How To Quiet Negative Thoughts In 5 Minutes Or Less
You’ve just come up with a great idea. You’re jazzed and can’t wait to share it with the world. And then without warning your excitement is hijacked and replaced with:
“Who do you think you are? You could never pull this off.”
“What if no one else thinks it’s a good idea.”
“This is just silly.”
Dun, Dun, Dun, Dunnn….enter the dreaded negative thoughts that try to stop you in your tracks.
Every single person on this planet has negative thoughts. They happen.
Just this past week alone, if I had a dollar for every negative thought I’ve had there’d be at least $70+ to add to my savings account. That breaks down to about 10 negative thoughts per day, roughly. The issue isn’t really the negative thoughts themselves or that we have them. It’s how we react to them. That’s the real issue. Do we let them sit smack dab in the middle of our ideas until the air is squeezed out?
Do we allow them to be soul-squashers, confidence crushers, and dream killers? Or do we find ways to quiet them?
I learned a long time ago that most, if not all, of my negative thoughts come from my ego and my ego is one loud bitch. So I used to think that if I was louder she’d slink away like a dog that had been scolded for messing on the rug. I’d internally scream at her and tell her to shut up, to go away and to leave me alone.
Did she? Nope. The louder I got the louder she got. Now, rather than waste my energy or allow her negative diatribe to run away with my personal power I do any of the following.
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Learn, lean, and leverage
Negative thoughts hold information. They’re trying to tell us something and it’s often not what we think. They’re not trying to tell us that we aren’t enough, (even if that’s what they’re saying) or that we can’t handle something, do something, be something. To get beyond the negative bluster it helps to explore what they’re really trying to tell us. And to do so it helps to ask this question, “What is this negative thought trying to tell me?”
Is it trying to point out how scared we are? Is it validating that what we’re about to do is important? Once we know the source of the negative thought then we really lean into it by exploring our options. It’s those options that we leverage and use.
For example, if the source of my negative thought is fear of failing at something that’s important to me I’ll start making a list of options to deal with the fear of failing like:
- I could quit. (Not really an option for me, but I list whatever comes up.)
- I could break down my objective into tiny steps and begin with the easiest step first.
- I could ask for help, etc.
Once I have brainstormed all my options I pick one and do it.
One way to quiet the negative thoughts is to ask the question, “What do I choose?” and then allow those choices to just flow. Here’s the thing, we always have choice in any given situation or circumstance. We can choose to listen to our negative thoughts and allow them to derail us or we can choose to focus our energy and attention on something else.
The act of choosing helps us to take our personal power back from that negative thought and silences it.
When our negative thoughts are telling us bald-faced lies it helps to combat those lies with believable questions that begin with “why”. For example, there are times when my negative thoughts (ego) have me questioning my work in the world. They say things like,
- “You can’t do this.”
- “You’ll always play small because that’s the only way you know how to play.”
- “You’ll never make it.”
You’d think after 12+ years of doing my work in the world my ego would get the hint, right? Not a chance. Instead of choosing to let my ego make me feel like crap I counter with this question, “Why am I the most sought after transformation specialist in the country?”
It’s not my job to answer the question, just to ask the question and let my brain look for evidence. I learned this from Noah St. John who calls this cool method “Afforemations” (not to be confused with affirmations). We might think that asking such a question would lead to more negative thoughts but here’s the deal-o and the key. When we craft believable questions that create a sense of excitement, the negative thoughts don’t stand a chance.
So to recap:
- Ask that believable “why” question.
- Don’t look for the answer, just ask.
- Let the excitement deal with the negative thoughts.
Yep, shifting our focus on to something else. This is not where I ask us to use an affirmation or to tell ourselves just the opposite of what our negative thought is telling us. Nope. All I’m asking is that we shift our focus on to what’s around us. I like to use my senses to do this. What am I feeling on my skin right now? What am I tasting? What am I hearing? What am I seeing?
And to change things up I also use some good old gratitude to drown out my negative thoughts. For example, I’m so grateful for the comfy chair I’m sitting on or the soft t-shirt I’m wearing.
When there’s a focus shift, there’s no room for negative thoughts.
Speaking of focus shifts, this little exercise helps us focus our attention away from the negative thoughts and on to our breathing. (Just as an aside, negative thoughts and fear hate breath work.)
I love using what I call the 4,4,&4 Breathing Technique. Take a deep breath to the count of four. Exhale to a count of four. Repeat four times. That’s it. Easy. Now imagine coming up with that amazing idea, but instead of allowing the negative thoughts to hijack the excitement you pull from your arsenal of negative thought quieting tools. Imagine those negative thoughts slinking off with their tail between their legs.
Remember, we’re so much bigger and stronger than anything that comes from the three-pound organ that sits on top of our shoulders. Negative thoughts have nothing on us! NOTHING!
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