"What's wrong with me? Why can't I stop having negative thoughts?"
I used to ask myself those very questions. I couldn't understand why, regardless of all the books I read, all the things I tried, I was still having negative thoughts.
There must have been something wrong with my brain. Or maybe my negative thoughts were an indicator that I just wasn't as nice a person as I thought I was.
If what I just shared has you nodding in agreement, there are just a few things I want you to know. Let's start with the most important...
There's absolutely nothing wrong with you and you're still a nice person even if you have negative thoughts.
Our brains are wired to have them, believe it or not...and we have our prehistoric ancestors to thank.
That, however, doesn't mean that we can't learn how to manage them. I've spent A LOT of time learning how to manage mine and I liked to share what I've learned.
"No, no, no!" doesn't stop them. Just like a petulant child, the more I say "no" the more persistent they become.
Some of those thoughts are indicators of what's important to me. Instead of buying into the stories that my negative thoughts create I acknowledge the importance and share a little gratitude for the reminder.
The more I engage them the longer they stick around.
So, while we may never be void of our negative thoughts, we don't have to buy into them. Nope! We don't have to entertain them and allow them to ruin our mood or weigh us down.
With that said, I'd like to offer these three VERY simple "tricks" to try. (By the way, these are things I use interchangeably on a regular basis and I've found that they really work!)
Just notice the negative thought. Which means two things; not engaging it and not judging it or me for having it. I will often say to myself, "Oh, look...how interesting, there's a negative thought."
I'll say to myself, "I don't have time to think this thought. I'll think it later." That "think it later" bit tells my brain "not now". And by the time later rolls around that thought has been forgotten. OR
I'll just shift my focus and notice something positive. For example, I'll look at my cute fur babies and think about how cute they are.
Give these a whirl and let me know what you think! I'd love to hear from you.
And before I sign off, I'd like to share the following quote from Matt Haig...
“The key to happiness - or that even more desired thing, calmness - lies not in always thinking happy thoughts. No. That is impossible. No mind on earth with any kind of intelligence could spend a lifetime enjoying only happy thoughts. They key is in accepting your thoughts, all of them, even the bad ones. Accept thoughts, but don't become them. Understand, for instance, that having a sad thought, even having a continual succession of sad thoughts, is not the same as being a sad person.”