Stress and negative thinking are very definitely linked. Stress has been proven in countless studies to cause heart disease, unhealthy weight gain, asthma, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, depression and anxiety. And negative thinking actually causes adrenaline and cortisol (the stress hormones located in your body) to increase. So wouldn’t it be great if you could learn to turn negative, stress-promoting thoughts to positive ones?
How Can You Train Yourself to Think Differently?
Training yourself to think differently is easier than you may think – but it takes time.
Step 1: Personal Awareness
Self responsibility and personal awareness are important topics in all areas of happiness. This is especially true when changing your way of thinking. You need to become aware of your personal behavior. Most of us think thousands of thoughts a day without even realizing. So the first step is learning to check yourself when you think something negative. You’re not going to be able to change it right away, you just need to learn to notice it. Practice this for a while before moving onto step 2.
Step 2: Flip Your Thoughts Around
If you were recently fired or downsized from your place of employment, the impact mentally and financially can be devastating. But don’t think, “They fired me. This is horrible. What am I going to do?” Those are negative thoughts of uncertainty. Instead, tell yourself, “This is an amazing opportunity. I now have the freedom to take control of my life and follow my dreams.”
Veteran yoga practitioners and teachers understand about “letting go” of negative emotions. And that is what you do when you turn your negative thoughts into positive ones. Make no mistake about it, positive or negative, even a small thought can snowball into a huge pattern of thinking. Wouldn’t you prefer a blooming garden of positivity over a dark and ugly field of negative thoughts?
Fortunately, there are several things you can do immediately when faced with a negative thought to turn it around. Yoga and other meditative practices help ease your mind. And the simple act of smiling genuinely has been proven to improve your mood.
One very effective tip to use here is to actually write your negative thoughts down on paper. Then rewrite them with a positive spin. This gets you in the habit of meeting every eventuality or situation with a positive outlook.
Step 3: Surround Yourself With Positive People
You should also surround yourself with positive people. When they see that you are acting or responding in a negative manner, they can quickly help you get “unstuck” and headed back to a positive mindset. You can also experience the happiness that comes from positive thinking when you work on improving your relationships with the people in your life. But a key component of improving any relationship is to recognize that they are two-way streets, not simply a “resource” you can reasonably expect to continually draw from without reciprocation, so don’t just judge people in terms of what they can do for you but rather how much you can each mutually benefit from cross-supporting each other.