Beating the Bad Habit of Negative Thinking

11 Mar

Negative thinking is a lot like smoking. It’s a habit. One that we have accepted and live with every day of our lives. And like smoking, a BAD habit. We have accepted its consequences and believe that we will never get out from under it. So we hardly even try. We sort of just live with it. But negative thinking can be overpowered.

The first step to breaking this or any habit is to acknowledge it. Accept that you are for the most part an average person. And the average person thinks 54,000 negative thoughts a day and approximately 6,000 positive thoughts. Just looking at those numbers; nine negative thoughts to every one positive one makes you wonder if you can do it. But you can.

Okay, you say. I’m average and I think all these negative thoughts. But I don’t recognize my thoughts as negative. In fact I’m not even aware that I’m even thinking a thought, be it positive or negative. And herein lies the problem.

So the next question you ask yourself is, “How do I know when I’m thinking a negative thought?” Actually it’s really quite easy. Every negative thought engenders a negative feeling. So, when you’re feeling frightened, sad, depressed, worried, anxious or any one of countless negative feelings, stop and analyze what you are thinking. I guarantee you are thinking a negative thought. And it’s front and center in your mind as part of a story you are telling yourself. It could be a new story or one you have been beating yourself up with for decade after decade.

So once you identify a negative feeling what do you do then? In my book Overpowering Fear, I lay out a number of tools I use to clear my mind of negative thoughts. But, the one I like best I learned from Florence Scovel Shinn’s 1925 bestseller, The Game of Life and How to Play it. It involves using your higher power. I use Infinite Spirit as does Ms. Shinn.

Infinite Spirit, I cast the burden of this negative thought about (fill in the blank) on you and I go free. Start with saying it three times and see if the negative feeling has lifted. If not continue saying it until you feel happy and full of joy. Because happiness and joy will fill the vacuum left by the negative thought.

If this seems like a lot of work, you’re right. Old habits, especially life long ones, will take work to overpower. But my faith is in you. I know you can do it.

With Love,

Michael

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