I actually wrote this for a DirectedThoughts Instagram follower who asked me some questions about how to have better feeling thoughts. I appreciated the opportunity to answer him so much. :) Then, I realized that this should be a blog post. So, with some tweaking and editing, here goes:
These are only suggestions so use as you would like and ignore the rest. I also wanted to say that all work on your thoughts toward a more positive mindset, no matter how small, are always of value. Changing those “autopilot” built in thoughts might not happen overnight, but it does make a difference the more you try.
So, to start, there are a few of “you” in your head. :) There is the “you” who knows he needs to feel better...the you who knows that the way you feel now hurts and that there is a better way, and you just have to find it. That, to me, is like your spirit whispering to you that you are more than those bad thoughts. Then, there is the “you” that is more like the ego, always chattering and pulling the past into your now in order to try to show you how it has always been so it “will always be.” The ego is looking out for you but it is also so loud that it is hard to get past it to see a better life for yourself.
I used to be in this loop. For decades. So, I do get it. I had to get past all the negative autopilot thoughts stemming from my traumatic childhood that I unknowingly carried into adulthood. I have done the work. I went to therapy, support groups, and read so many books, but it really took me to do what you are doing now, applying that knowledge, no matter how small the increments, and connecting with my own thoughts which got me to where I am now. Once I started down that path of wanting to get better, listening to my intuition, and applying that knowledge, I learned that you can, in fact, overcome all the negativity in your head. Today, I am going to try to give you some quick summary suggestions. Again, take what works, leave what doesn’t. :)
Know that you are not alone in this quest. Your ego will try to make you feel lonely. Your ego will form resistance around the new thoughts you want to think. DO NOT argue with yourself. Turn your attention to something that makes you laugh or feel good, then in a few minutes, think the new more positive thought again. The more you argue with your thoughts, the more they come. So “direct” them to another better feeling thought and ignore the negative chatter.
Find memes, Instagram pages, posts that make you feel happy. Find poems, verses, writings, posts, or anything of that kind have them handy at all times in order to boost your mood when you feel the wave of negativity coming over you. I keep a whole folder of these on my phone and have them made into posters and hang them around my house. I also have an entire Instagram account devoted only to positive posts. Do whatever is easiest to get exposure to those words now. Start surrounding yourself with positive things that speak to you. You need to see it to be it. You need to get these words into your subconscious.
Create a list of simple, easy to remember affirmations and include GRATITUDE. I keep them on my phone, I hang them up, I write them in my work notebooks, I write them in my journal...anywhere I can write or type something positive, I will do it. Some I read and save, some I create. Whatever speaks to you! Something that you feel you could believe and something that makes you, even for a second, say yes!
Before you say the above affirmations, go back to #2 above - read those memes, posts, pictures, verses, etc and get yourself into a happier state (just happier, not like you have to be 100% happy,) just more than you are now. Then go to your affirmations. Say the affirmation, feel it for a minute. Close your eyes, take a breath and use your imagination to envision yourself as this affirmation, just for a few minutes (or even seconds to start). As soon as the negative ego jumps in to tell you that you are wrong, just move on to something else - like do some quick exercise or go do some chores or whatever. Just move to something else. No arguing with your ego. You know you can do this, the ego doesn’t, and that is okay.
Think about the definitions that you give people, things, actions, basically everything. We attach emotion and definitions to most things. When you feel a strong negative emotion about something, stop and ask yourself what definition you are giving that thing. Then ask yourself if you would be willing to change that definition. Since this is all in your head, you can change the definition of whatever you want in order to feel better. If you can redefine the definition of the things that cause you negative emotions, it will help tremendously. (Tip - you might not know what to define something to make it less negative. This sounds crazy, but ask the universe to help you. You will get the answer.)
Also, the past. Our ego loves to bring up the past and then use it to create a crappy future. You can acknowledge the past. You can say to your ego, yes, that happened. Yes, it was bad in those moments. BUT those moments are no longer here. They are vapor and only exist in the gray matter in our brains. We do not need to get rid of them so much as reduce their power over us. When you remove the resistance to your past, and allow it to rest, you will have more mental space to concentrate on positive affirmations. Resistance will always attract more of the same, the more you resist, the worse it gets. So allow, acknowledge, then gently think of something else.
Listen to affirmations and meditations before bed or when you are quiet and calm. Apple Music has a lot of them, but you can find them on YouTube and other places. Find something that has the words you like. I created my own and listen to it with my own voice also.
Remember: You never have to do this stuff 100%. It is like working out. Like even a few sit ups and you feel better. I always say, just tip the scale toward a little better. It gets easier and easier. Be consistent. Our brains love consistency.
This is a quick summary and it seems like it should be harder than this but it isn’t. You can do this. Thank you for asking and allowing me the privilege to send you my thoughts. Namaste.
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