Shift your mindset

You can train your brain and thought patterns, just like the rest of your body. It requires some effort, just like getting physically fit.

We have to keep working steadily over time to reach training goals. We know it’s not enough to work out just once, as it were, to be fully trained and in good shape.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle

Automatic thought patterns

Researchers estimate that we may have anywhere between 12,000 and 50,000 thoughts each day, with up to 80% of those thoughts being negative.

Recent research from Queen’s University in Canada shows that our thought patterns consist of around 6,200 thought sequences daily. Our thoughts are characterized by patterns and repetitions, which means that we likely think many of the same thoughts every single day.

We go on autopilot, and it’s easy to fall into a negative thought pattern. You can train yourself to have a positive inner dialogue and work on the thought style you have about yourself and your life.

Here are some tips:

1. Become more aware of your thoughts.

Notice the thoughts you have throughout the day. Are they mostly uplifting or negative and critical?

  • A tip is to insert a couple of breaks during the day to check in with yourself for more insight.

2. Challenge your negative thoughts.

You can practice challenging the negative thoughts. Ask yourself if the negative thoughts are realistic or helpful.

  • Does the negative thought you have reflect the actual situation?
  • What could happen if you started thinking differently?
  • Are there other ways to view this situation?

3. Train yourself to see the positive

It’s easy to become mostly focused on poor outcomes, what you can’t accomplish, or what you’re unsure about. Don’t let negative thoughts and feelings take over your day.

Train yourself to see the positive

  • Shift your focus towards what you have achieved, what you appreciate, and are grateful for. It helps you build resilience, self-esteem, and reduces stress.
  • Log the events. This will reinforce the experience. In addition, you can bring your records out later and remind yourself of all that is good.

  • Positive memories act as a buffer against stress and negative thoughts. This is especially important in difficult times, to turn off negative thoughts and feelings.

4. Take a mental break

Taking small breaks during the day, like going for a walk or doing simple breathing exercises, can help you feel more calm and less stressed.

Practice being mindful of what is experienced in the moment, with a friendly attitude. Accept your thoughts and feelings without judging them. It can also help create balance in body and mind.

Set aside time for yourself. Engage in activities that give you energy and joy.

Remember that things take time. It’s a long-term process.

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