Having a constant stream of negative thoughts is bad for your happiness and your health. Not only can they make you depressed, they can affect your immune system and hormonal balance. And the stress and anxiety that stems from negative thoughts, as well as the effect they have on sleep, can shorten your lifespan. In other words, it’s in your best interest to change your thoughts from negative ones to positive ones as quickly and often as possible. With the right tools in your pocket, it becomes much easier to change your thoughts.
Following are 10 different tools you can pull from when you want to change your thoughts. You may find one that works all the time, or you may need to pick and choose depending on where you are and what you are thinking about. But, I guarantee that if you make the effort to use one of the 10 tools, you will find a way out of your negative thoughts quickly.
1. Shift Your Focus Behind Your Eyes
Sometimes we get lost in our negative thoughts and before we know it we are stuck in a stampede of negative thoughts that won’t let us get up or get out. When this happens, it’s important to call your attention back to your body and tune into your awareness so that you can get out of your head and stop thinking so much.
Many people recommend that you pay attention to your breath to call your awareness back to your body and get out of your thoughts, but Jeffery Allen has a unique way that I find extremely helpful. Be present behind your eyes. Really, being present behind your eyes is all about focusing on what’s going on here and now. You can do this right now.
Find something or someone not too far away to focus on. Feel the presence and awareness that you feel behind your eyes as you focus on this object or person. Now close your eyes and keep that presence and awareness behind your eyes. Open your eyes back up and instantly refocus on what or who you were focused on before you closed your eyes. This simple exercise will help you bring your focus to the present and get out of your negative thought cycle.
2. Connect To The Earth
This is tool can help you feel more grounded, which is great when you feel ungrounded in a negative thought cycle. But, it goes beyond getting you out of your negative thoughts. It helps you feel more centered at every moment as you go throughout your day. You feel more relaxed, conscious, present, and engaged in your life, and that naturally leads to more positive thoughts.
To do this, imagine a bright, white, and loving light pouring into the top of your head and running down your body. As it fills you up, you feel warmer and happier. Once you are filled up, imagine that from the base of your spine, you start to grow roots with this light. These roots grow all the way down to the center of the earth, and they make you feel stable, strong, and connected, just like a tree’s roots would make you feel. As you get up and move around throughout your day, these roots will stay strong and you will stay connected to the earth at all times.
You should notice a difference in awareness right away with this exercise. You should feel more powerful than you do when you are lost in your thoughts. You should feel more present and aware of what’s really happening around you. And you should feel more in control of what you are focused on and thinking about.
3. Visualize The Positive Scenario
This is a great tool to help you change your thoughts from positive to negative, and it works quickly. All you need to do is stop visualizing the negative scenario and start visualizing the positive one.
For instance, if someone just broke up with you, then you may be visualizing your future alone. Now’s the time to visualize something better, such as you being strong and powerful and having a great time as you hang out with friends not worrying about being accountable to someone else.
If you can’t think of a positive scenario to visualize, just visualize the opposite of what you are thinking. So, if you are visualizing destruction, visualize creating something positive instead. Or if you are visualizing people being unhappy, visualize them happy instead. You will find that your thoughts will start to focus on more positive things as you do this.
4. Turn Off The Negative External Noise
If your negative thoughts are stemming from negative people or the news or an upsetting movie or anything else, turn it off. You have the power to turn off the negative noise and turn up the positive noise. All you have to do is make the choice.
It’s important to note that if the people around you are making you think negative thoughts, then you need to get away from those people. As long as you hang around them, your thoughts are going to stay focused on where their energy is directed. The more negative people you surround yourself with, the more negative thoughts you will have and the harder it will be to change your thoughts to more positive thoughts.
While turning off the negative noise will help you change your thoughts to more positive ones right now, it may be wise to think about removing negative noise from your life as much as possible. This may mean finding new friends, finding a new job with more positive co-workers, or eliminating the news from your life. This will help you reduce the amount of negative thoughts you have in the future and you won’t need to use these tools so much!
5. Focus On Reality
As negative thoughts compound in your mind, it’s easy to get caught up in a world of make-believe. That can be a good place if you are visualizing a positive future, but when you are creating a fake reality full of negativity (which is what most thoughts are), then you need to escape the fiction in your mind.
For example, if you have a presentation today, and your thoughts are focused on how you are going to screw up and how much people won’t like your message, you are creating a fictional world. Those things haven’t happened. You can’t say for sure that those thoughts are going to manifest into reality. They are just thoughts. So, take the time out to focus on reality.
The reality is that you are going to give a presentation. You are prepared for your presentation. You have some good points to make. And, there will be people there who are going to receive your points. That’s the reality, no more or less. So try to focus on the reality of the situation and stay out of the fictional world that isn’t real and will probably never come to pass.
6. Repeat The Mantra ‘Nothing Is Permanent’
One big fact of life is that nothing is permanent. Your relationships, work, beliefs, outlook, health, and current situations are not permanent. Tomorrow things may change in a big way. You may have a completely different life tomorrow than you do today. It happens all the time. Sometimes good things happen. Sometimes bad things happen. But change is one of those things that you can always count on.
Understanding that nothing is permanent will help you change your thoughts from negative to positive in an instant. The realization that good things could happen will help you see more positive outcomes and feel more positive in the moment.
Therefore, when you get stuck in negative thoughts, repeat the mantra ‘nothing is permanent’. You may want to write it down. You may want to print it off in big bold letters and stare at it. You may just want to say it out loud. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it. The more you say it, the more you will believe it, and soon you will be able to get unstuck from whatever negative focus is keeping your thoughts hostage.
7. Turn Down The Negative Internal Noise
Sometimes nobody around you is causing you to think negative thoughts. Sometimes you are the only one causing it. You can’t escape yourself, but you can turn down the noise that you are creating. This is another unique tool for changing your thoughts that I learned from Jeffery Allen, and it works beautifully.
Visualize a dial that controls the volume of your current thoughts. Now, slowly turn down that dial to a lower and lower volume. You will notice that your thoughts become softer and softer, and soon you will hardly be able to hear them. Your awareness will be much more outward at this point, and your thoughts will have much less of a hold on you.
8. Do A Reality Check
I use reality checks to help me with my lucid dreaming. By checking to make sure I am in reality during my waking hours, I train myself to check to make sure I am in reality during my sleeping hours. In other words, I’ll do a reality check when I see something off during my day, and I’ll do a reality check when I see something off in a dream. When I do it in a dream, it helps me come to the awareness that I’m dreaming, and then I’m able to have a lucid dream where I’m in control.
You can use this trick to help you change your thoughts from negative ones to positive ones. What it will do is help you see the thoughts for the fiction that they are and then bring you back to the present moment.
For instance, let’s say that you are stuck in some negative thoughts about your current relationship. Give yourself a little scratch on your hand to and notice whether or not it feels real or not. You will notice right away that it does feel real and your awareness will be much more in the present. You will also notice at the same time that your negative thoughts are not real. They are just a figment of your imagination, much like a dream.
This may seem weird at first, but it works. Pulling yourself back into reality will help you make better decisions about what you want to do and think about right now.
9. Write Down A Ton Of Positive Things Right Now
Get out a pen and some paper or get on your online notebook and start writing. Write down only positive things about yourself, your day, your present, your past, your future, or your immediate surroundings. Doing this will help you get unstuck from a negative thought cycle and move into a more positive one.
It may be a struggle at first, but don’t stop writing – even for a second. Don’t let yourself get lost in your thoughts. If you do, you can easily get stuck back into your negative thoughts. Keep searching for positive things and writing until you start to feel a shift in your energy. You will start to feel more present and more positive.
The beauty is that when you are writing down only positive things, your attention will start to shift to more positive things, and your thoughts will follow suit. As your thoughts follow suit, so will your actions, and soon you will be in a much better frame of mind and state.
10. Be Your Best Friend
You truly are your best friend. Nobody else can convince you to think better thoughts. Only you can. That’s why you may need you to be the one that intervenes and tells you that everything is going to be alright when you are stuck in a negative frame of mind.
Again, visualization will work wonders here. Imagine another version of you – a more positive and hopeful version. Listen to your more positive and hopeful self as it says things that any good best friend would say, such as “It’s going to be alright,’ or ‘You deserve great things,’ or ‘You are being too hard on yourself’. Let yourself listen to your best friend and take some time to understand why they may actually be right.
You will find an internal dialogue will start to happen and you will reach for better thoughts as it does. This can really help you change your thoughts quickly no matter what is happening.