. Few people carry through this exercise long enough to actually make any improvements. They do it for one day and then quit, not another thought about it. They buy into the false belief that there is no way to control it, so they continue in their daily mental habit of looking more at the negative side of things instead of the opposite.
Seems as though you've done it for so long it's a natural part of who you are. Why even bother with it? You've gotten along just fine as it is, right? What's the purpose of doing the exercise mentioned in the above paragraph you may ask. Well, the purpose is to become more aware of your thoughts throughout the day. Are they mainly negative or are they more positive? Whichever one they are largely determines your quality of life. Are you aware of how much percentage of time you spend criticizing yourself, or others? How often have you argued back with someone who compliments you? How many times have you beat yourself up for not getting something right, or something you said to someone?
How many truly positive people do you know or come across daily? Pay attention to it when you converse with others. Really listen to the words they use. Try to notice how it makes you feel when someone is talking negatively, either about themselves or life itself. Take note of how you feel when you talk negatively about anything.
Another exercise to try that can help you get control over your negative mental chatter is to practice replacing negative words with positive ones, example:
- I made a mistake becomes I learned a valuable lesson
- I'm such a failure becomes I'm learning new things with each adventure
- I'm so afraid of what will happen becomes I'm very curious as to what will unfold
- I have to go to that appointment becomes I get to go to that appointment
- I hate it when someone does that becomes I prefer that someone not do that
- I just feel so overwhelmed becomes I'm really feeling a sense of challenge
- I'm feeling really sad becomes I'm just sorting my thoughts
- This is just terrible news becomes this is different
- I really feel awful about what I said becomes I'm aware of what I said
- I'm depressed becomes I'm on the path to enlightenment
How much more do you think you could accomplish in your life if you changed the negative mental chatter within into positive chatter? Notice how you makes you feel when you replace a negative word with a positive one. Using more positive words gives you a feeling of lightness while the negative ones feel extremely heavy.
It's not that difficult to make this kind of change in your life. It only requires that you desire to do so. The next time you catch yourself using a negative word, stop and notice how you feel, then consciously change that word into a positive one, notice the difference. It can be quite a noticeable difference if you choose to pay attention to it. When you choose to hang onto the false belief that this is something you can not change in yourself, you set yourself up to attract even more negativity in your life. You shut yourself off to new ideas and close the door to opportunities.
I continue to work on this issue in my life, and to this date I have made such a huge transformation from my former negative days. I'm including a list I made several months ago when I was practicing the exercise I talked about in the beginning. It reads this way:
- Your hair looks absolutely awful
- Just look how fat you've gotten through your hips
- Oh, that was so dumb, why did I have to say that to them
- Everyone is looking at me and thinking I'm an idiot
- You look terrible today
- You're so frumpy and old looking
- You look so unappealing
- I feel like crap today
- Look at you, your middle aged and haven't done much of anything with yourself
- They're thinking something negative about me, I can tell
- They think I'm annoying, they're just ignoring me
- Why did they laugh when I passed by
- Maybe these shoes look stupid with what I've got on
- I wish I wouldn't do things like that
- I'm so sick of this heat, I hate this kind of heat
That's a little example of the negative thinking I've been accustomed to my whole life. Even though most of my posts are in the positive, I still struggle with the negative self talk, just as we all do. This is something I discipline myself to work on consistently. It takes work, but I have decided that it's worth it. It just feels better to work on improving myself in every area than it does to be lazy with it all. Sure, it's a lot easier to say "who cares, do whatever is easiest," but does how does it honestly feel deep within? To me, it feels heavy, and somewhat of a gnawing feeling. There's always that part of you that is all knowing, knows what is in your best interest. That's your true self, the part of you that is always connected to your higher power, which for me is God. I daily work on becoming more in tune with that part of me, and I have to say that every day I notice myself becoming more calm, happier, content and able to accept things as they are a lot easier than before I started practicing this.