How to change your mindset and become happier

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Do you want to change negative thoughts into positive ones?

Negative thinking patterns affect us physically, emotionally and mentally. They interrupt well-laid plans, cause problems with relationships and can leave us feeling tired, overwhelmed and lousy.

Fortunately, we can practise and learn how to change our mindset.

The following strategy uses five simple steps for changing negative thoughts into positive ones. It includes:

  1. Recognise your pain body when listening to your thoughts.
  2. Take action to change your mindset one step at a time.
  3. Acknowledge that beating yourself up affects others too.
  4. If at first, you don’t succeed, try and try again.
  5. Make time every day to reflect and take positive action.

Learn to recognise negative thinking

Recently, a close friend discovered that they were reacting negatively to many things in their life. Their work annoyed them, their home life annoyed them and their aging cat was really getting on their nerves.

Unfortunately, this negativity manifested into teeth grinding (bruxism) and tension headaches. Because they didn’t physically feel well, they found themselves doing fewer things that made them happy, like cooking and socialising.

They were slowly turning into the crankiest person in the southern hemisphere. It took some time for them to realise the common denominator in all of this was them.

Once they realised that they were letting even the tiniest things get under their skin, they knew they had to take a step back to reassess where they were at in life.

Things began to change.

They began to listen less to negative thoughts and feelings.

And yes, this close friend is me.

When you choose to stop reacting to the pain body, things don’t magically get better. All those bad habits you have developed over a long period of listening to negative thoughts take consistent effort to reverse or stop.

But if you keep chipping away at them it will get better.

Don’t let negative thoughts take over

Your pain body is not your friend.

Eckert Toll in the Power of Now, refers to the pain body as “the dark shadow cast by the ego”. It lurks about in your thoughts waiting for any opportunity to cast you down and demean you. Made up of the pain from your past, it wants to be remembered.

And because we are reflective beings who like to look back on our lives, it is so easy for the pain body to take over.

For some people, the pain body is a constant companion, for others, it comes and goes.

When you find yourself having negative thoughts, identify them for what they are. For some people like myself, it’s a voice in my thoughts that’s mean and belittling. When I am at my lowest it can even rise up and make itself heard outwardly.

So, how do you change negative thoughts to positive ones?

The first step is to become aware of them and one of the ways you can do this is by listening to your thoughts. Recognise the negative thoughts and how you react to them. Write them down and how they make you feel.

You control those thoughts and the way you react to them. So, what positive messages and actions can you replace them with?

Journalling can be cathartic. By recognising our negative thoughts we can then reflect on different responses and be ready for when they appear again. Reflection allows us time to prepare a better response or defence to our pain body.

A person reads their journal reflecting on how to change negative thoughts to positive ones.

Take action: Change negative thoughts to positive ones

Once you realise that you are thinking negatively, take action to change your mind. Create a mantra to return fire.

You might want to start with a mantra to drown out the negative thoughts. Create a mantra that has positive words and that makes you feel good. You can start with this one, or make your own.

I am beautiful.
I am a beautiful person.
I am caring, kind and grateful.
I've got this!

I repeat the first positive thought to strengthen my resistance to my pain body. I am beautiful is a positive affirmation attributed to my personality.

When you have chosen your mantra, ask what is your pain body trying to stop you from realising?

I feel my pain body wants me to fail at what I am trying to do by drowning me in negativity. So, the best way to beat it is to do the opposite. Keep doing what you’re afraid of achieving. Take tiny steps and change one thing at a time.

Start changing your mindset

Start changing your mindset by focusing on positive thoughts.

First, create that mantra to drown out the negativity.

Then, do one thing that your negative self is stopping you from starting or completing.

The first thing I did was to start doing five minutes of Tai Chi a day. This new habit that I’m forming is relaxing and it has helped to relieve physical pain and social anxiety.

And even though I haven’t always been successful at doing it every day and that’s okay. I might miss a day or a week sometimes. Rather than give up, I could change the time I’m doing it for a better result.

By starting with yourself and making the changes you need to bring your positive self out, it will impact others around you in a positive way. For example, doing Tai Chi encourages others in the family to join me and it puts me in a good mood.

A person uses nature and yoga to change negative thoughts to positive ones.

Think positively

Positive thinking has been proven to improve mood, reduce stress, and even help people live healthier and longer.

In fact, research shows that people who focus on positive things tend to enjoy life more than those who dwell on negative thoughts.

So, what can you take away from today’s article?

  1. Observe your thoughts, and recognise negative ones and the pain body.
  2. Write down and reflect on how you are thinking and feeling. Use a journal to find new positive ways to think and feel.
  3. Create a positive mantra to combat your negative thoughts and change them into positive ones.
  4. Do one thing now that your negative thoughts are stopping you from starting or completing.
  5. Be kind to yourself. If at first, you don’t succeed, think positively and try again.

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