Do you often fear or focus on the worst? Go over and over negative events or talk yourself out of going for things that would be beneficial to you?
Perhaps you think expecting the best possible outcome is not realistic or likely to happen or that by doing this you’ll set yourself up for disappointment – so you ‘protect’ yourself by thinking of the worst. The fact is, negative thinking will make you feel worse.
There are no benefits to negative thinking – it’s an unhealthy habit that is self-perpetuating and difficult to stop once you gain momentum. It simply drains us of valuable life energy leaving us feeling depressed, tense, anxious or stressed.
Just spend some time with people who spend their time moaning or gossiping and notice how you feel…
Here are my 8 questions to help you start to challenge negative thoughts so you can clear and energize your mind to help you achieve more of what you want, instead of what you don’t!
1) Am I asking questions that have no answers?
Questions such as, “Why is this happening to me?” Why is life so unfair? What is the meaning of life?” Brooding over questions like these, keep you stuck and is a sure way to depress yourself. Instead, turn them into answerable questions that will move you forward in the right direction.
2) Am I fretting about the way things ought to be, instead of accepting and dealing with them as they are?
When we impose strict rules and expectations on people, situations, outcomes without flexibility then we contribute to our pain and suffering. A flexible and accepting approach is a winner’s attitude.
3) Am I assuming I can do nothing to change my situation?
Pessimism feeds depression. Resigning yourself to the thought that you are powerless to change things is a self-defeating belief that will only sap your energy and self-esteem. Turn your thought around and ask yourself: What three other perspectives can I take to view this situation?
4) Am I only paying attention to the black side of things?
Are you focusing on everything that is going wrong in the day and discounting all the positives, such as the moments you have enjoyed or things you have achieved?
5) Am I expecting myself to be perfect?
Are you setting unrealistically high expectations of yourself and judging your self-worth when you don’t achieve them? No one is perfect or can do everything perfectly all of the time. Striving for this false ideal will only exhaust you and sap the joy out the learning experience. Love, accept and approve of yourself as you are and know that good is enough.
6) Am I concentrating on my weaknesses and forgetting my strengths?
When people feel bad about themselves, they often overlook their strengths, qualities and natural talents. Appreciate yourself as a whole.
7) Am I thinking in only black and white, all-or-nothing terms?
Avoid words such as always/never, everyone/no-one, everything/nothing. Situations are rarely less clear-cut and people are rarely all-good or all-bad. Consider all the different shades in between.
8) Am I predicting the future instead of experimenting with it?
How many times have you tried to predict your future? Here’s a tip – leave it to the clairvoyants! People often tend to let their imaginations go wild and run through all kinds of worst-case scenarios. This only creates fear, anxiety and stress and that’s before anything’s even happened!
If the worst did happen, how could you deal with it? Give equal thought to the best possible outcome – people often forget this one! Step out of the future and into your present so you can approach life like a detective open to discovering new things. Keep reminding yourself that no matter what, you CAN handle anything! You have done already.
We all succumb to thinking traps from time to time – the most important thing is to catch yourself so you can change your mindset to your advantage instead of letting it take advantage of you!
Which of these thinking traps most affect you? Take positive action and challenge at least one of them over the next week. If you liked this post or found any of my tips helpful, join me on my Facebook page and share your thoughts with me. Follow me on Twitter to get regular tips and regular doses of inspiration.
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