According to National Science Foundation, an average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive thoughts.
If we repeat those negative thoughts, we think negative way more than we think positive thoughts.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapists have a term for it — ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts).
All negative thoughts are not bad. Being alert can help you survive but most negative thoughts are useless. They only create imaginary drama in your mind.
Let’s break this thought pattern and stop dwelling. Do an exercise with me.
Take out a piece of paper or open a writing software on your computer or mobile.
List every negative thought you have. Once you’ve listed everything down, don’t stop. Dig deeper and write more thoughts about:
- Your fears
- Your insecurities
- Your losses
- Things that stress you out regularly
- Things that irritate you about other people
Make another column or a separate list.
Now, for every negative thought, write at least one positive thought.
- If you fear failure, write one instance when failure helped you to learn a lesson.
- If you’re insecure about your skills, write how much you’ve improved since you started.
- If you’ve lost a relationship in the past, write about the beautiful time you spent with each other.
- If you stress about work, write how your work is serving other people.
- If you don’t like your coworker’s behavior, write about one positive thing about that person.
Shifting perspective sounds easy. But it’s not.
It takes practice.
This is why I want you to do this exercise right now. Once you do this exercise, your mind will remember it.
It will become part of your thinking process. Whenever you think of a negative thought, counter it with a positive one
Nervous about giving a speech in public? Think of the positive impact you will make.
Lost money? Think of one thing you have remain.
Feeling jealous? Appreciate one thing about yourself.
Make it a habit. Give yourself a one day challenge to balance your thoughts.
The aim is to make this habit part of your subconscious. Once it has become part of your thinking process, you will shift your perspective like Tony Robbins does.
Tony says we live in either of the two mental states — A beautiful state or a suffering state.
A beautiful state is when you feel love, joy, gratitude, awe, playfulness, ease, creativity, drive, caring, growth, curiosity or appreciation.
A suffering state is when you feel stressed out, worried, frustrated, angry, depressed, irritable, overwhelmed, resentful or fearful.
“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Tony was not born optimistic. He practiced it. He put in the effort.
You can do the same. You can stop the negative thought pattern in your mind.
Your thoughts are the roots of your destiny. Your next action results from your next thought. You owe it to yourself to improve the quality of your thoughts.
“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” — Lao Tzu
Do the exercise and give yourself a one day challenge to get started.
It takes a cue, routine and a reward to form a habit. The cue here is an automatic negative thought (ANT), the routine is a positive thought to balance it out, and the reward is how you feel.
Repeat until it becomes part of your thought process.