Negativity is something every man struggles with. Whether it’s a lack of self esteem, insecurities, lacking motivation or simply being told you’re not good enough, a series of negative thoughts can easily lead to a down spiral and in some cases deep depression. How can you expect to hit your full potential when negativity gets in the way?
It’s important to note that negativity is normal. Everyone has down days, everyone suffers with poor motivation and it’s important we accept it. No one can tell you, however successful they are that they don’t suffer with negative thoughts. It’s normal, it’s just how we deal with it that propels us forward.
When you’re in a negative mindset it’s hard to fulfil the personal growth you want to attain. Stress leads you to make poor decisions, fear means you fail to push comfort zones and worrying what others think stops you from hitting your full potential. When you work within a positive mindset you’re in a much stronger place to propel forward.
I’m here to show you 9 simple shifts any one can do to instantly stop negative thoughts.
1. Take Responsibility
The first thing is to take responsibility for the negative thoughts you’re thinking. You’re in control. The situation you’re in right now… is down to you. It’s always a hard thought to fathom at first but when you understand you’re in complete control you’ll soon understand it’s down to you and only you to make change.
We very easily fall into a victim mindset. We believe we’re unlucky, that the world is against us and things happen to us for a reason. There’s a lot of things that happen out of your control but it’s how you deal with those things that’s important.
I lost my Dad to suicide 7 years ago and I went into victim mode. Why did this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this? I hit a deep hole of depression and looked for things out of my control to get me out of it. As soon as I learned that I was the only thing that could get me out of that dark hole and make change, things started to get better.
It’s time to stop playing the victim and take full control of your life and thoughts. If you’re stuck in a job you hate, it’s down to you. If you worry what others think, it’s up to you to get over that worry. Admitting full control of your negative state will allow you to take charge and shift to a more positive way of life.
2. Be Grateful
We so often look for things we haven’t got, we ignore the things we have. When we’re in a mindset of wanting more it tends to lead to a negative state. I was guilty of this. In business I kept wanting to take things to a new level, I wanted to increase the money I was earning. I strived for more and ignored the successes I had.
My whole drive was around money, about making more of it and because of this I had huge money worries and ignored the good in my life. Now it’s not a bad thing to always want to take things to a new level, but it’s important to be grateful.
If you ever worry about something you don’t have, think about the things you do have. You can be grateful for so much… your family, your health, the country and the opportunities you have, the internet, even the water you drink. I practice gratitude daily.
Every morning I’ll write down 3 things I’m grateful for, and I’ll repeat that in the evening. I’m specific with what I write. I don’t just put ‘my family’, I’ll write down a specific person and a reason I’m grateful for them.
If you ever feel negative thoughts creeping in, shift to what you’re grateful for. Your mindset will change immediately.
3. Change Your State
This is something I’ve been doing a lot of it and it’s hugely effective. At times I feel down, or at times I feel like I lack any drive I look to change my state. There’s a few ways to do it, but personally I’ve been utilising exercise and cold showers.
Here’s an example: If I find myself lacking motivation and feeling negative I’ll stop what I’m doing, head to the gym and do a tough workout. I won’t just enter the gym and go through the motions, I’ll put my phone away and train hard.
You could lift heavy weights, you could do a tough cardio workout, or you might even want to just set the challenge of 50 push ups and complete it. The exercise will release endorphins (the feel good hormone) and it will also change your state.
Cold showers is another one, a warm shower will typically relax you. Therefore I find myself not wanting to get out of the shower and it adds to my lack of drive. Once I shift to a cold shower, I’ll stand there for a few minutes and jump out. My state has changed, I’m ready to go…
Negative thoughts arise from you telling yourself the same negative story over and over again. Think of your mind like a computer, you’re the programmer and what you think defines the operating system.
You can use affirmations to start to reprogram your mind. If you lack confidence a simple affirmation could be to tell yourself that you’re loved by everyone and most importantly you love yourself. Here’s an example…
“I am loved by others, but most importantly I am in love with myself”
Repeat that 10 times in your head and say it aloud if you can. Say it with meaning, and most importantly feel each word as you do. The feeling of the affirmation is more important that just thinking it or saying it. Repeat this process daily, write the affirmation down and also put it on a note by your computer.
The more you can get this affirmation into your mind the more it’s going to sink in.
Mix up your affirmations and focus on the areas you need to improve. You’ll also find an instant change in mindset when you apply affirmations. Feeling negative? Tell yourself you’re awesome over and over again and see how your mindset changes.
5. Spend Time With Someone Positive
You’re the bi-product of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Sit in a room with someone who’s negative, bombarding you with their negativity and see how you feel after. Now sit in a room with someone who’s successful and extremely fulfilled, now see how you feel.
People and the things around us have an amazing impact on the way we think. If you feel negativity creep in analyse the people you’re spending the most time with.
Maybe you have a positive friend, there’s someone at work who’s positive, a family member, or even head out to a local ‘meet up’ and seek positive people. Spend time with positive people and it will rub off on you.
6. Seek Silence
In today’s society we’re bombarded with noise. The things you watch, the people you spend time with, the books you read and what you surround yourself with constantly feeds your mind. When you seek silence and you remove yourself from all distractions you’ll start to clear this clutter and discover things about yourself.
Meditation is recommended but don’t frown upon that word. Meditation is simply seeking silence, focusing on your breath and breathing deeply. This alone for a few seconds can help relieve stress and anxiety. The news we read, the social media channels we browse, the things we watch will all have an impact on your mindset. Disconnect completely, seek silence and relax. You’ll see huge changes.
7. Spend Time With Family
It’s amazing how much we take our family for granted. We work too hard, we’re constantly attached to our phones and we shift away from spending time with the things that mean the most to us.
30 minutes of quality time with your kids, playing with them and helping them grow daily is much more beneficial than 5 hours of time with them where you’re glued to your phone, shouting at them and not interacting with them.
Disconnecting from your own world and going out with family can have a huge shift on your mindset.
8. Do Something For Someone
Do a good deed for someone and try and feel bad. It’s impossible. When you do something good for someone you’ll find positive thoughts instantly arise.
It can be as simple as carrying someones shopping for them, buying the person behind you a coffee, feeding someone who is homeless or just doing a favour for someone. The more you can serve others, the more you’ll serve yourself.
9. Be Consistent (Reprogramming)
Last but not least it’s important to understand the importance of consistency. All of the above will help you shift from negativity to positivity, but consistency is the key to change.
Again your mind is like a computer and you program it. If you tell yourself a negative story over and over again through your thoughts, you’ll become a negative person. Consistently tell a positive story over and over again and you’ll shift to a positive person.
Turn some of the above in to daily habits, make them apart of your routine and you’ll start to see change.
Let me know what you think in the comments below, and you can find out more about me by heading over to my blog: www.pmcgregor.com