Here’s a stunner. We have roughly 50,000 thoughts every single day and, scientists say on average, about 80% of the 50,000 daily thoughts we have are negative. Talk about a busy mind!
The way I see it, these data points represent incredible opportunity as I think about mental and physical wellbeing. Here’s why. We are in control of what and how we think which means have the power to manage negative thoughts AND replace them with positive thoughts. That means, we have the power to change our health and our life, once we understand how and make the choice to practice.
Negative tend to breed more negative thoughts. Ruminating on them sets up a cycle I call “black hole thinking” that pumps up your stress levels and floods your body with cortisol and adrenaline- the “Oh sh** protection mode” chemicals. As a general rule, this is not where you want to be. As the cortisol and adrenaline course through your system, they increase inflammation in your body and hijack your cognition. They also create chemical packages (emotions) like fear, self doubt, cynicism, and panic that cause you to feel depleted, confused, stuck- physically and mentally.
Breaking The Cycle
You can manage negative thoughts by disrupting the cycle and adopting a new thinking pattern. These actions rewire your brain, empower you to be present, healthier and create life enriching possibilities. Replacing negative thoughts with more positive and supportive thoughts is a choice that’s within your control. When your thinking is working for you, your life changes because the lens you use to view the world becomes one of possibilities.
Here are three steps to get you started:
- Step 1: AWARENESS: Become aware of your thoughts and the quality of your thoughts.
- Step 2: CURIOSITY: Sit with the thoughts that are negative, scary and uncomfortable. Replace judgement with curiosity. This step helps you understand where your thoughts are coming from, how valid they and how those thoughts are impacting you.
- Step 3: INTENTIONALITY: Make a conscious choice to direct your attention. For instance, will you choose to stay with your negative thoughts? Or, will you choose to replace them with more positive and supportive ones that will benefit you and your life?
The Power of Positive Thinking
Meeting your thoughts with awareness, and intentionality is a courageous choice and it takes practice. This is mindfulness in action and it’s well worth the effort. Positive thinking produces the good vibes chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin which create balance, harmony, and happiness that support your mental and physical wellbeing.
Mindfulness empowers you to BE WITH your thoughts and observe them without absorbing them which makes it easier to navigate whatever life offers up with more ease, clarity, and acceptance.
Here are three of the questions I offer my clients who want to start thinking more positively:
- What’s the root of the negative thought?
- How is that thought impacting you?
- What else do you know about it?
I help my clients develop neural pathways through mindfulness based life coaching, that empower them to reset, step into their power and thrive. If you’re ready to change your thinking and your life, let’s talk.