From Negative to Effective Thinking: 3 Ways to Maximize Your Positive Thoughts

Turn negative thinking towards more constructive, effective thought patterns with these 3 powerful strategies.

          The way you think has an incredible influence on the way you experience your life.  If you want to work on your personal growth, empowering your thinking is one way to kick it into high gear.  It's a way to overcome the brain’s natural tendency to focus on the negative and allows you rewire it to look for something different.  Difficult?  Yes.  Impossible?  Not at all!                

          To change your pattern of thinking, you have to put new habits in place of the ones you are getting rid of.  You'll be teaching your brain to think in new ways, and that means trying out new ways of thinking.  To assist you, this post will focus on three powerful ways you can start to rewire your brain from negative to empowered and more effective thinking.  So, let’s jump in!

Tip #1:  Look for the Opportunities in Your Challenges

Man thinking on a mountain

          An effective place to start is with the way you look at situations.  For most, our automatic reaction to uncomfortable situations, especially those that cause stress, is assuming that it's going to be bad or impossible to get through.  When left unchecked, this type of thinking starts to throw us off and down the negative rabbit hole we go.

          While life comes with stress and struggle, it is also full of wonder, joy, excitement, suspense, surprise, and opportunity.  Even in the hardest of times, you can look for opportunities for growth and change.  Life is your classroom, and just like any other classroom, it comes with many lessons to help you learn and grow.  

          You can look at your challenges as insurmountable obstacles that holds you back from being who you want to be.  Or, you can see your challenges as opportunities to learn lessons that will teach you what you need in the next chapter of your life.  This doesn't change the situation, just your response to it.

          You do not need to fear or avoid life's challenges.  You can embrace them and use them as stepping stones on your journey.  Does that mean life will always be comfortable or pain-free?  Of course not!  However, even pain and discomfort have a lot to teach if we are humble and teachable.  Do not fall for the temptation of your first reaction and instead take a step back to look for the opportunities for growth in your challenges.

Tip #2:  Identify and Express what You are Grateful For

count your blessings

          Gratitude is an essential ingredient of happiness.  When you recognize what you have in life and express gratitude for it, you will think and feel differently about your life.  Unfortunately, it's easy to replace gratitude with the negative thinking pattern of comparison.  This is looking at what others have and focusing on where we believe we fall short.  Not a good pattern to get stuck in.

          Instead of focusing on the deficit, give gratitude a shot.  Think about unique and specific things you are grateful for in your life.  For example, don’t just say you are grateful for your partner - list out specific things you are grateful for about your partner.  The more specific you can be in your gratitude, the more powerful it will be. 

          Just like there are opportunities in every challenge you face, there are reasons to be grateful as well.  This is more than just finding a silver-lining in your situation.  It is truly recognizing that you have been given gifts and opportunities, and with an attitude of gratitude you will begin to see things differently.  Share this gratitude with others and get the positivity wave going!

Tip #3:  The Power of the Word “Yet”

I can and I will

          Two of the most dangerous words you can think or believe is “I can’t.”  As soon as you face a challenge and start to believe those two words, you doom yourself.  You will lose motivation to move forward as you focus on your inadequacies and you'll start searching for excuses to get out of the situation.  The opportunity for growth is missed because you have given those two words all the power.

          The funny thing is, if you add one more word to “I can’t,” you can take back all the power.  To do this, all you have to do is add the word "yet."  Doing this turns the thought to “I can’t, yet.”  How different does this sound?  What do you feel just by adding that word?

           Adding “yet” takes away the absolute in the belief that there is nothing we can do and opens the door to alternative views and ideas.  This means that you have something to learn, and that once you are through this challenge, you are going to be a stronger person than when you started.  “I can’t” is a negative absolute; “I can’t yet” is an opportunity.  Which thought would you rather have going through your mind?

a happy man

          You do not have to doom yourself to negative thinking.  No rule says you must be at the mercy of your negative perceptions.  Empower your journey by choosing alternative ways to think about your life and your situation.  Look for opportunity.  Be grateful.  Believe that you can!

          If you're looking for more ways to change your thinking, make sure to explore our resource Out With the Negative!  It's 10 days of powerful insights delivered right to your email!

Categories: Personal Growth