Stop Focusing on Negative Thoughts

Watercoolor image of a womans head with thoughts swirling

Think about how and where your focus is leading you.

It seems like it should be super complicated to figure out how to feel good more often, but the truth about feeling better is rather simple; you can control your mood by the subject you give your attention to.

You probably already intuitively know this, but for emphasis, I’m going to spell it out here. Stop choosing to focus on what feels awful. The habitual focus on what makes you feel badly, worried, anxious, or insecure is draining the life out of you, killing your motivation, and extinguishing your joy.

Unless your focus on the anxiety-causing subject is helping you create an action plan to improve the situation – just stop. Stop giving those negative thoughts your attention and energy.

“Our inner monologues have tremendous power over us. They can affect not only our mood, not only our physical bodies, but also our every waking moment—and, therefore, every consequence.” – Panache Desai, author and spiritual thought leader

Where to start.

By being open and willing, to start. Pay attention and start looking inward to help you make better focus choices. If you’re open to it and you want to feel better in this moment, or this day, or in your future – you can begin by taking note of what you focus on (and how that makes you feel). By learning to shift your focus from the negative to the positive, you can better control mood swings and improve your daily experience.  

Optimism is your natural state.

Consider that your natural state is one of calmness, of pleasant moods, optimism, and positivity – until you allow your thoughts to introduce negativity.

Your alarm goes off and you wake up with a clean slate of calmness and peace. Then your mind immediately begins to search for what to worry about. And in flows negativity. Your worries from yesterday, or last week, or last year float back into your thoughts. The fears and anxiety about today or tomorrow or next month pour in. What you need to do today, and all that could be irritating or unpleasant fills your brain.

By the time your feet hit the floor to get out of bed, your mind is already full of a list of to-dos and a dread-basket of challenges to overcome. As you move through your day, the underlying negativity gains momentum.

Your mind seeks proof that you should be worried, overwhelmed, and irritated… and what you focus on, you will find!

By the time the sun goes down, the dog’s been walked, and you lay back in bed, you’re emotionally exhausted. Tired of carrying around the momentum of the negativity, and the heavy weight of concerns and worries. You sleep, clear the slate, and then you awake (if you’ve even slept through the night) and you start the same cycle all over again.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

You have the power to consciously, intentionally stop negative thought cycles.

Nope, you’re not going to avoid or ignore life’s hurdles or difficulties. You’re going to notice and shift your focus. You’ll still have to face the worrisome challenges, but you don’t have to spend all your energy consumed with pre- and post-thoughts about them.

That is where you drag yourself down and exhaust yourself. That is where you sap all the fun and joy out of your life. And P.S., all the overthinking doesn’t change the outcome. By allowing your thoughts to focus and spin on the downside of whatever, you’re robbing yourself of enjoying the upsides! You’re pouring a layer of negativity onto every other part of your day. Festering on annoyances and disappointments robs you of fully enjoying moments of joy, love, happiness, and wonder.

“Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting, it just means we stop carrying the energy of the past into the present.” – Yung Pueblo

Think about how much you accomplish when you FEEL good.

When you’re happy, confident, grateful, excited, and lit up. When you’re in a good mood, you’re naturally full of motivation and positivity. You get stuff done. You make plans. You take better care of yourself and those you love. You do a better job. You eat healthier, you exercise, you’re more patient and tolerant, you feel hopeful, you believe in what you want, you have faith for good outcomes. 

“I know for sure what we dwell on is who we become.” – Oprah

In your natural state of high vibration, you have courage. The kind of courage that makes you rule your day like a freaking Queen!

Practice catching yourself from starting down a negative path.

If you practice bringing awareness to what you’re putting your mental focus on, you can catch yourself before you go too long, too dark, or too deep. You can consciously stop yourself from dwelling on and exaggerating defeating emotions.

“Stress begins with one negative thought. One negative thought that went unchecked, and then more thoughts came until stress manifested.” – Rhonda Byrne, The Secret

You can tell yourself to knock it off! You can intentionally look for the light. Look for something to appreciate. Look for what can go right. Look for what is full of wonder and love. (Shall I remind you of the law of attraction concept!?)

What are you attracting?

If you’re looking for problems, you will find them. If you’re looking for things to worry about or feel sad and down about, you’ll find plenty.

If you are willing to catch yourself and look for things to appreciate, for reasons why things will work out, for reasons to feel grateful, for things that you love, you will find more and more of those.

What do you want to find?

Think of a word search puzzle. Without the list of words you’re looking for, it’s harder to find any words. And you might pick out a word to two, almost accidentally, but they might not be the words you’re looking for. But instead, armed with a list of words to search for, you have a goal. If you know what you’re looking for it’s therefore always easier to focus on and find.

“Finding opportunity is a matter of believing it’s there.” – Barbara Corcoran, real estate mogul and business expert

It’s like mental/emotional retraining. It takes a little time and effort. Like exercising, you don’t see the results you want overnight, but over time, you are transforming into who you want to be, feeling how you want to feel, exercising your natural ability to feel grounded, centered, happy and joyful.

The fear of “toxic positivity”.

This is a term coined by those who fear that by trying to “fake” positivity, we may be burying or ignoring emotional pain. I’m all for digging in deep to find what the roots of our negativity are, and there are effective ways to work through healing that pain if we choose to pursue them, i.e. therapy, journaling, talking to a friend, grounding practices, prayer, yoga, life coaches, reiki healing, writing, counseling, etc…

“A brain imaging study at UCLA showed that putting feelings into words reduces the intensity of emotions such as sadness, anger, and pain.” – healthline.com

We certainly don’t want to force ourselves to look on the bright side when we’re suffering and miserable. That’s not what this is about.

This is about choosing to be more conscious of our mental focus and where it leads us.

Being aware when we are obsessing or dramatizing our worries and concerns, infecting every minute of every day, unnecessarily casting a shadow on how we feel about everything else. There’s nothing toxic about wanting to be less negative.

Letting our focus keep us swirling in darkness and unproductive worry. Now, that sounds toxic!

It’s time to take your power back. It’s time to choose what deserves your attention and what doesn’t.

It’s time to seek out how you want to feel. Spend your energy determined to focus on feeling as good as you can or allowing negativity to drag you around. Your choice.

“The world loves us when we choose to love the world.” – Marianne Williamson, author and spiritual thought leader

Hit the reset button.

Notice your thoughts. Become aware of the thoughts you’re allowing to flood into your mind when you wake up.

Reset where your focus is. Ask yourself better questions. Like, will this worrying help the situation? Do I have any control over what’s making me angry, jealous, sad, irritated, or overly concerned?

Redirect your focus to what you can affect. Bring your focus to what makes you feel hopeful and glad. From this place of calm and ease, you can begin to feel better. (And we’ve already established that it’s far easier to find motivation and get stuff done when we feel better.)

Baby steps. When you feel yourself being pulled into worry or worse yet, into apathy, reset and redirect to what you want to find, see, feel, experience.

Personally, I encourage myself to hit the reset button with strategically placed post-it notes. Little notes positioned to bring my focus back to how I want to feel and what I want to accomplish. Is it a tricky little distraction from negativity? Yes! And it works!

Leave a comment! I’d love to hear if you have any reset button tips that help you keep your focus on what you want to attract into your life? – Marlene

 


 

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Looking to dig deeper into how to use journaling to reduce anxiety and feel better? Check out Journal to Joy, my self-paced online course designed to show you exactly how to journal for the greatest emotional transformation (in just 10-minutes a day!) Details here.

 

 

 

 

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