• The Hopefulist

How to stop negative thinking

I used to be caught in such a negative thought pattern. Everything was the worst case scenario. I was the only one that ever got the short end of the stick. No matter what I did I never could get ahead. It's a horrible cycle that won't get better unless you break it.

The most important thing I did to break it was to never give up on trying. I read all the books and tried a lot of the things but nothing ever changed for me. But I kept reading and then tried harder and finally there was a breakthrough.

One of the first times I remember realizing that I wasn't the only one that suffered from unfair situations. I had started a new job with where there were four of us who were brand new. The boss told us to go through the catalog and pick out some gear for us to wear. We all picked out some stuff we wanted but when it was delivered one of the sweatshirts was out of stock. And for the first time it wasn't me. I remember thinking that it was the fist time I witnessed someone else getting the shaft (although I'm sure it wasn't). Because here was my thought process when something like that happened. The boss said she could order it when it came in but knowing how these things go the chance to order again wouldn't really come up since everyone would already have their stuff. So she would never get her sweatshirt and if it had been me I would have focused on the fact that I got shafted a free sweatshirt. It would seem totally unfair and this is why I always thought crappy stuff happened to me. But it didn't happen to me this time. It happened to someone else. Which made me realize I wasn't the only one in the world these things happened to. (yes, I knew that on some level already but didn't admit it) I also discovered she didn't react to the situation the same way I would have. At least not that I noticed. She was like; "oh, well....no big deal" and went on with her life. Because you know what? Who cares??? It was something we were getting for free and it just didn't matter that much in the grand scheme of things. Yes, this is how serious I took every slight or seemingly unfair situation. It was just more evidence that life sucked and especially did for me. It's no wonder I was so unhappy all the time!

I started reading a new book by Jay Shetty called 'Think like a Monk'. Jay spent years living as a monk and shares all the wisdom he learned in this book. If you don't follow him on social media, go do it right now. Yes, really. He's great. In this book, he talks about reducing or ridding yourself of negative thoughts. He says that by becoming aware of negativity will help you to spot the toxic impulses around you. He suggests you try not to complain, compare or criticize for a week. Keep a tally of how many times you indeed do one of these things. The goal is to see the daily tally decrease everyday.

Recognize the origin of your negative thought. Like my belief that everything that happened to me was getting the shaft and that I was the only one who suffered from this. When I saw that someone else got the shaft when I didn't it made me realize that didn't fit into my own inner belief and dialogue. I also saw that her reaction to this situation was much different than mine. It goes back to the fact that what you put your energy into becomes your reality.

My husband and I used to watch HGTV all the time. We loved 'Love it or List it' and 'Fixer Upper'. I noticed a disparity between the two shows. In the first one when unexpected problems came up that cost the home owner more money it was a big freaking deal. The owners would yell at the designer and say there wan't enough money to fix that. In contrast, the same thing would happen on 'Fixer Upper' but they glossed over it. They just didn't make a big deal out of it. I realized this was the difference between my thinking I only got the shaft and determining that maybe I just made too big of a deal out of these things.

I know the thought of writing down all the things you complain about seems daunting but it will be really beneficial to you in the long run. It will help you see things differently and demonstrate how you can live a completely different existence by focusing on the good instead of the bad. Put your energy into what you love instead of what you don't. Luxuriate in what you have instead of wishing for the things you don't.

Just give it a try. Do it for just three days if a week seems too long. But again the goal is to reduce the number of complaints day by day. See how you feel as those days go on. It will feel difficult at first. Because it's different and your brain rails against anything that is new and not familiar so keep with it. Your brain will adjust and it won't feel so hard anymore. And it will be so worth it.

Thank you so much for tuning in this week. If you like this episode please subscribe or write a review. Or share the podcast information with your friends. Invite people to follow 'The Hopefulist' page or group. I will be so grateful!

Now go on out there and rule this week. And be your badass self. I'm always here, cheering you on.

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