So much is written about how to stop negative thoughts but I’m here with something new. How about not having negative thoughts at all? And if any pop up, you can swat them away like a fly!
Do you have negative thoughts that you just can’t seem to stop thinking? If you’ve tried tools to stop negative thoughts and you haven’t been successful, then you’re in the right place! The issue is that you’ve been going about stopping negative thoughts the wrong way. Namely, you wait until you have them, and then you try to stop them.
There’s something I call the Goodbye Negative Thinking Trinity and, when you use it consistently, you’ll be able to alter your negative thoughts to such a degree that they don’t bother you and no longer have any power in your life.
The Trinity work in formation so, for the next few weeks I’ll be breaking down each part of the Trinity so you can practice and integrate each piece week by week. If you’re looking for an overnight fix to saying goodbye to negative thoughts, there isn’t one. However, if you’re willing to give it a few weeks, you’ll be amazed at the progress you can make in such a relatively short amount of time.
Goodbye Negative Thinking Trinity First Pillar: Start with Positive Momentum
The very best thing you can do to say goodbye to negative thoughts is to “get in front of them” and stop them before they start because it’s the negative momentum that kills you.
I talk about momentum a lot because one of the big issues I see is that you allow yourself to have negative thoughts sneaking in all day and then, as the day wears on they get worse and worse as you get fatigued from battling them. This is the proverbial car rolling down the hill and you’re trying to stop it at the bottom where you get crushed!
You want to stop that car from rolling as close to the top of the hill as possible, and that’s when you wake up in the morning. You start your day the freshest, with the most willpower you’re going to have for the day, that’s the time to get in front of any negative thinking.
Some of my clients report waking up with a feeling of dread. If this is you, then you’ve got to get right in there and stop those negative thoughts before they take over! Put a sticky on your alarm clock or whatever else you need to do to make it happen!
Instead of waiting to “combat” a negative thought, the goal is to build up the positive reserves so you can deal with them effectively or not have them at all eventually! So, you want to “get in front of them” and stop them before they start because the first issue is momentum.
Researchers at the University of Tier, Germany, found that we get stressed right at the beginning of our day, just by waking up. Within minutes of waking up in the morning, you release a bunch of stress hormones because you start thinking of the day you have ahead of you which triggers this fight/flight/freeze response I’m always talking about. This, in turn, releases a stress hormone called cortisol into your bloodstream.
To combat this, you want to start your day with positive thoughts and feelings. I’ll give you the “how to” in just a moment. But first, I want to talk about what not to do.
What NOT TO DO:
DO NOT USE YOUR SNOOZE BUTTON! This is crucial, people, and I’m going to tell you why. There are actually 4 key reasons why hitting the snooze is SUPER bad for you:
1. Snoozing ruins the behavioral conditioning between the stimulus (your alarm) and the response (getting your butt out of bed). If you were to get out of bed the first time the alarm goes off, it would eventually become an automatic response and the struggle would go away!
2. That morning alarm struggle has lasting effects on your day, because of something called sleep inertia-grogginess which leaves you weak and struggling to perform even basic tasks. Studies have found sleep inertia can take two to four hours to shake, even when you feel fully alert!
3. Robert Rosenberg, the medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley and Flagstaff, Arizona, says that if you snooze and start to fall back asleep after your first alarm, your body gears up for another full cycle of sleep. When the second alarm jerks you awake during the beginning of your next sleep cycle, that incomplete cycle is what leaves you with worse sleep inertia. Again, you end up with this sleep and grogginess residue which makes you more tired all day. Then, you’re likely to crave coffee or sugar for half the day just to get yourself moving. This, in turn, affects your nighttime rest and a really nasty cycle takes place in your life.
4. Lastly, this is your first commitment of the day and you’re not keeping it. You’re starting your day with “it’s not enough.” I didn’t get enough sleep. You don’t want to start your day with this as your first thought. So, from a psychological andphysiological perspective – get your ass out of bed as soon as you hear that alarm. I guarantee you (yes, I said it) that you’ll feel better, more alert and never want to hit the snooze again if you do this for just two weeks straight.
You must make yourself a priority every, single day. You come first. It can just be a few minutes, but you’re setting yourself up to start the day in a positive frame.
So, setting up a morning ritual that puts you first is the most critical part of your day. This is the way to stay ahead of the negative momentum.
This is the way to start with a positive momentum in your day. And there’s a three-step process to making it happen:
When you turn off the alarm (or when you awake naturally) take a moment in bed to bring yourself to a good feeling thought. This could be that you’re happy to wake up and have another fresh day in front of you. This could be how snuggly your bed feels. This could be looking at that picture across the room and thinking about how pleasing it is to you. I don’t care what it is, just take a moment and focus on it.
Now, take one deep breath. As you breathe in, consciously think, “I’m breathing in a bright, beautiful day with a fresh start.”
As you exhale consciously think, “I’m breathing out gratitude and appreciation for my life.”
Ultimately you need to make these sentences your own, but you get the idea here.
Sit up and plant your feet on the floor and set an intention for how you’d like the next little section of your morning to be. Take one or two breaths and focus on whatever good thing you want to feel.
This could be something like: I’m relaxed and happy; My intention is that today is going to be a great day; I’m energized and capable of taking on this new day.
Meditate and visualize: Now I want you to set aside 5 minutes to focus inward. You absolutely have 5 minutes and, if you don’t, wake up 5 minutes earlier. This is a must to start the positive momentum!
Eventually, you can listen to a guided visualization or meditation. For this week (because I love you so much and love to give you gifts), I’ve created a short morning visualization that you can listen to, to start your day off with tons of positive momentum! This is going to absolutely get you pointed in the right direction for your day! Listen to it for the next week and then I’ll have something new for you to add (or replace it with) next week.
- Do not check your phone at all before this morning routine
- If you use the alarm on your phone to wake up, I’d like you to try instead to get a “real” alarm clock so that you can unhook from your phone for a little bit each morning while you focus on yourself
- Make sure you find a private place where you won’t be interrupted for your 5 minutes. I meditated in the bathroom for years because that was the only place I was guaranteed some uninterrupted private time
- Let others know you’re doing this morning routine and that it’s sacred and you’re not to be interrupted for any reason
Throughout the day, whenever you notice yourself having negative thoughts (you might just notice a negative feeling like a subtle anxiety, impatience, frustration, resentment, anger, sadness or boredom), take a deep breath and let it out.
This is how you don’t want to feel. Now decide what you do want to feel. Then, set an intention to be in that state for the next part of your day.
If you’re having difficulty, then find something pleasing from wherever you’re standing and take it in for a moment. Really notice it and think about why you like it and allow that mood to take over. From there, set your intention for how you want to feel.
That’s it – stay with me while I tackle all the ways to say goodbye to negative thinking these next few weeks and next week we’ll discuss the second part of the Goodbye Negative Thinking Trinity.