Negative thoughts are the biggest obstacle in personal growth and self-actualization.
They also create a lot of trouble in our day to day life. Also, unfortunately, for many of us, they might seem completely involuntary.
Here are some ways in which you can stop these negative thoughts from occurring.
1. Write down positive affirmations
Within the next 30 days, you could be a more positive and upbeat person if you wrote down 10 of your desired affirmations on a piece of paper every day. Writing down how your desired life should look like, in a concise and specific manner, gradually rewires your brain and your life starts to change with each passing day.
However, if you don’t find the time and space to do the writing, you can definitely reap the same benefits by listening to audio tapes of positive affirmations. So, create a 30-day schedule and get rid of your nagging negative thoughts forever.
2. Practicing self-acceptance
A lot of negative thinking is caused by resisting and suppressing the truth about how we actually are in real life. A lot of people live their lives wishing and hoping that they looked better and in a way that is more acceptable by society. Obviously, this creates conflict in their minds, and they start to have a negative thought about themselves.
Self-acceptance can change all that. To be perfectly honest, just knowing who you are and not caring what other people think of you is more than enough to get rid of the self-generated negative thoughts.
“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.”
Recent research shows that journaling every day can help reduce stress, bring clarity of thought, and also help people understand themselves better. Unlike what most people think, journaling is an ancient practice; it dates back to the 10th century, Japan. Back in the day, successful people used to maintain a personal diary to keep track of their thoughts and actions.
It’s important to keep track of when and how the negative thoughts come to your mind. Jotting down the triggers can help you become more aware of yourself and make it easy for you to catch yourself when a negative thought pops up in your head.
4. Mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness is not just a meditation technique, it is a way of life. Being mindful means to keep your mind so clear that it becomes full of emptiness and space. For instance, instead of letting our minds wander and think about repetitive things, we can exercise our power to observe ourselves and be in the driving seat of our lives.
There is no denying the fact that the root of most of our negative thoughts is stress. Don’t let negative thoughts keep you from getting ahead.
Recent research shows that even a single mindfulness meditation session can help reduce anxiety and stress. For instance, the subjects of a study showed reduced anxiety and stress after one hour of the meditation session. In conclusion, their stress was astoundingly lowered when examined after a week of meditating one hour a day.
5. Read poetry to process negative thoughts
A poem may seem like a collection of awesome sounding words and nothing else. But it can be more than that. For a logical person, everything must make sense, and every activity should yield a certain outcome. By being this way, they are being too hard on themselves.
Poetry teaches us to break away from our conditioned mind and delve into the unknown. Popular American spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra urges people to read poems to become more empathetic, happy and free from negative thinking.
In the war-torn area of Afghanistan called Spin Boldak, American troops started a monthly poetry reading session to relieve stress and accumulated feelings. At first, some of the soldiers were skeptical about it, but as the word spread about this unusual social gathering, more soldiers started participating in it.
6. Get away from toxic people
Have you ever stayed awake at night thinking about how your life would look like if you got a chance to start all over again? Many of us get into relationships without even asking ourselves whether that person is worth our time or not. This happens a lot when we are young. In that period, all we care about is having fun and socializing with as many people as possible.
If you find yourself doing things that are clearly hurtful to you or you feel exhausted at the end of the day, there is a chance that you are in a toxic relationship with someone. So, evaluate the people in your life and stay away from the toxic ones.
7. Take a walk in the nature
Taking a brisk walk is an old fashioned way of dealing with sudden stress and panic attacks. Moreover, walking doesn’t take up a lot of energy.
But how does walking help clear negative thoughts?
When you decide to go for a quick walk, you are making a decision to change your current mental state. It shifts your attention from your mind to your body, especially, if you take a stroll in a park or any place surrounding nature.
To wrap things up, a quick way to get rid of negative thoughts is to write down all your thoughts on a piece of paper or record it on a sound recorder. As a result of that, you quickly become conscious of your thinking patterns, and you start to look at yourself objectively.
Moreover, negative thoughts are a result of our bad experience in the past and to let them lead our life would be a huge mistake. By making the best out of the tools and techniques mentioned in this article, you can successfully eliminate them and live a fully empowered life.
1. “The Health Benefits of Journaling – Psych Central.” Accessed March 23, 2019. https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/.
2. “Even a single mindfulness meditation session can reduce … – EurekAlert!.” Accessed March 23, 2019. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/eb2-eas041218.php.
3. “Reading Poetry Can Instantly Boost Your Happiness, Says Deepak ….” Accessed March 23, 2019. https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/deepak-chopra-reading-poetry-happiness/.
4. “Soldiers relieve stress through poetry | Article | The United … – Army.mil.” Accessed March 23, 2019. https://www.army.mil/article/49327/soldiers_relieve_stress_through_poetry.
How Thinking Critically Changes Your Life for the Better
Critical analysis can be defined as the ability to judge an issue by taking into account all factors that affect the process and outcome of the issue. A person with the ability to think critically will be able to calmly analyze from more than one perspective without letting personal preferences interfere judgment.
So, how does thinking critically make life better? For starters, it can enable you to understand topics more deeply, make you a star performer in your job and allow you to be more open and tolerant of people who hold beliefs which are quite contradictory to your own.
Understand, Don’t Just Learn
One of the first things you notice after embracing critical thinking is that you are able to understand subjects much better. A normal learning process involves reading a subject and memorizing it. On occasions, you may also understand the subject logically.
“Critical thinking takes you beyond such basic processes and enables you to understand the subject in a way that you begin seeing its implications across multiple areas.”
For example, if you are learning economics, you may come across a concept which states that the scarcity of a product raises its value, while the easy availability of a product decreases it. Now, a person without any critical thinking ability can only see its applicability in the field of economics, and will probably only be employed in that field.
But someone who can think critically will see the applicability of the theory of demand in other areas, which might at first seem unrelated. For example, they might observe that people who have grown without love from parents may hold love to be very important in their lives.
In this case, love is the commodity, the scarcity of which, increased its value. And such insights are only possible because the person had critical thinking abilities which enabled him or her to apply knowledge gained from one subject to other areas.
This concept was explored in Richard Paul and Linda Elder’s Critical Thinking Development: A Stage Theory, in which they proposed that children who have higher critical thinking abilities are able to understand subjects at a deeper level and connect ideas across multiple disciplines.
If there is one thing that contributes to a lack of tolerance in the world, it is the absence of critical thinking. Intolerant ideas are the products of narrow viewpoints which are unable to accommodate other perspectives, especially those which run counter to them.
As an article on tolerance and critical thinking notes, when people surround themselves with those who only share their views, critical thinking can suffer and they can end up thinking that only their viewpoint is the absolute reality.
A person of a specific spiritual belief may be against another person’s belief, refusing to believe it as equally valid as their own. A person who identifies with a particular sexual identity may hate those who live with a completely opposite inclination. There are many such examples of intolerance.
Critical thinking expands your ability to observe and accept other people’s views and beliefs. For example, if you are a religiously intolerant person, then critical thinking will make you see that the other person’s way of worship is not so different from yours since both of you are essentially praying to a divine power for the good of people you love.
And when you start accommodating the other viewpoint, any intolerance you feel will begin dissolving and you become more forbearing.
Developing Critical Thinking
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
Developing the ability to think critically is no easy task. It requires you to slowly give up your preconceived notions and start making value-based judgments on events based on merit. For people who have grown with a strong set of prejudices, this can look impossible.
And even if you think you have developed a strong ability to think critically, you will still have to deal with the paradox of critical thinking, where you may not be able to decide whether you have arrived at a conclusion because of careful analysis or whether you have fooled yourself into thinking that you had done a critical analysis.
But whatever paradoxes you may face, one thing is for certain – it is far more beneficial for you to be able to think critically than not being able to. And as such, putting in the effort to be a solid critical thinker is well worth it.
When you start thinking critically and from various perspectives, the range of thoughts increase. More thoughts aren’t necessarily a catalyst for decision making. Hence, have your starting points and intentions in the right place, and decisions will be easier to make and you won’t get into analysis paralysis.
5 Ways to Turn Around Your Mindset
I have some bad news. The only thing holding you back from achieving everything you want is YOUR mindset. Not society, not laws, not your family, or your circumstances, it’s YOU! The biggest achievers in the world weren’t born with a silver spoon or with supernatural powers; they were mortals, many from underprivileged backgrounds or having insurmountable circumstances. Yet, they reached heights and became role models.
Now, the good news- it’s never too late to change your mindset. And, you don’t need any psychological counseling or mentoring for this. The power lies within you. Here are five superpowers you possess that can help change your mindset and make you the person you want:
1. Power of Belief
What we believe is what we become. All brilliant innovations started as an idea. People who conceived them believed in their ideas even when others didn’t. So should you. Believe that you are unique and that you can achieve anything you set your mind on.
Self-belief is a powerful defense in the face of adversity. It keeps you motivated and even bullish in pursuit of your goals. There is no dearth of challenges or critics. But let them not pull you down. Believe in yourself and in a higher power that is working towards making your dreams come true.
2. Power of Clarity
Our thoughts become actions and things. Do you have objective clarity about your goals? Not what your family wants or what society expects, but what you REALLY want. You’ll be surprised to know that you’ve been programmed- conditioned to act according to others’ expectations.
What use are time and effort spent in pursuing what doesn’t matter to you and what won’t make you happy? Rather, invest energy in attaining your goals. You can’t pursue a target that doesn’t exist. So define your objectives and their anticipated timeline, and then persevere to get them, no matter what!
3. Power of Positivity
Things happen for a reason. If you believe good things will happen, the whole universe conspires to make it possible. And this isn’t a cliché or an idealistic thought. Consider a situation where you’re going for an interview and despite feeling that you’re underqualified for the job, you bolster yourself with positive thoughts.
You think about your accomplishments and your strengths. You look back at your journey and fill yourself with pride on how far you’ve come. Things start falling into place. You reflect confidence and feel equipped to handle all challenges. You may not know everything but you’re willing to learn and grow. And that’s always a positive- an asset for any organization.
For cultivating a positive mindset, surround yourself with positive people- those who believe in you or have overcome difficulties. Their mindset is contagious. Stay away from negativity, criticism, fear, and overthinking.
4. Power to Forgive
This is not easy. It takes years of practice. We are often very hard on ourselves when things go awry. A failed marriage, a setback in business, dysfunctional relationships, or other tumultuous situations lead us to blame ourselves. Or we end up shifting the blame to another person or circumstance. In either case, we harbor a lot of negative energy that consumes our positive mindset.
Stop beating yourself and blaming others for things going wrong. Take responsibility for your actions, their outcomes, and ultimate consequences. In a perilous situation, accept that things could have been different had your attitude or response been different.
But this should not become a reason to loathe yourself. Learn your lessons and move on. If others are responsible for the debacle, they might be battling with their own demons. There’s really no need to dwell on negative situations.
5. Power to Love Yourself
We don’t mean to preach narcissism but invaluable self-love. Do you love your company? Are you sparing some ME time in busy routine? Most successful people have mastered the work-life balance equation. They have sacred morning rituals that revolve around mental, spiritual, and physical cleansing. Why is it so?
This is because you are your best friend, your ally, and your own army. If you don’t invest time in nurturing your mind, body and soul, it’s incomprehensible how you’ll handle your work, life, business, and the world. It’s quite easy to get lost in the rigmarole of daily pressures and routines and neglect ourselves. That’s why self-love has to be imbibed in the very fabric of your life; it’s non-negotiable and even sacred. Do things that you enjoy, lose yourself in the moment, quit worrying about everything, and don’t ever feel guilty about it. I promise you’ll feel sheer delight.
Changing your mindset will take deliberate efforts. It won’t happen overnight. Have patience but keep practicing. The very fact that you’re reading this post is a positive sign that you feel a need to transform. That’s a great beginning. Now, take it step by step and you’ll reach the finish line, slowly but certainly. And don’t forget to pat your back when you do!
5 Decisions That Can Fill Your Life With Regret
There will be moments in your life when you will have to make tough choices; when you will have to sacrifice something in order to get something else. While most such decisions do not usually create any long-term problems, this is not true in all situations. You might make certain decisions that can push you into depression years down the line. In this post, we look at five such typical decisions that have the power to fill your life with regret.
1. Neglecting your passion
Many people often choose to sacrifice their passion in favor of focusing on their careers when transitioning from their teenage years into adulthood. And this can eventually prove to be extremely devastating for some people.
A human being is essentially a creature of passion, filled with hundreds of ideas and a will to explore their interests to the full. When this passion is curbed, and the person is forced into doing something that they don’t like, they will ultimately find their life to be boring and stressful. A sense of purposelessness will start to rattle their minds, and many might even end up being depressed.
“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
So, when you are faced with a situation where you have to decide between your passion and your career, never reject your hobbies and interests outright. Continue practicing it in some way or the other, and eventually, you will come to realize how crucial that decision has been to your sense of self.
2. Preferring career over a loving relationship
This is another big mistake that can haunt your life forever – putting your professional life ahead of your relationships. Unfortunately, this is very common in today’s cut-throat competitive world. The excessive focus on career has been identified as one of the single biggest causes of unhappiness and loneliness among adults.
“A career is wonderful but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night.”
You must understand that humans are, at the end of the day, emotional beings. A large part of a person’s life is dedicated to satisfying their emotional requirements – the need to be loved, the need to be appreciated, the need to be wanted, and so on, and as such, depriving yourself of such emotional stimulation is akin to damaging the circuitry of a PC and hoping for it to work perfectly.
As a result, you should always ensure that you never sacrifice your relationships in order to advance in your career. Instead, you should learn to manage both of them. Otherwise, you might end up feeling lonely and depressed in the middle age, blaming yourself for the times you brushed aside your relationship commitments in favor of work.
3. Holding grudges
It is said that hatred not only destroys the object but also the person who holds hatred within. And sadly, it is true. In some cases, the grudge you hold will only end up destroying you while the other party walks away unaffected.
This is why it is very important that you learn to never hold any grudge against anyone. But if you do hold a grudge, then it is possible that your hatred for the person will turn into an obsession. You will slowly start losing focus on enjoying and living your life to the fullest. Instead, you will start thinking of how to harm the other person. This is a disturbing mentality that will negatively affect all your relationships.
“Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head.”
Learn to let go of any hatred against anyone, no matter how much harm they have done to you. However, not hating does not mean that you forget what the other person did to you. It simply means that you have removed them as the focus of your life. That’s all. But, if you decide to dedicate most of your life in trying to bring down the other person, then you will essentially lead a miserable life.
4. Being stuck at a desk job
With the way the current job environment has shaped up, it is very likely that you might be engaged in work that will mostly require you to sit on a chair all day long. While this might feel extremely comfortable in the beginning, you will quickly realize how boring, monotonous, and harmful it can be.
The biggest negative effect of a desk job will be on your health. Just sitting for eight hours every day for many years will definitely cause some health issues. This is why it is important that you don’t get sucked into the appeal of a desk job.
“Give a man health and a course to steer, and he’ll never stop to trouble about whether he’s happy or not.”
-George Bernard Shaw
The best way to deal with this is to join a gym and start a workout regimen so that you keep yourself physically fit. But, if you choose to avoid exercising thinking that it is a waste of time, then you will have to face several health issues in the future. Even if you are busy, it is important to include self-care into your routine.
5. Adding on the debt to ‘enjoy’ life
It is normal for people to fall into debt under the pretext of enjoying their lives. Someone might pile up on his/her credit card debt due to their excessive affinity for expensive clothes; others might take longer-term debts to go for vacations around the world; some might even take a loan on their home to buy a BMW. Whatever may be the case, you have to understand that the extreme focus on enjoying life even at the risk of falling into debt is a very bad decision.
As you become older and enter your forties, all the debt you have piled up during the younger years will now be a burden. And you will be trapped, having to repay all those debts at a time you should be carefully planning your retirement. In the worst case scenario, you may even have to retire with little to no savings.
“A simple fact that is hard to learn is that the time to save money is when you have some.”
So, learn to control your desires and only indulge in them to the extent that you don’t end up taking debts to satisfy those desires. By doing so, you will never have to live a dissatisfied life or regret the poor financial decisions you took in your younger days.
Being mindful is really important when it comes to decisions that can impact your life for a longer term. Whenever making big decisions, try to take a pause and think about it with all the pros and cons and how it will affect your life. When you do that, instead of taking impulsive decisions, it will become easier to make decisions that won’t make you feel regret.
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