How we think about life determines how we feel about life. If you want to spend more time happy, peaceful, and content and less time angry, resentful, and stressed-out you have learn to be aware of your thoughts and deal with the negative ones when they creep into life. Negative thoughts themselves are not bad. They are only bad when you let them prevent you from pursuing your dreams.
I~~ Recognizing automatic negative thoughts is the first step. There are many kinds of negative thoughts:
1. Worry & Guilt
2. Overgeneralizing (always, never, forever, everything, nothing etc...)
3. Filtering (concentrating on the negative side)
4. Personalizing (blaming yourself for something that is not your fault)
5. Catastrophizing (using inappropriate language to describe something (ex. My speech will be horrific and I'll embarrass myself and my family).
6. Mind Reading (making assumptions about what others are thinking).
7. Should statements
Those are only a few of the many types of negative thoughts that run through your mind daily. Whatever you name them, all of these thoughts distort your reality. Awareness is the very first step to conquering them. You might have to use your emotions as a gauge at first.
II~~ Once you recognize a negative thought, you can choose to do 2 things:
1. Challenge them
2. Ignore them
Both of these actions have the same end result: you are able to pursue your life and function at a higher level in your life.
III~~ If you choose to challenge the ANTs:
1. Look at the situation where the negative thought occurred.
2. What is the negative thought?
3. What is the consequence of the thought?
4. What is the actual fact of the situation (logical and realistic thinking)?
IV~~ Ignore the ANTs. It isn't really ignoring them, but more a matter of awareness and letting them be. This process involves different thinking.
1. Awareness of the thought.
2. Acknowledging the thought.
3. Acknowledging that resisting the thought will give it power.
4. Knowing that it is an ANT.
5. Letting it go.
A logical approach will work, since the automatic negative thoughts are anything but logical. They are the result of underlying commitments your mind-ego has with itself to keep you "safe." Safe in this context simply means familiar. Awareness of this is the biggest key to changing these thoughts, and creating a happiness life.
Kimberly Englot is an authentic-life coach and CEO of Authentic Self Personal Development. You can learn more about negative thinking at http://www.kimberlyenglot.com. While you're there grab the free Authentic Life Toolkit, and subscribe to free tips and tools to living authentically in the weekly Authentic Self Newsletter. Learn more about creating a happy and authentic life!