From Negative to Empowered Thinking: 3 Ways to Maximize Your Positive Thoughts
The way we think has an incredible influence on the way we will experience our lives. If you want to truly work on your personal growth and development, empowering your thinking is one way to kick it into high gear. However, simply adding more positivity into your thinking can be harder than just saying “I got this.” We have to overcome our brain’s natural tendency to focus on the negative and rewire it to look for something different. Difficult? Yes. Impossible? Nope!
To rewire your brain, you have to make a conscious choice to behave and think differently. Our brain will not just take care of it on its own, you have to put in the consistent effort. This does mean that you will have to overcome your old habits of thinking, that’s just part of the game. However, once you feel and experience the difference of what empowered thinking can do for you, there will be no stopping it!
Negative thinking has a way of narrowing our vision. It zooms in on the details that tell a rough story and leaves out the color and beauty that is present. Adding in empowered thinking, which is a healthy balance of positive and realistic thinking, creates a different experience in life. You will find that the journey becomes more of what you wanted rather than the despair that comes from focusing on what it is not.
To change your pattern of thinking, you have to put new habits in place of the ones you are setting aside. If you simply try to stop thinking negatively and don’t replace it with anything, you will be back into that negative state of mind before you know it. You have to teach your brain to think in new ways, and that requires actively integrating new tools.
While you will find the benefits of positive thinking to be awesome, we do not always know how to make it happen intuitively. To assist you in this adventure, this post will focus on three powerful ways you can start to rewire your brain from negative to empowered thinking. Start with one tool and actively work on it for some time. Once it becomes part of your normal thinking pattern, move onto the next one. It does not matter which one you pick, all that matters is you start! So, let’s help you out with that by getting to those three powerful tips!
Tip #1: Look for the Opportunities in Your Challenges
An effective way to reduce negative and increase your empowered thinking is to start with the way you look at situations. Our automatic reaction to most situations that cause us stress or struggle is that something is bad, wrong, or going to be tough to get through. When left unchecked, this type of thinking starts to throw us off and down the negative rabbit hole we go.
The fact is life is full of stress and struggle and there is nothing we can do to avoid that. However, life is also full of wonder, joy, excitement, suspense, surprise, and opportunity. Even in the hardest of times, we can look for opportunities for growth and change on our part. Instead of seeing ourselves as a victim or that life is only pain, we can find opportunities for us to take the next step and to become a stronger version of ourselves.
Life is our classroom, and just like any other classroom, it comes with many lessons to help us learn and grow. We can look at our challenges as obstacles that hold us back and keep us from being who we want to be. Or, we can see our challenges as the lesson that will teach us what we need to know to get to and through the next chapter of our lives. Nothing about the situation changed, just our response to it, which has a profound impact on the way we feel about ourselves and our lives.
Challenges do not have to be feared and avoided. We can embrace the stress and struggles of life and see them as stepping stones on our 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 us 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 in your challenge and experience the difference in that type of thinking!
Tip #2: Identify and Express what You are Grateful For
Gratitude is an essential ingredient of happiness. When we recognize what we have in life and express genuine gratitude for it, we will think and feel differently about our lives. Unfortunately, we tend to replace gratitude with the negative thinking tool of comparison. We look at what others have and begin to envy it. This leads us to think that we should be doing more or that we aren’t worth it, because we would have what they have if we are, right?
Just like there are opportunities in every challenge we face, there is a reason to be grateful as well. This is more than just finding a silver lining in our situation. It is truly recognizing that we have been given gifts and opportunities, and with an attitude of gratitude, we will begin to see things differently.
Entitlement is a common theme in our culture today. There’s a belief that we should have what we want, when we want it, with no work or effort because it should just happen. Entitlement is the opposite of gratitude. When entitlement starts to creep int our thinking patterns, we begin to lose sight of what we do have and focus on what we do not.
Instead of focusing on the deficit, try giving gratitude a shot. Think about unique and concrete things you are grateful for in your life. For example, don’t just say you are grateful for your partner; list out specific reasons about your partner for which you are grateful. The more specific you can be in your gratitude, the more powerful it will be. Share this gratitude with others and get the positivity wave going!
Tip #3: The Power of the Word “Yet”
Two of the most dangerous words we can think or believe is “I can’t.” As soon as we face an obstacle or challenge in our life and we think about only those two words, we doom ourselves. We will lose motivation to move forward, start finding only our inadequacies and search for excuses to get us out of the situation. The opportunity for growth is missed because we give those two words ultimate power.
The funny thing is if you add one more word to “I can’t,” you get to take back all the power. All you have to do is add the word yet, so now your thought is “I can’t yet.” How different does this sound? What differences do you feel just by adding that word? This one extra word is incredibly powerful, as long as you let it be.
When we believe “I can’t,” we feel powerless and a victim of the situation. This does not do much productive for us! Adding “yet” takes away the absolute belief that there is nothing we can do and opens the door to alternative views and ideas. This lets us know that we have something to learn and that once we are through this challenge we are going to be a stronger person than when we 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?
We do not have to doom ourselves to negative thinking. No rule says we must be at the mercy of our negative perceptions. Just keep in mind, control your thinking and you will control your life. Empower your journey by choosing alternative ways to think about your life and your situation. Look for opportunity rather than despair. Be grateful instead of entitled. Believe that you can and that sometimes that means learning something new. Your life will thank you!