In my last post I talked about our ability to change in relation to the brain and how we can form new neural pathways to live a more positive life. It’s good knowing this because it means there’s a way of overcoming things that may have got in our way for years. Whether that’s battling with anxiety or kicking an old habit, there can be another way. But how do we go about doing this? It takes a bit of practise and a lot of commitment if you are truly serious about forming a new path and leaving the old ones behind. Stress is caused by negative thinking, so ultimately we want to train our brains to be positive. In this post I will outline a few tricks that you can start to implement into your lives that can help to start gradually feeling a bit more positive if you’re struggling, and hopefully begin to leave those unhelpful and negative thoughts in the past. These are just a few tips that I’ve either picked up or learnt myself along the way that are simple but can be really beneficial.
1. Identify the positives
Life at times can be tough, there’s no denying that. However sometimes how we view a situation can make all the difference to how we feel about it. Next time something doesn’t go your way, consciously look for the benefits to the situation. What has this taught you? How can you use this to maybe do it differently next time? How has this helped you grow as a person? Look for the lessons and use it to your advantage. For example if you’ve botched up an interview for a job that you really wanted, it can be easy to sometimes beat yourself up over it and feel down about yourself. Instead of doing that, outline your strengths and also what you could have done differently and apply it for next time. There could be a better opportunity waiting for you where these lessons would be useful.
2. Replacing negative thoughts with positives
In times of stress or worry it’s easy to be negative because it’s the very primitive parts of our brain’s way of keeping us ‘safe’ and out of potentially dangerous situations. However negative thinking isn’t necessarily very useful in modern day lives because it creates more stress and can lead to mental health problems. Therefore it helps to try and be a bit more conscious with our thoughts, notice when they’re causing us problems and make an effort to replace them with better ones. One way I started doing this is to consciously think of a positive thought to replace one of my usual negative thoughts that had long been ingrained in my mind and was holding me back. For example if you were to have a thought such as “I’m not good enough”, then you could begin to replace that thought with more positive statements like “I am capable and worthy”. It’s all about recognising those unhelpful thoughts and taking action to choose a different way.
3. Make positive lists
You may have heard of this before but I am going to talk about it anyway because it’s very effective. Write down all the good things in your life that makes you happy. These can be big or small, just absolutely anything that maybe sometimes you take for granted. Your friends, your family, the dinner on your plate, your bed at night time, your pets, a hot shower…just anything that will make you smile. Just take a moment to notice everything you have going for you. Sometimes on our lowest days, realising what we already have can get us through it.
4. Incorporate more good into your life
This may sound obvious but try and limit the negative things in your life as much as you can, and replace it with the good. Take notice about what you’re allowing yourself to watch and read and how this affects your mood. For example try limiting how much of the mainstream News you watch within a day because this is full of negativity, stress and fear. I’m not saying to be ignorant about current issues of the world, but try to be mindful about how much of this you allow in. There’s so much happiness and good in the world so this is worth a look too. I made the decision to do this a few years ago and it was one of the best things I did. Good News Shared is good website for reading inspiring stories happening all around us, or perhaps look out for some uplifting blogs that will help you to feel motivated with your day. Marc and Angel Hack Life have some really nice blog posts on personal development and general life, if you’re interested in that kind of thing.
5. Keep your stress down
As previously mentioned negative thinking can cause stress and then in turn stress creates more negative thinking, so we’re stuck in a cycle. Try to keep your stress levels down. Easier said than done but there are things we can do to help us on this journey. Keep healthy and get some physical activity into your routine, eat a balanced diet, limit alcohol intake and try to get a good amount of sleep. Give yourself that time to relax from work, see friends and do things that make you happy. We spend a lot of our lives working, why not allow ourselves some leisure time? Again sounds obvious, but all of these things contribute to a healthy state of mind.
6. Solutions not problems
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is all about not dwelling on the problems or our past, but instead focusing our attention on the present, the solutions and our ‘preferred future’. Focusing on our problems creates stress and anxiety, putting us into panic mode and is very unhelpful when trying to move forwards. Instead train your brain to think about the solutions and how you can solve the problem and take back control.
All of these points can be helpful if you are looking to change some unhelpful thinking patterns, but if you’re interested in pursuing this further then hypnotherapy is also another great tool to reinforce these techniques. If you want to read more about Solution Focused Hypnotherapy then you can click on the link to read a description. Or alternatively feel free to get in contact today if you want to discuss further or find out how hypnotherapy can help you.