Is it even possible to turn negative thoughts into positive thoughts? And if so, how is this done? Perhaps you’ve tried doing this many times throughout your life with little to no success. In this article, I’ll discuss how not only is it possible, but anyone who really wants to do it, can do it. In this article I outline 5 principles you can start using right away to support you in turning negativity into love, happiness and creativity.
Yes, It’s Challenging!
If it were easy, everyone would do it. And obviously, very rare is the person who has mastered this essential skill. The reason it’s so challenging, at least in my own experience, is that there seems to be a payoff to playing the same recordings again. And they are safe and familiar. They keep our ego -- our mind made sense of self as an individual separate from the All -- intact.
Dr. Joe Dispenza says that our bodies and brains are working together to create circuits that command a certain “chemical cocktail” to be released. Our body-mind becomes addicted to this chemical. That’s why, even though we know that we don’t want to react a certain way, we still do. It’s automatic. Just like the smoker who is addicted to nicotine. They’ve tried many times to kick the habit, but the urge to replenish their body with nicotine is stronger.
This brings us to Principle 1.
Principle 1: You Have To Know Why You Want To Change
This is the same as saying you have to really want to change. Like the old story of the monk who asks the master when he will receive enlightenment. The master takes him to the river and they wade in. Suddenly, and by surprise, the master pushes the monks head under the water and holds it there.
The monk is sputtering and struggling trying to come up for air. Finally, the master lets him up and he gasps in as much air as he can.
The master then says, “when you want enlightenment as much as you just wanted air, you’ll have it.” But here, I’ve worded it a little bit differently...
My wording said you have to know WHY you want to change. That's because this question forces you to be more specific. When someone says you simply have to want it, although that’s the truth, it’s not very helpful to the person trying to find the truth. Like in the metaphorical story above, the master made the answer very specific by holding the monks head under water. Are you tired of the same negative reactions to triggers in your life? If so, read on...
Some Examples Of Why You Might Want To Change Negative Patterns
Your proposal or offer gets rejected and you take it to heart. You mope and feel down for days before you get over it.
Your spouse or significant other disagrees with you on a topic. You feel betrayed and you defend yourself to the point of yelling, screaming and or passive/aggressive silence and behaviour. You stay shut down for days.
Someone — or even a troll — criticizes or bullies you on social media. You take it personally and are afraid to post for a while.
All of the above are valid concerns. I know this, because I’ve been there myself. I’m only saying it’s possible to greatly increase your “immunity” to those things. No, it’s not easy — but this is where knowing the “why you want to change” can come in handy.
It all boils down to being tired of being a victim of other people’s approval or disapproval. This pattern is so ingrained in all of us. Reward and punishment are how we are conditioned since we are very young children. And although it's entirely possible to grow through wanting more happiness simply because it feels so good -- in the beginning of this work, suffering is often a stronger catalyst for change than contentment.
And, because our parents or caregivers were in no way perfect in how they dealt out reward and punishment, our views of “what is” are distorted. Our conditioned minds are like a funhouse mirror.
You might say to yourself, “you know what? Why do I take my partner’s words and behaviour to mean they don’t love me? Could I not grant them the right to be the way that they are? I don’t have to agree with their opinion or view, but I can be open to see why they see it that way. Could I be open to bringing love instead of just looking to get love?”
By realizing why you want to change — that there are other alternatives to how you can respond to your partner that are more loving, creative and less polarizing — the seed of change is now planted and beginning to sprout.
It goes without saying that this applies in all our relationships from family and friends to business and professional. This brings us to Principle 2...
Principle 2: Believe In Yourself And Your Ability To Change
All of these principles take constant renewal. You have to bring them to life everyday. You need to make time to remind yourself that you can change. If doubts come in, simply remind yourself of your “why.” Remind yourself of how much better you’ll feel when you’re able to make this change from negative thinking to feeling positive and courageous.
And if you’ve ever made any other changes in your life such as losing weight, exercising more, quitting smoking, etc. use these past successes to help support you in making this change.
Sometimes you simply have to refuse to believe in the doubts. Don’t try to stop them. Don’t be afraid of them. Just ignore them and remind yourself they’re not true.
The more you can see that they aren’t true, the easier it gets to deny their truth when they come up.
This is where being aware of being Aware can be so powerful. When you can look within and really see that you are NOT your thoughts — that they are an activity happening within and upon the Light of Awareness, you can truly begin to stop buying into them.
There’s a wonderful teacher named Hale Dwoskin who has a great saying that I really love. It goes like this:
Don’t buy what your mind is trying to sell you — even when it’s running a special! -- Hale Dwoskin
This brings us to Principle 3...
Principle 3: Commit To Your Resolve.
Again, this comes back to knowing your “why.” When you really understand the benefits of turning negative thoughts into positive energy, you’ll be able to commit to doing it. When you commit to doing it, you’ll be able to practice Principle 5 below and you’ll be able to stick with your resolve in everyday life.
Something I’ve done that has helped me break through my mind’s defenses is to keep a journal of my progress. Nothing elaborate. No apps necessary unless that’s your preferred style. Just a basic spiral notebook from the dollar store.
By writing an insight or gain down on paper, you make it real. That way, if your mind comes back and says “that insight or progress was just your imagination,” you can see in your own handwriting that it was real enough to stop and write it down.
Seeing your progress in a tangible form will go a long way to fuelling your continued commitment to changing a particular negative tendency.
This brings us to Principle 4...
Principle 4: Visualize, Feel and Imagine Yourself Changing Negative Thoughts Into Positive Thoughts
This is so key and important when turning a negative mood into a positive! There’s a lot of information out there about visualizing in order to manifest what you want. But here, we’re using it to actually bring our spiritual ideals into grounded reality. We're changing negative thinking patterns into positive thoughts and feelings. This is real alchemy.
The top athletes and performers in the world have been using visualization as an essential part of their training for decades now. It’s well known that it makes a huge difference in bringing them closer to their potential.
So, we can use it for our life. Whether it’s in the business or personal life sector. we can use it! It doesn’t take long and you can find the way that works best for you. It does NOT have to be a rigid system.
You can do it in the morning ( my preference), in bed before you fall asleep, or any other time that works best for you.
All you need to do is visualize a certain scenario that triggers you and makes you feel out of control. If you can’t see pictures clearly, don’t worry. Just get the feeling of the scenario.
And then replay the scenario in your mind while visualizing yourself responding in a different way. If it’s easy, great! Stay with that feeling for a minute or two.
If you’re having trouble holding the image together and it keeps going back to the unwanted reaction, persist until you are able to get the feeling of having a different and more positive response. By the way, this doesn't mean that you have to give up and roll over when it comes to your point of view! An analogy is that what was black and white now transforms into a brilliant silvery grey.
Try this! It’s potentially a real game changer. As I said above, countless champion athletes and great performers have been using this “secret” for decades.
Keep doing it everyday. This brings it to perhaps the most important principle of all, Principle 5...
Principle 5: Practice In Everyday Life — Everyday!
This is where the rubber hits the road, so to speak. However, if you’ve been doing your visualization and remembering why you want to change, it will be much easier to succeed in everday life.
The visualization has already changed your nervous system a little bit by showing it there are alternative and more appropriate responses available. And when you choose them, you’re still here. You didn’t die or vanish or become diminished in any way. As a matter of fact, you felt more alive, loving and powerful.
When a situation comes up that triggers feelings of rejection, judgement or low self worth, etc. remember your “why.” Take a breath and relax your shoulders. Remember your commitment. Remind yourself of how you’ve been upset in the past and those feelings eventually passed. So why not let them go right now? Why wait?
Stay true to yourself. Find a way that works for you in order to shift your focus back to a more expansive and positive one.
When you succeed, make sure to write it down when you get a chance. The next time something comes up to try to distract you from a positive focus, remember what you did to shift gears. Find the images and thoughts that work for you.
Some Final Thoughts On Turning Negative Thoughts Into Positive Ones
No matter what happens, be easy with yourself. If you don’t manage to shift your focus to a positive one right away, that’s ok. Simply do your best. It’s not about perfection, because perfection doesn’t exist. It’s just a mental concept. The best musicians and performers still make mistakes. They don’t make them as often, but they do make them. And when they do, they do their best to learn from them and move on.
Being afraid to make mistakes is no way to live. Certainly we want to do our best to avoid them, but they are a part of learning. If we never made them, it would mean that we were only continuing to do what we already know.
If you “slip” and get upset with someone, the main thing is to be conscious. In other words, to be watching the energy flowing through your mind and body. It may still be very powerful and take you over a bit from time to time, but as long as you do your best to watch it, you’ll be fine.
It’s Not About Never Expressing Anger Or Frustration
If you think of it this way you’re going to get caught by your mind — you’re already splitting yourself into different directions. You’re going to be suppressing energy. As I said above, it’s about feeling the energy without getting caught up in it. Doing your best to maintain your focus on the silent field of Awareness within which and upon which any energy or content is appearing.
And finally, see what works for you and what doesn’t. Certain things like being tired or hungry can make it more challenging to stay conscious — but we can still do our best.
If you’d like some one on one work with learning some powerful techniques to shift your focus from negative thoughts to positive, book a session with me.
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