Negative thoughts almost always produce negative outcomes but there is a way to recognize and stop them fast.
I honestly had no idea that negative thoughts were slowly creeping into my life over the years.
In hindsight I never really thought about it. I never took the time to reflect on the quality of my thoughts.
I think of myself as a somewhat self-aware kind of guy but I never noticed that I was backsliding into a negative thought pattern more and more.
Awareness of my negative thoughts came all at once one day when I was in the middle of a ridiculous political discussion. Mid discussion it hit me like a ton of bricks……”what the hell am I doing with my time?” I asked myself.
I immediately started asking myself some tough questions like…..
Why am I allocating energy to this negative conversation?
Why am I not doing something far more productive?
Why am I not doing something far more meaningful?
Why am I not doing something far more fulfilling?
Why am I allowing negative thoughts about politics rob me of so much?
I then reflected further to consider if negative thoughts were creeping into other areas of my life.
I quickly realized that I was allowing a lot of negative thoughts to distract me from my priorities.
Besides negative political nonsense I was also experiencing negative thoughts around what people thought of me, an unknown future, past mistakes, self-doubt, impostor syndrome and more.
How did I let all this negative thinking run amok for so long?
Undisciplined thinking was the culprit. The funny thing about undisciplined thinking is it’s hard to identify in ourselves if you don’t understand what it is.
Clearly I didn’t.
I do now.
If we don’t consciously regulate our thoughts and direct them to think about only what we choose to think about then the subconscious mind takes over the task and the results are almost always negative.
The self-conscious mind defaults to negativity as a way to keep us alive. It’s a survival instinct. If the worst case scenario is considered as a likely outcome we will be prepared for the worst.
Left unregulated, this really screws things up for us because our subconscious mind wants to attach the survival instinct of negativity to as many things as possible.
If you don’t deliberately override it you might end up like I did….wasting time and energy on meaningless things.
Let’s talk about what I call the “disciplined thinking” solution……
The best way to quickly end negative thought patterns is to remember to remain conscious of your thoughts as an observer. Stay disciplined with your thinking.
If you can just remember to view your thoughts as an observer you will be able to shift away from undisciplined thinking in real time. Remaining conscious of your thoughts allows you to choose which thoughts to engage and which to let pass you by.
Practice disciplined thinking by being the observer of your thoughts.
This involves viewing your thoughts without engaging them.
Similar to the way you watch a movie. You sit in a theater and look at the screen. Do the same with your thoughts.
Visualize your thoughts up on a movie screen.
See them, acknowledge them…..just don’t engage them. Some thoughts need to be engaged but the negative ones can be viewed without engagement.
When you are the observer of your thoughts you get to actively choose which to engage and which to let pass you by. Staying conscious of this process doesn’t eliminate negative thoughts it just renders them completely ineffective and non consequential.
That’s how I ended my negative thoughts.
I didn’t try to stop them. I didn’t try to fight them. I simply became conscious of them as an observer which allowed me to let them pass by me without engaging them.
It really is as simple as that.
Now that you are thinking about it, have you allowed negative thoughts to lurk without even realizing it?