Thoughts are powerful because they cause our feelings. But don’t let those thoughts intimidate you! The more you understand about how your thinking works, the more you will be able to disengage from negative thinking and feel better!
The first thing you need to know is that thoughts are just…thoughts. In fact, you have so many thoughts that you don’t even notice or react to each and every day. Having a thought doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s reasonable or valid. Thoughts are subjective. They shift and change with circumstance and even with time.
If a negative thought pops into your head, it will create a negative feeling (because that’s how thoughts and feelings work) and you are going to pay attention to that negative feeling because it feels uncomfortable. The more you pay attention to it, the stronger the thought gets.
This is the negative cycle we want to break!
The best way to do that is to not focus on the negative thought so much and instead remember how thinking really works. This involves stepping back from your thought by using your Self Awareness and becoming an observer.
This is a great exercise to help you do that.
Learn To see Your Thought as a Cloud in the Sky…
Ever play that game with a friend where you try to see shapes in the clouds? As soon as you try to point out the shape of the rabbit or the bird that you see, it rather quickly dissolves into another shape, sometimes faster than you can get your friend to see it.
Just because the cloud looked like a rabbit, didn’t mean that it really was a rabbit, and in fact, once you waited for a few seconds, it didn’t even look like a rabbit any more
Imagine that your thoughts are like clouds in the sky. They come and go above your head, sometimes you notice them and sometimes you don’t.
Negative thoughts are called negative for a reason. They are not reliable as a source for you to base important decisions upon. They are shapeshifters that form scary and doomsday images in your thinking and create fear and despair in your feelings.
Just like you don’t take the rabbit in the cloud seriously, you can do the same with your negative thoughts. You don’t have to react them, you actually have a choice.
You can focus more on the negative thought, explore it, find evidence for it, even argue with it
You can put it in a cloud and let it just float on by.
Yep, I know that sounds strange, maybe even a little dangerous. Aren’t you supposed to pay attention to all of your thoughts?
Oh, I hope not! There are too many random thoughts you have each day to take each and every one seriously.
Your inner wisdom knows which thoughts are really important to pay attention to and which ones you need to let float on by. But you have to give that wisdom a chance to guide you.
The next time you have a negative thought, just take a step back and imagine it’s in a cloud that’s going to pass in a few minutes. You may have some really cloudy days, with lots of negative thoughts. Keep practicing. Behind every cloudy sky is the sun just waiting to be seen.
With practice, you can get really good at breaking the hold negative thoughts have on your life!
Check out The Resiliency System where we learn more about how to work with your thinking so you can feel more peace and control in your life.