By: Michelle Dierna
“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind.”
Life can consists of day to day challenges that most people can’t control. However, one thing we can control is how to adjust and alter our mind. While reading this one might think; well how am I supposed to adjust my mind to think positively, when I can’t control the negative feelings that come first? Some might say well, I don’t have this issue I wake up and I feel grateful and look forward to the day and tasks ahead. The people who wake up with negative thoughts tend to try and justify them, from observation. For example; “It’s raining today so it’s going to be horrible day at work” or “my mom said I was not allowed to use the internet all day today because I am being punished, so today is going to be the worst day ever at school!”. When negative thoughts control someone’s mind to this extent the individual automatically unconsciously starts their day with a negative attitude. They already have pre-conceived notions on of how their day is going to play out. This negative attitude may be caused by anxiety, depression, family issues, stress, and external factors.
A significant, thought to keep in mind is; not everything in life is black and white. Thus, “all or nothing” approaches are detrimental to our mental health. “Well if lose my job I will lose everything, it will be so hard to find another job and it’s not fair” – this correlates with negative thinking. Hypothetically inserting the “grey” in this context; is almost like a silver lining when it comes to positive thoughts. This could lead to potentially giving anyone a new outlook on the options they actually have and can control. Thus, change negative thinking into positive thinking. Life is ever changing; therefore, to lead an emotionally healthy life we need to have balanced emotions, even when life takes us on emotional roller coaster rides when we least expect it.
There are a few tips on how to switch negative thinking to positive thinking; No one is alone! When you change negative thoughts to positive thoughts it can lead to a more fulfilling life and a more positive perspective on your lifestyle, which hopefully leads to lifestyle changes. Here are some words of advice to change the” black and white” mentality and dive into the grey areas! It will help you have a more positive way of facing issues on a daily basis; which reduces the negative thoughts and produces positive thoughts.
* Try not to use words such as always, never, impossible, flawless and dreadful because all these words leave no room for flexibility. Words that have more room for explanation lead to balance.
Some examples of negative thinking turned around:
• “I can be an intelligent person and still do something stupid.”
• “There are parts of my life I enjoy and there are parts of my life that create stress.”
• “My children bring me joy and they sometimes drive me crazy.”
• “I can love my wife, and still be angry with her sometimes.”
*“The most important word in each sentence is and. The word and suggests a balance, it paints a shade of gray in our lives.”
It is important to realize when negative/toxic thoughts come into your mind and have the ability to be aware and dive into those grey areas and change the thought patterns; before they ruin your day, week and months! Stay open- minded and explore the other options your mind can dwell on, this is what will enhance your overall mental health. Always look for the positive, sometimes it will be hard to find but the silver lining but it is there. Mind over matter!
If negative thoughts are controlling your life, therapy may help. Feel free to contact the Bergen County, New Jersey or Manhattan offices of Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy at (201) 368-3700or (212) 722-1920. Visit www.acentertherapy.com for more information.
1. Blackwill, Alex. “10 Steps for Transforming Negative Thoughts into Positive Beliefs.” The BridgeMaker 10 Steps for Transforming Negative Thoughts into Positive Beliefs Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2008.thebridgemaker.com/10-steps-for-transforming-negative-thoughts-into-positive-beliefs/
2. Bundrant, M. (2014). How I Turned My Miserable Life Around. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 16, 2014. blogs.psychcentral.com/nlp/2014/05/how-i-turned-my-miserable-life-around/