Thoughts are real, physical structures that we build onto the neurons in our brain. Our brain is constantly changing as a result of our experiences and interactions with our environment, which is called neuroplasticity and epigenetics. We really do create matter out of mind!
Unchecked negative thinking causes damage because it upsets the electrical chemical and quantum balance of the brain as the tree-like toxic memories grow — a negative thought such as toxic stress literally looks like a gnarled thorn tree in the brain! This can affect the way we see our lives, thereby impacting what we think, say and do, as well as how we feel physically and mentally.
But if we have negative thoughts wired into our brain, we can wire them out through intentional choices and actions over the next 63 days (roughly the time it takes to build a new habit).
So, what are some ways you can overcome negative thinking?
In order to overcome negative thinking, you must first understand that whenever you think you are changing the physical structure of your brain. Ask yourself why you are thinking what you are thinking. Is it good for you? Should you be focusing on it? Write down these thoughts and develop an internal dialogue with yourself. This process is called self-regulation,and can help you organize your thoughts and bring clarity to a situation.
As you become aware of toxic thoughts, choose to reconceptualize them. For example, think about how you can learn from this experience, improve yourself or help others with similar issues. Choose to reconceptualize the negative into positive, and over time you will build this into a habit. Do not deny the negative, but do not accept it or claim it as your identity. Thomas Edison, for instance, tried about a thousand times before he succeeded in inventing the light bulb. When asked about his “failures,” Edison declared that, “I have gotten lots of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work!” He reconceptualised his failures as successes, because they helped him gain worthwhile knowledge.
It is very important that you do not dwell on the negative — especially when it comes to your own thoughts because whatever we think about grows and gets more energy and power! When you feel yourself getting down or “stuck”, be proactive and do something that will help change your negative thinking into positive! Maybe go volunteer at a local organisation. Serving other people actually increases our own chance of healing, both mentally and physically, and kick starts the reconceptualization process!
Over the next 63 days pay attention to what other people say to you. If it is negative, do not meditate on their words. Forgive them, and fight the desire to take any negative comments into your mind. Make cultivating positive mindsets a priority in your life for at least 63 days. This will take some effort but the mental health benefits are definitely worth it!
Spend a few moments every day for the next three weeks focusing on challenges you have overcome in the past. Write them down in a journal or on your smart device, and read them when you feel like you cannot overcome a challenge you are facing. Remind yourself of your strength and ability to not only survive but also thrive.
Throughout the day, ask yourself if you expect things to go well? Or do you expect things to go badly? Analyze your particular expectations. How have your expectations about a particular event or circumstance affected you? Deliberately and intentionally practice having positive expectations in every situation and write them down. The more you do this, the more you will find yourself applying these in your life. We create our realities with our expectations.
It is incredibly important to realize that, even though we cannot control our circumstances, we can control our reactions to our circumstances and we can change negative thinking habits!
Contributed by Dr. Caroline Leaf
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