Changing negative thinking is possible and achievable. I have learned that when I concentrate the majority of my thoughts on the negative aspects of life, whether that be my own or otherwise, I feel much more negative and downhearted. Or, if I focus on all my shortcomings, failures and disappointments and ignore all my successes and achievements, I feel much more pessimistic and negative. My self-image and self-esteem suffer. For many years, I concentrated the majority of my thoughts on the negative in just this way, and I was extremely unhappy as a result.
Shifting Thoughts From the Negative to the Positive
However, I found that when I shift my focus to all the positives that I see around me and within my own life, I feel much happier, at peace and more content. When I focus on all of my progress, positive qualities and successes instead of any failures, negative qualities or disappointments, my self-esteem improves and I feel much better about myself.
Focusing on the positive aspects of life is a personal choice we can make for ourselves – we have the power within our hands to choose happier, more positive thoughts, rather than focusing on the negative. Knowing and realizing this is the first step toward changing negative thinking!
Seeing only the negative aspects of life is like viewing life through a colored lens that filters out all that is good and positive. There are always positives to be seen in the world and within our lives, and there are always silver linings to be found in any given situation.
Life to me is like two sides of a coin. There is always a positive and a negative side to a situation. Just like Yin and Yang, the dark and the light always co-exist. It is up to us to choose which side of the coin to focus on the most. Personal and inner happiness is within our own hands, and feeling and being happy is a personal choice, no matter what dark clouds or storms surround us.
However, this is not always easy to accomplish when many of us are conditioned to think more negatively based on unfortunate circumstances or life events. When a string of unfortunate or tragic events occur, we can start to believe that everything will be the same and that there is no hope for something more positive to happen. Because of how things have historically unfolded, that must be how it will always be.
This is erroneous negative thinking. We cannot project the past onto the future. The future is untold. It is up to us to create our future, and the best part of this realization and knowledge is that we can!
We can change what is within our control to change, and life can improve, no matter what has already happened to us. It is also possible to change our thought process, if we apply concentrated, consistent effort.
Within psychology, this is called CBT– cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT is altering negative thoughts to more positive ones through deliberate, conscious effort. We can apply the same principle to our daily lives and thought processes to achieve greater happiness on a daily basis. It is not easy if we are conditioned to think differently, but it is possible. Anything in life is possible, with the right attitude and concentrated effort.
Even when things go drastically wrong and take a downturn in our lives, we can change negative thoughts to the positive by looking for silver linings in any given situation. There is always a silver lining, if we look for one hard enough. When we do so, we can change how we feel about a seemingly negative situation, and we can feel more positive about it.
Every time you catch yourself thinking negatively, try shifting your thinking to a more positive thought, outlook or stance. Try to see all the positives in your life, rather than focusing on the negatives, and remind yourself of the positives each time you find yourself falling into a negative thought pattern.
Also try to be optimistic and hopeful about the future, in knowing that the future is untold and that we can create our own futures. Lastly, know that life can improve and change for the better. Know that any storm you face is temporary and will eventually pass.
So, here’s to changing negative thinking and here’s to your happiness!