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3 Simple Steps to Re-Wire Negative Thinking - by Joanna Lindenbaum

Over the years, I have noticed that some of the most common, most painful, and most challenging blocks stem from thinking patterns. Often, it's not our outside circumstances, our luck, our families or our businesses that keep us stuck. Instead, what tends to hold us back and hurt us the most comes from deep inside - from our ways, in fact our patterns, of negative thinking.

When a negative thinking pattern gets activated, outside circumstance and rationale fade away, and those judgment-based, guilt-laden, chaos-seeking inner voices take over to color reality.

Some of the most popular examples of negative thinking patterns include:

·    You have way fewer clients scheduled for the week than you'd like, and you say to yourself: "I just don't have the ability to be successful"

·    You're having trouble getting interviews for a new job, and think: "I'll be stuck in this job forever"

·    You go on a less-than-perfect first date and then decide: "I'll never fall in love with the right person"

·    Your project is moving very slowly, so you conclude: "It's impossible for me to get ahead"

These negative thoughts all have something important in common: They are created around a story that is an absolute truth about the future. Using words like "never" or "always" are good clues that you have become stuck in absolute negatives. For example: "This will never happen"; or "Things will always be this way".

If you are someone who experiences negative thinking, you know how damaging and painful thoughts like these can be. And, the most dangerous part is that they can project you on a cycle that leads you on a downward spiral to being stuck and in pain. I call this The Wheel of Negativity. Here's what it looks like:

  • You create a negative thought →
  • You cling so tightly to this thought that you passionately collect evidence from the outside world to uphold it at any cost →
  • You become so mired in the thought and the evidence you've collected that you become unable to identify all of the positive aspects of your situation →
  • You feel stuck so you act stuck; you don't take any action to change your situation or you take a fear-based action→
  • Being stuck leads you to create more negative thoughts

The more you allow your negative thinking patterns to become activated, the more they become habit. They become your comfort zone and your first response to a situation. Without managing and transforming them, your negative thoughts run the danger of becoming part and parcel of your daily life.

How often do you negative thoughts arise?
What is the effect that they have had on your life and your attitude, your ability to really enjoy yourself?

You CAN break the habit of your negative thinking patterns and turn them around. Here is a simple and tested 3-step process I developed for shifting from those negative thoughts to positive ones that encourage a joyful experience of life!:

1)    Isolate and Track Your Negative Thoughts: So often, we move through our days without even being aware the damage that our negative thinking patterns are doing. You can make a lot of progress by simply training your mind acknowledge them. The more that you can see your negative thoughts, the more you will bring them out of your blind-spot where they can do the most damage. Becoming a detective around your negative thoughts will allow you to see them much more clearly, then giving you the freedom and choice to change them. A great tool is to keep a log of all the negative thoughts that come up for you in a 24-hour period, including:
  1. the date and time
  2. the negative thought you had (I'll never make enough money, or I'll never live in a place that I love or I'll be stuck in this job forever)
  3. any details that seem important: if you had that thought while comparing yourself to a specific person, while visiting family, while working, when you are tired or hungry

2)    Create an Action-Based Alternative Thought for Yourself: This is where the "re-wiring" comes in to play. Once you are aware of your negative thoughts and how they function, you then have the freedom to create new, positive propelling thoughts for yourself. For each of the negative thoughts on your log, write down a replacement goal along with a concrete baby action step that will help reach your goal. Here are some examples:

  • I'll never make enough money → I want to earn more money than I do right now; I will reach out to 5 new potential clients each week
  • I'll never live in a place that I love → I want to improve my living conditions; I will look into fixing up my apartment or what else is on the market right now
  •  I'll be stuck in this job forever → I would like a job that fulfills me; I will revise my resume so that I can attract a position that really makes my heart sing

3)    Have a Gratitude Attitude:This is the final step to re-wiring negativity, and it's a crucial one. Remember to acknowledge all of the things that are going right! You'll be amazed at what a shift in your thinking that can make!

Following these three easy steps will move you well on your way to freeing yourself from the negative thinking patterns that keep you stuck, and propel you onto the road of realizing and achieving your goals!

Joanna Lindenbaum, M.A., has 12 years of teaching and coaching experience. Her coaching invites women to think bigger, to embrace their power, to create more compelling and exciting goals for themselves, to become leaders, to connect to their intuition, to open their hearts, and to make it a practice of remembering how special and important they are. By activating this inner wisdom, Joanna helps her clients achieve extraordinary success in business, career, and life. Sign up for Joanna's complimentary "How to Overcome the 5 Most Common Obstacles to Soul-Centered Success" at http://soulfulcoach.com/ecourse.php.

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