::::Change Your Thoughts, Change your Life::::
Here is a recap of what we have talked about so far:
In a nutshell, it’s been shown that just thinking about something can cause your brain to release neurotransmitters, chemical messengers that allow it to communicate with parts of itself and your nervous system. Neurotransmitters control virtually all of your body’s functions, from hormones to digestion to feeling happy, sad, or stressed.
But how do you actually change your thoughts? The first step in changing your thoughts is to become aware of the conversation that is happening internally.
Not sure if your self-talk is positive or negative? Some common forms of negative self-talk include:
·Filtering. You magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out all of the positive ones. For example, you had a great day at work. You completed your tasks ahead of time and were complimented for doing a speedy and thorough job. That evening, you focus only on your plan to do even more tasks and forget about the compliments you received.
·Personalizing. When something bad occurs, you automatically blame yourself. For example, you hear that an evening out with friends is canceled, and you assume that the change in plans is because no one wanted to be around you.
·Catastrophizing. You automatically anticipate the worst. The drive-through coffee shop gets your order wrong and you automatically think that the rest of your day will be a disaster.
·Polarizing. You see things only as either good or bad. There is no middle ground. You feel that you have to be perfect or you're a total failure.
You can learn to turn negative thinking into positive thinking. The process is simple, but it does take time and practice to develop this new habit.
Below, you will find some recommendations from The Mayo Clinic. Check them out, and see if any of them resonate. Tomorrow, I will take you through a powerful exercise I use on myself and with my clients.
·Identify areas to change. If you want to become more optimistic and engage in more positive thinking, first identify areas of your life that you usually think negatively about, whether it's work, your daily commute or a relationship. You can start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.
·Check yourself. Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you're thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them.
·Be open to humor. Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday happenings. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed.
·Follow a healthy lifestyle. Aim to exercise for about 30 minutes on most days of the week. You can also break it up into 10-minute chunks of time during the day. Exercise can positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body. And learn techniques to manage stress.
·Surround yourself with positive people. Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways.
·Practice positive self-talk. Start by following one simple rule: Don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations of what is good about you. Think about things you're thankful for in your life.