Negative Thoughts Are a Virus

Negative thoughts and goals don’t mix. A goal requires you to stretch outside your comfort zone and take chances. That requires a positive mindset. Okay. You know all that. But did you know that every negative thought you have about yourself or your goal makes you run slower and slower, just like a computer that’s been infected with a virus?

Unfortunately, negativity can become a habit if it’s repeated. Thoughts will linger longer and longer, the more energy you give them, until they become ‘normal’. But they’re usually cleverly disguised as “facts.” Things like, “I don’t have the knowledge to see this through” or “I don’t have the resources to get past this problem.”

You might try to stop thinking negatively by forcing yourself to be positive and upbeat, but the problem with this approach is that it doesn’t get rid of the underlying issue – the belief that caused the thoughts in the first place.

Here’s a different approach:

1. Start from the outside in by changing your body language. Your mind affects your body (Ever see anyone who’s depressed? They’re hunched over, eyes downcast). And, your body affects your mind. SMILE more often every day even if it’s only at yourself in the mirror. Make yourself walk and sit tall with a commanding presence.

2. Give your mind a “coffee break” a couple of times a day. I don’t mean getting a caffeine fix, I mean silencing the incessant mental chatter that can be heavily skewed toward the negative. When you find yourself in a negative tailspin, just say, “Shhhhhh – listen!” and your mind will instantly stop its chatter as it hunts for the thing it’s supposed to. When it reboots and starts up the chatter again, repeat the command. Do this for five minutes and you’ll snap out of any negative rut!

3. Take a walk. Walk fast, and make yourself pay close attention to your environment. Make your environment more interesting than the thoughts in your head. You’ll not only oxygenate your brain but you’ll detach from the problem for a while, and return to it feeling fresh.

4. Write and/or draw out the problem. Just doodle, with no agenda other than to give your thoughts and emotions shape and form. As you do this, solutions tend to come up spontaneously.

5. Put your “but” into it. Get in the habit of adding a “but” statement to every single negative thought you have. Usually we do it the other way around, as in “I’m growing my business but I’m having trouble keeping on top of the daily operations.” Where’s your focus? On your troubles, not on the positive fact that you’re growing your business. So try this: “I’m having trouble keeping on top of the daily operations but I’m finding ways to delegate.” There! You’ve just become instantly solution-oriented!

6. Finally, the best cure for negativity is gratitude. It’s just as easy to choose to focus on the positives than on the negatives. You actually have SO much to be grateful for, so please do yourself a favour and start expressing gratitude. Remember to include the challenges you’re facing (be grateful for what they teach you!) and for people who annoy or hurt you (they make you learn and grow too). Five minutes a day of listing things to be grateful for will completely change your perspective in about a month.

Inspired by Steve Bloom’s post on:

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