5 Principles To Turn Negative Thoughts Into Positive Thoughts

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 
And Reactions

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

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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.


  • Know why you want to change. Understand the benefit.
  • Believe in yourself and your ability to change.
  • Commit to making the change.
  • Visualize and practice using simulation in your imagination.
  • Practice and apply it in everyday life.

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Letting Go Of Fear And Doubt

 Letting go of fear and doubt is like building strength in a muscle. There is a “true” fear response — such as seeing a dangerous animal close by —  already built into our DNA.

But for most of us in modern civilization —unless we’re extreme wilderness camping —this is not the usual case. Most of our fears are psychological projections.

These fears and doubts are socially acquired and learned. We are concerned with what others will think of us. Or we are concerned for our status. Or, about changes in our lifestyle.

Just want to note, I’m certainly not here to judge anyone!

The reason I have an understanding of all this is because I’m human and therefore programmed with the same essential tendencies. But I’ve worked hard to let go of and soften many of those patterns with some of the following approaches.

 Letting go of fear and doubt is like building strength in a muscle. There is a “true” fear response — such as seeing a dangerous animal close by —  already built into our DNA.

But for most of us in modern civilization —unless we’re extreme wilderness camping —this is not the usual case. Most of our fears are psychological projections.

These fears and doubts are socially acquired and learned. We are concerned with what others will think of us. Or we are concerned for our status. Or, about changes in our lifestyle.

Just want to note, I’m certainly not here to judge anyone!

The reason I have any understanding of all this is because I’m human and therefore programmed with the same essential tendencies. But I’ve worked hard to let go of and soften many of those patterns with some of the following approaches.


How To Let Go Of Fear And Doubt

 The first thing is to realize that whatever you’re afraid of is mostly in your imagination. How’s that?

Just notice that when you experience fear ( you can substitute doubt for fear and it will work the same way), it’s always based in the past and imagined future. It’s never with what is actually here, now. 



If you truly look at what is actually here right now, you’ll find only Peace. Perhaps even bliss and joy will begin to bubble up.

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Just to be clear, the past can be anything up until a nanosecond ago. 

If you watch your fear (or doubt) closely, you’ll notice physical symptoms such as tightness in the solar plexus or chest, increased heart rate, sweaty palms, tension in the shoulders, shaky knees, shallow breathing, etc.

One of the first lines of defense that you can take is to train yourself daily with relaxation. Check your breathing patterns and shoulders. Start to allow yourself to consciously breathe more deeply into your belly. Allow your shoulders to drop. Relax any tension around your jaw or eyes. 

With training, you’ll be able to do this on the spot in the matter of one conscious breath. 

You’ll also notice that your mind is running a story about what was and anticipating that the same thing will happen in the imagined future. And the star of this story is a character called “me.” This story is also called a self-fulfilling prophecy. But don’t just believe me because I say so. Check it out for yourself the next time you notice fear or doubt. Ask yourself: Is it actually here right now? Or is it simply activity in the mind? You can also ask, “who or what is watching this activity? If I can observe my mind’s activity, then I must not be these thoughts or feelings!”


The Future Never Arrives!

It’s important to realize that whatever happened in the past is only a memory. It only has life here and now if you recreate it and believe it’s storyline.

Not only that, but the future is not here and it never will be! You can never get to the future. It’s all imagination. Even when next week actually arrives, it will be in the present moment. The future is a concept that we use to plan our mundane activities such as appointments, etc. But it has no actual reality or true substance.

When you schedule an event for the “future,” you do it Now. When you experience the event at that time, you experience it Now. The only time you can actually experience anything is Now.

So being worried about something that may or may not happen is a story in the mind. Not only that, but this worry and anxiety and “what if” can actually lower your resistance. It can be hard on your health. And here’s the thing…

Think of a time something happened to you that you didn’t want to happen. If you’re honest, it was probably far less scary in reality than it was in your mind. When it actually happened it you were simply putting one foot in front of the other as best you could. And it’s not here anymore except as a memory. 

Note: I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have concerns about potential challenges. Or that you shouldn’t prepare in any way that’s appropriate and actually within your control.


Do You Want More Abundance And Joy?

Of course you do. That’s why you need to challenge these mind made stories when they come up. The easiest way to start doing this is in a simulated environment.

By this, I mean take 5 or 10 minutes to get comfortable and relax. Bring to mind something from the past ( it could even be an event from earlier today) that made you feel uncomfortable, afraid or upset in some way.

Start to visualize yourself responding differently. In your first attempts, the vision might break up. You might go back to visualizing yourself responding in ways that aren’t the best.

But keep at it! With practice, you’ll be able to respond in healthy, courageous and appropriate ways within your visualization practice. 

This is all done in the sanctuary of your own imagination. Also remember to believe in yourself and your ability to change.

If doubt comes in and says “you can’t do this — you’ve tried to change before and it didn’t work” or some such nonsense, refuse to buy into it! Just refuse. It’s that simple. It’s also that powerful.


Like A Muscle It Gets Stronger With Practice

Once you’re able to visualize responding the way that you want to, you’ll be amazed to discover that it will carry through into your daily life.

Your body-mind is learning new responses in practice which then makes it easier to perform in the real world.

Of course you may slip from time to time. If so, great! Take it into your visualization practice. Review the scenario and change your response. Your response should include not only what you say or do, but perhaps even more importantly, how you feel. If someone criticizes you or says something that triggers you, feel it just bounce right off of you. Really feel that!

This muscle gets stronger and stronger with practice. But guess what? If you don’t practice, it gets stronger in the opposite direction. In other words you stay the same and you are a slave to your conditioned reactions. Perhaps the negativity gets even stronger and you spiral further downwards. If you’re fortunate though, you’ll hit your bottom. This will be your cue to turn everything around and spiral upwards. That’s what happened to me in 1997.

Do you really want to continue to take everything to heart and personally? Do you want to continue being afraid to express your true self? Or getting angry and irritated at loved ones for no real reason?


Changing Bad Moods Into Good Moods

What I’m talkiing about here is not only anecdotal evidence. Although I have personally made numerous changes in more and more positive directions over the past decades, there is now also a ton of research to support my claims.

The exciting new science of neuropsychology is showing that our brains can indeed be changed. Some are calling this ability “neuroplasticity.”

One of my favourite teachers, J. Krishnamurti, used to talk about this idea of changing the brain all the time — way before this was becoming mainstream knowledge.

You don’t have to kill the ego as old spiritual traditions have expressed it. We need ego to function in the world (3D). It’s more about taking your place at the driver’s seat and putting the ego to ride shotgun.

This way the Divine Intelligence “I AM” as the essence of your Beingness is supporting your true expression and healing. You are able to let go of identifying so strongly with memories, roles and stories that you previously believed were “you.”

This is not only exciting, but incredibly practical. It gives you the creative power to create fresh new approaches to life. It allows you to evolve your brain as life evolves.


Main Takeaways:


  1. 1
    It’s possible to change.
  2. 2
    It’s possible to increase your baseline level of happiness and joy in life — no matter what the circumstances.
  3. 3
    You need to believe in yourself and your capability to change.
  4. 4
    You need to know why you want to change. This gives you the energy and drive to do so.
  5. 5
    You need to practice using visualization.
  6. 6
     You need to commit to applying these changes in real life situations as best you can.
  7. 7
    Continue to review your progress and assess without judgement. 

The Problem With Positive Thinking

What? How could there possibly be a problem with positive thinking? Aren’t we supposed to use positive thinking to improve our lives and reach our goals? But first, what exactly IS positive thinking?

Ok, What Is Positive Thinking?

If we are feeling afraid, discouraged or the like, we might tell ourselves “I need to be more positive.” And this can work to an extent. It’s kind of like the “rah rah” approach. It might get us off the couch. But will it sustain us over the long haul? Or when the going gets tough?

Is positive thinking simply sticking a happy face on top of the mess and hoping to make it work?

We may try to psyche ourselves up by repeating affirmations and saying “I can do it.”

And like I said above, this can work to a point. By recognizing that we are afraid or discouraged and then trying to change it, we are are at least beginning to take some responsibility. But like anything else, we need correct information — whether it’s working out, learning a musical instrument or cooking a recipe.


The Problem

When we’re trying to get rid of a feeling like discouragement or fear, we’re actually creating resistance. Resistance is pitting one thought-based-sense-of-self against another.

Place your hands in prayer position. Now push your hands together. This is resistance. There’s no movement. It’s stuck.

If you’re feeling afraid or insecure and you then try to think positively, the positive thinking has it’s roots in the insecurity. The more you try to think positively, the more you are resisting your fear. And as you’ve seen for yourself in the above exercise, this only holds your fear in place.

But the good news is, there is a solution…


The Solution

The solution is allowing the negative feeling to be. Whatever it is — fear, insecurity, sadness, resistance, pride and wanting to control something or someone, etc.

Note: Yes. I know "allowing feelings" seems counterintuitive. Perhaps even scary! But actually, it’s not counterintuitive. It’s counter only to our conditioning. In truth it's in line with our intuition. Allow me to illustrate...

Think of a time when you were so upset that you couldn’t even think straight. The ability to reason was out the window. But somehow you got some time alone and just sat staring into space. Or maybe you were curled up in fetus position.

Eventually, it began to pass. Your mind began to slow down and you could actually think. You even had some glimpses of Light — although you may have rejected them because you wanted to stay in the dark.

My point is, you experienced a degree of “allowing” with your feelings. But this article is about doing so consciously.

Don’t try to change the feelings. Don’t try to modify it. Don’t try to cover it over with positive thinking. Don’t do anything to the feelings at all.

Instead, place your attention on the awareness that the feeling or state of mind is appearing in or on. 

Just to be clear: When I say feelings, it includes the sensations in your body (usually somewhere in your belly or chest), the thoughts, labels or conclusions and images in your head.

Who or what is aware of the feelings arising in this moment?

Don’t try to answer this with words or your mind. It’s meant to point you to the silent field of awareness that is already there before, during and after every. single. thought.

Just by making this shift in perception, you’re beginning to realize that the feeling is not necessarily attached to you in any way.

Just allow it to be. Observe it without engaging in it. Continue to gently place your attention on your awareness.

Now ask yourself: “Could I allow these feelings to be here in awareness — just for now?” They ARE there — so, why not see what happens by allowing them to be? If only for a moment.

You’ll notice that you’ll start feeling lighter. The feelings won’t seem to heavy and in your face. 

You can try following up with asking again: “Could I allow myself to welcome these images, thoughts, and sensations into awareness just for now? As best I can?”

Take a pause. Continue gently keeping your attention on your awareness. 

Then you could ask “If I can allow these feelings to be here, then could it also be possible that I could let them go?”

If the answer is yes, you will definitely notice a shift. Feeling more space and lightness around the feelings. You can repeat the rounds of questions a few times if think you have more to release.

If the answer is no, that’s ok too. Just simply go back to allowing and welcoming the feelings as best you can.

Remember to keep your attention on the awareness. 

One further question you can try that is very effective is: “ Am I this feeling? Or am I the awareness it’s appearing in or on?”

This will give you some space so that the feeling doesn’t run you. You’re becoming more aware of being aware.


Back To Positive Thinking...

Once you’ve learned to tap into the qualities of Awareness such as courage, Love and Peace you can go there directly.

For example, instead of using thought to try and be positive, you tap directly into Awareness or Beingness. It already is positive. Actually, It’s beyond positive and negative — but that’s another blog post for another time. It is the Light that gives thoughts any life. Without Awareness or Aliveness, thought would have no substance of it’s own. Investigate this for yourself over the coming days by watching your thoughts.

Start by allowing what is to be as it is. And then notice the Awareness that all content is appearing in or on. By placing your attention on Awareness, any negative thought patterns that may appear will no longer run you.

You won’t identify with them and think they are who you are. They are simply patterns of energy arising within and upon the Beingness that you are.

The more you practice this, the easier it gets. Eventually you’ll chuckle at many of the thoughts that come up that used to give you some grief.


Does This Mean Positive Thinking Is Bad?

No. The whole point I’m making here isn’t that positivity isn’t a good thing. Or that’s it’s not possible to be positive.

It’s this: You already ARE the positivity that you’re seeking. When you let go (allowing is the same thing as letting go) of identifying with negative feelings, you discover that you’re already free.

Then you don’t even need to think about positive thinking to counteract the fact that you identified with negativity in the first place.

When you connect consciously with Awareness on a regular basis, this becomes known to you — in a way that isn't intellectual or in words. You might even begin to have deeper and more sustained glimpses into the truth of who you are beyond name and form.

You will begin to see through the mind and it’s negativity. You no longer buy into it. At least not as easily. You aren’t trying to not buy into it. You actually see through it for yourself. 

Remember to be easy on yourself if you get caught. Just keep practicing. Remind yourself that it's just like mastering a musical instrument or a new language. 

The key to positivity is seeing through any apparent negativity and realizing that Love, Peace and Joy are already at the core.  

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Further Reading

Learning The Art of Surrender and Non-Resistance

Is There A Deeper Purpose To Life?

The Dark Side of Twin Flames



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