For some people, negative thoughts are easier to accept than positive thoughts. If you are thinking that this statement sounds silly and makes no sense at all, then consider this: how do you react when someone gives you a complement? Do you blush and mumble a quick "Thank you", but secretly think the opposite of what they said is true? Another example: you look in the mirror every morning when you wash your face, do you think "Wow my face is nice" or do you think something like "Yuck, my nose is too big"? Many people are guilty of negative thinking at some point during their day. Negative thoughts are very counter-productive and serve only one purpose, to make you feel bad.
Maybe you already know all of this, but still find it very difficult to change the way think about yourself or other people. It can be difficult to alter your negative thoughts into positive ones, but it is not impossible. Some tips and suggestions to get you started include:
-Identify the negative thought. The first step to changing your negative thinking is to recognize when you have a negative thought. Negative thinking can be so ingrained into a person's thought processes, they may not consciously realize it. When you start paying attention to the thoughts you have throughout the day, then you can begin changing those thoughts, one by one. For example: when someone pays you a nice complement, note the negative thought you have and make the conscious decision to accept the complement. Really think about the complement and allow yourself to enjoy it. Besides, they would not have said something nice if they did not mean it!
-Physical feelings. Take notice of how you feel when you have negative thoughts. Do you feel dizzy, sweaty, sick to your stomach? How about muscle/joint aches and pains or headaches? Now that you can identify when you have negative thoughts and are turning them into positive ones, notice how you feel. Think about how you feel when you laugh at a joke or have a pleasant conversation with a friend, does your body feel bad? The answer is probably no, in fact, you probably feel pretty good. A simplified way to think about this: negative thoughts equal aches and pains, positive thoughts equal feeling much better.
-Think positive thoughts. Everyday, make the conscious decision to think something (or several things) good. Before you know it, positive thinking will become such a habit that it becomes second nature. Start making yourself look for the positive things in people and situations. This will help you stop judging yourself and others harshly and will also go a long way to changing a negative outlook into a positive, more happy one.
-Happy people. The last suggestion is to surround yourself with positive, happy people. It is much harder to be negative and maintain negative thoughts if you are always around people that refuse to be cranky and gloomy! The sweet truth is that happiness is contagious and there is no cure for it once you allow it to invade your personal space. This is not to say that these people do not experience sadness or frustration or anxiety, they just do not allow it consume them. Learn from their example. Positive people can help you see your positive potential and achieve it.
Negative thinking is almost like a curable illness; if you do nothing, it gets worse. If you fight it, it will eventually disappear altogether. All it takes to retrain your brain to think positive thoughts is determination and positive reinforcements from happy people. It may not happen immediately, but the more you work on it, the stronger the positive becomes and the negativity will have less and less power over you.