Showing posts with label change your perspective. Show all posts
Showing posts with label change your perspective. Show all posts

Replace Negative Thoughts With Positive Thinking

Positive and negative thoughts can become self-fulfilling prophecies: What we expect can often come true.  

If you start off thinking you will mess up a task, the chances are that you will: You may not try hard enough to succeed, you won't attract support from other people, and you may not perceive any results as good enough. Positive thinking, on the other hand, is often associated with positive actions and outcomes. You're drawn to, and you focus on, the positive aspects of a situation. You have hope and faith in yourself and others, and you work and invest hard to prove that your optimism is warranted. You'll enthuse others, and they may well "pitch in" to help you. This makes constructive outcomes all the more likely.  When it comes down to it, positive, optimistic people are happier and healthier, and enjoy more success than those who think negatively. The key difference between them is how they think about and interpret the events in their life.

So, how do you think about your successes and failures? Do you think you have a predictable thinking pattern?

The first step in changing negative thinking is to become aware of it. For many of us, negative thinking is a bad habit – and we may not even know we're doing it! 

Consider these examples of negative thought patterns: The guy on the subway who just made a face is surely directing his behavior at you. When the receptionist doesn't greet you in the morning, you must have done something to anger her. again! You go straight to the coffee machine, because it's Monday morning and you just know you'll be solving problems until lunchtime. When you finally get to your desk, your assistant is waiting for you. "Oh no," you think. "What has he done now? The first problem of the day.”

Imagine how it makes you feel to constantly surround yourself with negativity. Then ask yourself if this is the way you tend to think in your own life? Dr Martin Seligman, who has been described as America's most influential psychologist, has done extensive research on thought patterns. In particular, he looks at the impact of an optimistic versus pessimistic outlook on life and success. He uses three basic dimensions of Permanence, Pervasiveness and Personalization, with optimistic people on one end of the scale and pessimistic people on the other.

Believing that something we are experiencing is either permanent or temporary. The pessimist statement implies that you think bad times will carry on forever. 

Pessimist: I lost my job and I'll never find one as good again. No point even looking!
Optimist: I lost my job. Thank goodness there are other opportunities I can explore!

Believing that situational factors cause an effect or that the effect is evidence of more universal factors at work. The pessimist statement shows that you tend to think that if you've experienced a problem in one place, you'll experience that problem wherever you go.

Pessimist: I lost my job. Companies are all the same; all they care about is money. I don't know why I bother putting in any effort at all.
Optimist: I lost my job. It's too bad our company has to reinvent itself to stay competitive. Thankfully I learned some great transferable skills!

Believing that something about you influenced the outcome or that something external to you caused it.  The pessimist tends to blame himself for bad things, rather than attributing the cause to more general factors. 
Pessimist: I lost my job. If I had been a decent employee they would have found a new job for me.
Optimist: I lost my job. I gave it my all, however they just can't use my skill set right now.

Re-shape Your Thinking
The way you view what happens around you can show whether you have a positive or negative pattern of thinking when you become more aware of your thoughts - and the effect they have on your life. 

When you're more aware of the way you think, you can take action to use positive situations to your advantage, and re-shape the negative ones. The goal is to think positively, regardless of the situation, and make a conscious effort to see opportunities instead of obstacles.

So if we look at one of the examples listed above, if you immediately think the receptionist is mad at you because she didn't say hello, how rational is that? Now change that thought to more rational outcomes like, she have been busy or distracted when you walked by or did you say hello to her? Maybe she wasn't feeling well, or she was in a negative mood herself. These are all more rational reasons for her behavior than simply assuming that you did something wrong.  Persistent negative thinking can cause mental health problems, including depression. While these positive thinking techniques have been shown to have a positive effect, they are for guidance only, and readers should take the advice of suitably qualified health professionals if they are experiencing persistent unhappiness.

Key Points
Becoming more positive is always a good thing. The more aware you are of your thoughts, the better you'll be able to change them to emphasize the positive.  Positive thinking usually attracts positive people, events, and outcomes. If you want to create an environment where you're successful and satisfied, you'll need the power of positive thinking on your side.  You may not be aware of all of your negative thoughts and the effect they have on your life, however, by taking some time to understand your own thought patterns, you can challenge those irrational, negative thoughts – and replace them with more positive, optimistic and empowering messages.

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world." - Buddha

Achieve your full potential! Book a complimentary session at Business and Life Management Coaching to get the support you need to excel in your professional and personal life.

Release the Past and Enter a New Year!

Many people have a hard time letting go of the past. They carry it around with them, ruminate about it constantly, and let it have a big impact on how they live their lives in the present moment.

Of course the past will always be something that influences you to some degree. A lot of who you are and what you’ve learned is the culmination of experiences from your personal history. 

However, while the past may influence your future, it doesn’t have to dictate it. And it doesn’t have to be something that always looms over your shoulder wherever you go.

Instead, we can create a space between ourselves and the past that allows us to grow in new ways. We can do this by creating a type of psychological distance, which is the subjective perception of how far away something is from your current reality.

This article covers key guidelines and tools you can use to create more psychological distance between you and your past.

View your past from an outside perspective.
One great way to create psychological distance is to imagine yourself looking back at an event from an outside perspective. 

Think of a bad experience that happened to you. Now imagine yourself sitting in a movie theater watching this event on the screen. Play with it – rewind it, fast forward it, watch it in reverse, or watch it at a super slow or super-fast speed.

Imagine yourself eating popcorn while watching it. Laughing at the things you exaggerated at the time, but aren’t so bad looking back. Or just imagine yourself getting up and walking out of the movie theater. The character on the screen isn’t you anymore.

By doing this, you allow yourself to “disassociate” from the experience. You’re watching it from a third-person perspective rather than remembering it from a first-person perspective. This helps make the memory less intense and less associated with your personal identity.

Change your environment.
One easy and practical way to create psychological distance is to change your environment.

Start with the place that most reminds you of your past – your bedroom, living room, office, or wherever. Then work on changing it up – putting up new decorations, adding new pictures, moving the furniture, painting the walls a different color, getting a new rug, etc. 

The music you listen to on a daily basis is another part of your environment that you can consider changing. We often associate a particular band, song, or album with a particular “time period” in our life, so seeking new music can create immediate psychological distance. 

Sometimes, even something like moving to a new place can be a useful way to create both physical and psychological distance from your past. In general, however, creating a new environment can be symbolic of opening up a new chapter in your life.

Seek new experiences
. Actively seeking new experiences is another great way to create psychological distance. One way we cling to the past is by not trying new things. We’d rather stay in our house, visit the same places, and follow the same routine. This keeps us trapped in the same patterns that remind us of our past.

Instead, go out to new places, make new friends, and be open to new activities. Focus on building new memories for the future, rather than only focusing on the memories you already have. 

Often times the best way to go forward is to keep yourself active. It’s just like needing to date new people before you can get over an ex, or achieving a new goal before you can get over a previous failure. Keep moving.

Remind yourself of things that have changed
. Most of the change in our lives is slow and gradual. It’s not until we stop and look back 5-10 years that we notice just how different our lives are today. 

For this reason, I find it very important to remind yourself of things that have changed. This can help create psychological distance, because it makes you more aware of the “distance” you’ve already covered.

Take 5 minutes and just write down 3 significant ways your life has changed in the past 5 years. Think back to how your life was in the past, and how it is now in the present.

People sometimes say, “Don’t think of how far you have to go, but how far you’ve already traveled.” This is a short and sweet way to create more psychological distance between you and your past.

Imagine yourself walking through a mental door
. Psychological distance is based on our subjective perception. It’s a distance that is ultimately created in your mind, not the physical world. 

When you want to make a direct change in your mind, it’s often useful to use symbols and metaphors. One symbol for creating psychological distance between you and your past is “walking through a new door.” When you visualize what you are attached to and then walk away from it, you enter through a new door that holds future opportunities. This exercise happens in the first person (you’re looking through your own eyes – this makes it different than the “movie theater” exercise discussed previously.

You can use whatever symbol you want for “future opportunities.” The main idea is to walk through this mental door and toward your future. 

It’s time to take control and focus on what serves your life while leaving behind the things that don’t. Expand your knowledge and enlighten your mind with the tools you need to excel in your life! Work with a Business and Life Management Coach with over 20 years’ experience empowering people to attain self-defined success in their professional & personal lives. Book a free session at today.

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