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Five Steps to Transform Negative Thinking (and Your Life)

What thoughts dominate your life? Do you ever stop to notice? Most people are unaware of the impact their thinking has on their lives. However, your thoughts directly affect your mood and self-esteem. If you are not aware of that try this little test. The next time you feel sad, angry, or anxious for no apparent reason, take a moment to observe what you were just thinking and jot it down. It could be quite revelatory. How you think also affects your body. For example, if you are in the habit of entertaining self-critical, pessimistic thoughts, you may find that your body becomes tense from that stress. This can lower your immune system. Although your thoughts exert a powerful influence on your emotional and physical health, you do not have to feel powerless. There are steps you can take to improve and even transform your thinking. The following are five suggestions that are doable and beneficial. First: Become aware of how you talk to yourself. When you catch yourself thinking negatively acknowledge yourself for the awareness then tell yourself, ” I chose to think differently now”. This may take patience at first because your tendency will be to believe the negative thought. You will need to remind yourself that it is not true, that it only seems true because it is familiar. Second: Learn to balance your inner critic with self-acknowledgement and encouragement. Realize that self-criticism discourages optimum behavior. You don’t like it when other people criticize you. Your spirit and emotions thrive on encouragement. Learn to speak kindly to yourself. Third: Replace negative self-talk with affirmations. An affirmation is a positive statement declared in the present tense. For example, “Everything is working out for my highest good”. Or “It’s safe for me to express myself” Fourth: When you notice yourself entertaining a negative thought, imagine that voice inside your head sounding like Donald Duck or Minnie Mouse. Doing that will probably put a smile on your face which in turn can change your mood. Fifth: Appreciate any positive changes you notice. Appreciation not only feels good it will accelerate and empower the process. The most important thing is to find ways to become more objective and self-accepting and to know that you are in charge, not your thinking. When I say “you” I mean the authentic you, your true self, your essence. So start where you are right now. Have patience with yourself and take things step by step. Eventually you will notice signs of positive change and that will feel very good – definitely something to appreciate.

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