Are you often stuck in your head – thoughts swirling round and around?
How many of these thoughts would you characterise as ‘negative’ or ‘limited thinking’?
- Worrying about what will happen if….
- Replaying that conversation you had with a child or a parent;
- Stewing over a comment a colleague made;
- Regretting something you said or did (‘if only I’d…’);
- Feeling anxious, angry, annoyed about all the testing and administration;
- Feeling unsettled and disappointed at the direction education is heading in.
For me, if I was to be honest with myself, my positive to negative ratio, was heavily skewed towards negativity or limited thinking. How about you?
Here’s a quick and simple tip, that’s proved a powerful antidote to my excessive negativity. Let’s call it, Flick the Switch.
Here’s how to Flick the Switch:
- Everytime negative thoughts enter your mind. Acknowledge them to yourself (“I’m worrying about….) without judgment. That is, without ‘having a go’ at yourself.
[Tweet “As soon as you hear the first inklings of negativity, Catch them, Acknowledge them and Let them go.”]
- Then immediately Flick The Switch to Positive Thinking.
Pick something specific to focus on. For example: Things that make you smile; Things that lift your spirits – that energise you; Things that make you laugh hysterically (or you can ditch the hysterically part); Things that attract you, drawing you in to investigate further.
Now before I go on… I’m sure I can hear some of you saying, “Nah I don’t go for that ‘new agey’ stuff.” I get it, I can relate. I was doubtful about this technique too.
Just about every course I did, where meditation or a relaxation exercise was involved, I’d wonder, ‘Why isn’t it happening for me? Why do I feel more stressed than before?’ With practice though this technique consistently lifts me when I’m in gloomy or ‘do not disturb me’ mode. The key: Just keep giving it a go – with focused intent.
How to give negativity the flick
- Acknowledge what you’re feeling. No judgment allowed. Be kind to yourself.
- Flick the Switch to Positive. Like, something that gets you grinning big time.
- Verbalise to yourself – the thing you’re focusing on. For example, ‘it makes me smile, it makes me smile.’ This speaking to yourself – sets your frame of mind.
- Then, look all around you. What do you see (or hear) that you can’t help smiling at? Take it all in – the feelings, the sensations, the thoughts, the wonderings.
- If a negative thought or two intrudes, just acknowledge it and let it go. Then resume your focus once more.
- Jot down or Draw whatever comes up for you. Photographing the items is a cool practice too. I’m building up quite a bank of photos that reveal much about me as a person. Try it.
It does work: Reflecting mindfully
When I first started this Mindfulness technique, I couldn’t believe it. My eyes zoomed all over the place, locking in on things that I’d ordinarily give little attention to. I was seeing things I’d never seen before despite regularly walking past the same spot. At times, the objects I was looking for seemingly flew into my line of sight. It’s like seeing your car model everywhere just after you buy a new car.
I was stunned, that a technique like this could calm my racing mind. This was tremendous feat, to be sure (if you know me, Greg Curran).
At first my doubting, pessimistic side thought it just was a fluke. But no, not at all. It consistently works for me, boosting my energy and positivity. It enables me to give negativity the flick.
So now, Action Stations, for you
1. Give Flick the Switch a go: Whenever your negative self-talk strikes, try it, even just to light the flame of positivity in your day. Then, hit the comments box below, sharing what you’ve focused on, along with your discoveries. We’d all love to hear your stories.
2. If you’ve found this post useful, share it with someone who you think would benefit from this post.