Just as it takes one positive thought to set your life on the right path, it takes only one negative thought to derail a lifetime of hard work and effort.
Of all the thoughts that enter our minds, we are consciously aware of a fraction of those thoughts. Although that is the case, once we have identified a stream of intrusive and less than ideal impressions, it is up to us to maintain control over those thoughts to keep our lives on track.
The idea of our thoughts transmuting themselves into reality is an inescapable aspect the human existence. This does not mean that we should become consumed trying to filter every single thought that enters the mind because, once more, that is impossible.
One way to gauge whether a thought is counterproductive to your continued growth is to examine your feelings because thought patterns influence your emotions. And your emotions lead to a commitment to action. Suppose you are experiencing pessimism, dejection, or disappointment. In that case, it is likely that the related thought is not a healthy one.
Upon recognizing that you are drifting into a funk based on a thought, you can train yourself to pivot. The first strategy that can be employed to address the mind’s freewheeling friskiness is to confront negative thoughts head-on. And it does not matter if the thought is factual.
So what you have had a lazy spell that led to you not completing your goals or assignments. Well, your action in itself does not mean you are a lazy person. Release any self-judgment that labels you as being one thing or another. Bad habits can quickly and easily evolve into good habits. Indolence, like any other tendency, can be turned into structure, discipline, and commitment.
Another strategy that is both valuable and useful in reconstructing negative thought patterns is to practice gratitude. I cannot overstate the importance of expressing appreciation for what one has, to include loved ones, friends, pets, colleagues, and all of the goodness life continuously offers.
- Keep a journal of big and little joys in your daily life.
- Write down “three good things”—identify three things that have gone well for you and single out the cause.
- Write thank-you notes to others.
- Think about people who have inspired you, and what about them was most significant.
- Engage in “mental subtraction.” Imagine what your life would be like if some positive event had not occurred.
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