Are your thoughts derailing you?
We’ve all had it happen to us: you’re having a good day and bam! You hear an off-putting comment during a meeting or feedback that makes you feel judged, and you jump to an assumption or even an entire story in your head. A negative thought is like a runaway train: it can derail the rest of your day.
Why does this happen and more importantly, what do we do when it does? How do you get back on track?
We’re Hard Wired for Negativity
As I tell my clients all the time, this kind of strong reaction to the negative is not only normal, but we’re built to think that way. Evolutionarily, our brains developed to take special note of negative triggers in order to survive – you had to be on high alert about everything. Think about the cavemen and why they took a club with them when they left the cave! Today, we still have that wiring, but it shows up in places like work meetings instead of actual life or death situations.
Get to Know Your Thinking Patterns
So what can you do? How do you take power away from those negative experiences in your life? The key is taking time to pause and assess your thoughts, reactions and results. By examining your assumptions and exploring other possibilities, you can shift your entire mindset.
Start with these five questions:
What are your personal thinking trends – how much negativity do you notice?
What is triggering those feelings?
How have your negative thoughts impacted your day?
What happened as a result of these thoughts?
Were there opportunities to think and react differently?
Increased Consciousness Means Increased Power
By asking the questions above, you’re increasing your thought consciousness. It’s easy to fall into mindless patterns that you can’t see unless someone stops and asks you about them – that person should be you!
When you take conscious note of your thought patterns, you can stop that runaway train in its tracks before it even leaves the station. Maybe you misinterpreted that email or maybe you didn’t, but when you question your assumptions, it allows you to identify what the root of your reaction was, what other possible scenarios could be happening, and ultimately move on from it.
The Bottom Line
Once you incorporate this self-awareness practice into your life, it will improve your resiliency, focus, success, and happiness. Like any meaningful change, the best results require a daily commitment, but don’t get overwhelmed – you can create new habits that become second nature.
Have you noticed your negative thinking patterns? Comment below!
Don’t want to go it alone? Get in touch! I can help you build your skillset and shift your mindset.