Learn to believe the good thoughts

Thoughts aren’t facts. Wait. What? They’re not the be all, end all, truthiest of truths?

Nope. Sorry, love. I may be bursting your bubble, but it’s important that you know that not every thought you have is true.  <— CLICK to Tweet 

So how do you know which ones to believe? We’re getting to that. First, we need to start by acknowledging that you get to choose which thoughts to believe. I know, this is getting a little “woo woo,” but stay with me. Science is coming!

Maybe this feels familiar: You’re bopping along in the morning, feeling pretty good. It’s a good hair day, you got enough sleep and the coffee was strong. Then, you catch a sideways glance in the mirror and think, “These pants make me look awful.” You know what happens next. The whole feel good morning is out the window. You spend the next 20 minutes digging through your closet trying on everything in there, but at this point you already know everything looks awful, so the foul mood continues.

How does that happen? How do we go from feeling good to a being in a foul mood with 1 fleeting negative thought? Science says it’s because our brain’s have a negativity bias. We’re up to 5 times more likely to remember bad things than good things, and the same applies to our thoughts.

Translation: It takes work to cultivate a pattern of believing the good things and thoughts.

Here’s how to do it:

  • First, you’ve got to tune in. Start to pay attention to what you think and how you feel. For me, I know I’m stressed when my fists are clenched. That’s my sign to check out my thinking and see what’s going on. (It’s usually not good!)
  • Next, once you notice the negative thought or something in your body, take a breath. Relax your body. Unclench your fists and relax your shoulders.
  • Finally, remind yourself of 5 good things. I’m not talking about mantras that you don’t quite buy into, but 5 real things. In the pants example above, those 5 things could be: I’m having a good hair day, my coffee was delicious, I feel really well rested, I have energy, I’m on time for work.

These are all choices. It takes practice, but as you start to tune in and remind yourself of good things, you’re giving that negativity bias a run for its money and you’re choosing to believe the good.

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