The Good Life Institute, LLC » Counseling for Couples, Individuals, and Families

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No more!

“Your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.”

~author unknown

I recently read a statistic somewhere that stated that the average person has 40,000-60,000 negative thoughts a day. I thought about this and could not get my head around this number. Unbelievable. I imagine that this number is comprised of things such as negative self talk, “I am so stupid!”, judgements and criticisms about ourselves and others around us, and of course judgements based on our perceived failures among many others. I will admit this number surprised me a great deal.

I think of negative thoughts as “sticky” thoughts that are hard to let go of. Why? Because we don’t like them, we want them to go away or to fix them. The positive thoughts on the other hand tend to slip by our attention too fast and we don’t get enough time to really truly appreciate it before our brain is on to the next thing. Sad. We are missing out on vital information and recognition. Balance is the key here.

When was the last time you paused for a moment and gave yourself praise for something you did well? What was your response? Was is met with yet another criticism? Judgement (I am glad I accomplished this, but I should have done it a long time ago)? We cannot always control the thoughts that pop into our mind but we can do something about them once they are there. We have the choice to attend to certain thoughts and let go of others. I do not intend to make this sound easy. It is not. However, as I am sure you can guess what I am going to say next…practicing skills can help us strike balance and attend to the more positive thoughts as well. One of my favorite skills to use here is called “turning the mind.” It is about attending to and focusing on things that are more positive in nature, that have the ability to get our mind off of things that are not going well or things we are dwelling on. This is especially true if we have no control over these things. It is not an easy practice at first but eventually you will be able to do this with less effort and greater benefit. I like to think about it as allowing the positive thoughts to have just as much “play” time as the negative thoughts. Really think about the positive thoughts in the same way you would a negative one. Allow yourself to dwell on the positive thoughts the same way you dwell on the negative ones.

Don’t get me wrong. I do think that negative thoughts have their benefits too. They give us information, possibly create motivation, or generate new ideas to name just a few. However, there is that line they can cross sometimes were they are no longer motivating but paralyzing instead.

So no matter if they are your own self criticisms, or come from someone else, remember, these thoughts do not define you and in the mix with them are some positive more helpful thoughts just waiting for some much deserved attention.

Be well,

Megan

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