In the morning, what is the very first thing that enters your mind?
I don’t want to get up.
I didn’t set the coffee.
I’m out of filters.
Shoot. I’m out of gas.
Work is gonna suck.
Traffic is gonna be a beast.
I’ve got too much to do.
I can’t deal with people today.
If you have had any of these thoughts you probably fed yourself a good scoop of negativity. You may have continued your day and feeding frenzy of negative thoughts. The long day working with crazy people and fighting traffic on the way home. Dealing with lunatics at the grocery store. Not having enough time to relax before doing the whole hamster wheel dance again. Tomorrow.
By the time you got to the end of your day, you probably fed yourself a buffet of worms of negativity. You have caused your blood pressure and heart rate to rise and this can leave a bad taste in your mouth and life.
The issue with these negative thoughts are that they are intrusive, unwanted, and can make you more obsessive than a game of Pokémon Go.
So how can you stop bingeing when you know this isn’t good for your mind, body and soul?
You can lean into these 3 ideas.
Use a Mindful Moment
When a negative though comes up you may not even realize it. You may feel your emotional state shift from okay to unease and that’s your big clue. Take a breath. Remind yourself that this is simply a thought. Ask yourself if your negative thought is real. For example, I may be worried that I’m going to run out of gas and that my whole day is going to be ruined. That nagging thought would stay with me all day, if I let it.
But by taking a moment to breathe and check to see if this is grounded in reality, this creates a shift in my thinking. If I asked if I really was going to run out of gas, my brain would become more precise with the fact that I have enough gas to get me to the gas station instead of my negative emotional brain of fear. By checking in with yourself when you catch your thoughts you avoid going round and round in pattern of negativity.
Reframe Your Game
When negative thoughts arise, start retraining your brain by finding something positive or useful about the situation. If I have negative thoughts about running out of gas, I can learn from this situation by not allowing my tank to go to beyond a 1/4 of a tank before refilling. If I’m starting a new job and feel like I’m clueless and start feeding my brain a bowl full of woe, I can reframe my game by reminding myself that I like to learn and I have friends who can help me, if I ask.
Again, by reframing your thoughts, you stop the cycle of negativity because your brain is now searching for answers.
Hang Out With Love
If you notice that it’s really hard for you to break away from your negative thoughts, look around and see who you spend the most time with. When we hang out with people, we mirror them. It’s one way that we bond. If your friend is always worried about not having enough money or not being in a relationship, you too will begin to have these negative thoughts. Now, if you know someone is completely negative, you may try to lessen the time with them.
If you have a friend who you love, have them be your accountability partner. If you start serving up a bowl of negative thoughts, tell her that you owe her a cup of coffee or lunch. Or help each other reframe your brains when negative thoughts arise. By helping each other you get two rewards, first you break your patterns and suffering from negative thought. Second, you get to experience the product of happiness when you help someone else out.
Life is too short. It’s too short to for feeding your brain negativity and wasting a precious day of your life. But life is never too short to feed yourself and others a serving of love. Chew on that for a while and enjoy. Namaste.