How Do You Change Your Thoughts?

Thoughts. We all get them. Hundreds and thousands of them daily. But what if some of us get mostly the negative ones. That can be a lot to deal with. Luckily there are some great techniques to kick those depressing thoughts in the butt.



How Many Thoughts Are There in A Day?


Thinking is apart of us as breathing. While sometimes the body runs on auto pilot, most of our actions are inspired by a thought, conscious or not. With these little things barging into our brains every second and millisecond, and controlling a majority of what we do, if not all, it’s no wonder that many people ask, How do you change your thoughts? In fact you can have as many as 80,000 of them a day. So while you can't stop thinking (and I wouldn't recommend it) you can certainly entertain thoughts that are more beneficial.


Are Negative Thoughts Popular?


Well, it seems so. Like a virus most people have them and a lot of them. According to the National Science Foundation, 80% of people’s thoughts are negative and 95% are repetitive thoughts. That means 95% of your emotion/day controlling thoughts ARE NOT EVEN BASED ON FACTS! Just think about that for a second. 95% of your experience is a foggy conditioning. Now wouldn’t you be willing to recondition your thought patterns a little towards your favor if you could?!


Take a Gentle Approach


Trying the fun activity that we will introduce, the change in thought-atmosphere will and should happen on its own.But be patient. Curbing negative thought patterns is a skill you learn over time not in the matter of minutes or a day. The good thing is it can be fun and rewarding. The first list below are examples of negative thought patterns. The last two lists are great positive alternatives you can replace your negative thoughts with.


It is a truly great tool to utilize and have helped me many times. I'm sure, if you have a little faith, they will help you, too. Please try to sneak in positive thoughts over the next 24 hours. I would love to hear about your experience.


From the Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire (ATQ-30) developed by Steven Hollon and Philip Kendall in 1980, some examples of negative automatic thoughts include:

The good thing is that you can replace negative thoughts with positive ones. You can't control intrusive thoughts and you shouldn't try to, but you can always add in positive thoughts until they become just as present as the negative ones or more powerful. (ATQ-R) (Kendall et al., 1989):



According to Rick Ingram and Kathy Wisnicki (1988), some more examples of positive automatic thoughts include:



Homework:



Task, over the next 24 hours, try to devote 3 minutes every hour to adding positive thoughts into your day or night. Try to not make an hour pass without you sneaking in a positive thought no matter how foreign it seems. You can come back here and let me know any changes in your overall mood or simply if you got more tasks done, left the house, done something you hadn't for a while or even smiled :)


Of course, significant change in mood or activity will take more than 24 hours. Therapists are of the belief that it can take up to 30-60 days for your brain to start believing something you tell it regularly.


The unfortunate thing is that most people don't realize they have a negative thought pattern that is wreaking havoc in their lives, tarnishing their view of people, themselves and the world around them. They simply see it as reality. But the positive is that they can change it, with a bit of effort, patience, and time.





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