Reframe Your Negative Thoughts to Relieve Stress

Three heads coming up from water

Negative thoughts, we all have them. Negative self-talk, we all do it. You may be wondering, how did this pesky habit come to be?

It all comes down to conditioning, which are behaviors done repeatedly over a long period of time that become automatic. When we create a habit, we're grooving a new neural pathway in the brain. Think of it like a worn path that gets easier to pass through when we walk it over and over and over again. We don't even have to think about it.

Breaking Old Patterns is Totally Possible

We've all heard it said that old habits are hard to break. But the good news is it is completely and totally possible to decondition or interrupt our patterns.

The first step is awareness and knowledge that this is a normal occurrence, none of us are immune. It's just part of being human and it doesn't mean anything about you or your character.

The second step is to set up a plan to observe yourself while you're in the pattern.

The third step is to persistently practice the new thoughts/behaviors until they start to become second nature.

This exercise is foolproof and it works every time. The trick is setting yourself up to succeed so you get the results you want.

Create Your Action Plan for Success

Here are the simple and practical action steps you can take:

  • Set up a protected time once daily for at least 4 weeks, maybe 10 minutes or so
  • Focus on your negative thoughts and what you are saying to yourself, aka, your "negative self-talk"
  • Make a bullet point list (absolutely no editing here!!) of negative or self critical thoughts you are having in that moment or you're aware of having earlier that day
  • Next to each negative thought, write down a positive thought (it's helpful to think of what you would say to a loved one if they were you)
  • Then you must read those thoughts to yourself over and over and over again throughout the day, every day, and over the next 4 weeks

Be Patient with the Process, Your Hard Work Will Pay Off

Just like anything that is worthwhile doing, this process takes time. But you can do it!

Hang in there and commit to the work and you will, no doubt, see a change in the way you think and also in how you feel.

This is because our thoughts and emotions are linked. We can't think a thought without having an emotion attached to it and vice versa. (I'll have more on this later.)

Stay Tuned

Some of the topics I'll be writing about in the coming weeks will include a how to guide on processing emotions, embodiment, polyvagal theory, your nervous system and how it operates to protect you and calming techniques you can use at any moment to create a sense of safety within.




Ready to advance your Mindfulness to a whole new level?

If so, download the FREE Mindfulness Daily Practice Guide now.