Managing Stress and Negativity with Positive Thinking
This is difficult.
It's just too complicated.
There is no way this is going to work.
This is too much of a radical change.
If any of these thoughts sound familiar, that's because everybody has them at some point. Everybody. Even the most optimistic, upbeat person you know has occasional negative thoughts about themselves and others. If you have ever wondered how optimistic people deal with negative thoughts, you'll probably be surprised at how simple it is to put a positive spin on unhelpful thoughts.
For example, the next time you catch yourself feeling stressed about making a big change in your life (relocating, changing jobs, retiring from your job), try replacing that negative thought with a positive one, such as I'm lucky to even have the opportunity to start a new chapter in my life or What if this change brings something wonderful into my life, but I never find out what it is because I didn't follow through with the change?
What You Think Can Impact How You Feel
If you fixate on specific thoughts and assign legitimacy to those thoughts, they could affect your belief system. Consider the old Aesop's fable about the thirsty crow and the pitcher of water. The crow's beak was too short to reach the water in the pitcher. He tried to push the pitcher over but failed. Overcome by fear, the crow could not stop thinking bad thoughts. Then, he moved his eyes away from the pitcher and saw a pile of pebbles. Just seeing those pebbles pushed his negative thoughts aside enough to motivate the crow into thinking analytically-- maybe, just maybe there was a way to get a drink. Maybe if I try something different...
Tips for Applying Positive Thinking Techniques to Your Life
- Learn to confront those occasional negative thoughts. Carry a notepad around with you and jot down the negative thought that comes into your mind. Counteract a cynical thought with a positive one and write it down as well.
- Find a joke website that relates to your sense of humor and spend five minutes each day reading jokes and cartoons. Try out some of your favorite jokes on friends. Making people laugh is a great way to relieve stress and reframe negativity.
- Keep yourself at a distance from negative people. They will increase stress levels by influencing your thought patterns and cause you to question your ability to take advantage of positive thinking techniques.
Finally, give yourself a break! Practice self-compassion by forgiving past mistakes you've made. Find the positive side in making a wrong decision and put that on your list of positive thoughts.