Written by the Renew & Revitalize Life Coaching Team
How many thoughts do you have per day? It’s a difficult concept to wrap your mind around; depending on how you frame the concept of a “thought,” the answer could very well range into the hundreds of thousands.
Another, related, question is this – how many of those thoughts are positive? If you’re like most people, you’d probably estimate that the majority of your inner thoughts have a hopeful bent. Unfortunately, you’re likely wrong. A study by Raj Raghunathan, PhD and associate professor at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business, found that up to 70% of naturally occurring thoughts are negative.
How to Get Past Negative Thoughts
Of course, some negative thinking is just a natural part of life – if negative thoughts were wrong or unnatural, the results of the above-mentioned study would have been completely different. However, regular, negative thought processing can be detrimental to your happiness as well as your productivity and even your health. So, how can you overcome negative thinking? Consider these tips:
- Grow through adversity. Learning how to use adversity in your life to stimulate growth is a crucial way to avoid succumbing to repeated negative thoughts. Developing a method of turning negative situations into opportunities for a positive outcome gives you the power to decide what happens in your own life, as well as the confidence that comes with exercising it.
- Be kind to yourself. According to the science behind the way the mind works, your brain develops a new neural pathway and develops habits based on our repeated responses. Giving in to negative thoughts after a shortcoming can help create a habit you don’t want – self-criticizing and unkind thoughts about yourself.
- Educate yourself about the way the brain works. In its constant state of attention, scanning for danger around you, your brain actively looks for negative events to anticipate its necessary response. Be aware of this and work towards interrupting these negative thoughts before they become overwhelming is key to preventing habitual negative thought.
- Focus on positive affirmations. Aside from interrupting negative thoughts, the other aspect of rewiring your brain is focusing on the positive aspects of the world around you. Choose to center your focus on the positive things you’ve been missing with your focus on negativity and break the negative pattern you’ve been falling into.
- Meditate. Even with an eye towards positivity, the world around us is almost overwhelmingly negative. Engaging in meditation is a great way to add calm and center your life in a way that adds balance and opportunity for growth.
- Consider a life coach. If you’re struggling with an influx of negative thoughts, life coaching may be able to help you make progress. “It is important to gain an understanding of the goals, desires, and values that are responsible for the spontaneously occurring negative thoughts,” says Raghunathan. Fortunately, life coaching as a process excels at building that understanding and developing goals to move towards positive outcomes.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, many of your thoughts are likely to be negative. The above tips can help you begin to address how you react to negative thoughts and assist you in building positive thought habits moving forward. For a more long-term approach to keeping negative thought processing at bay, a life coach may just provide the positive stimuli and structured framework that can lead to real, positive change in your life.