In the last post [Mindful Intentions] I described how the brain has a negative bias. This means we have a tendency to remember traumatic experiences over positive ones. React stronger to negativity than positivity and think about negative things more frequently than positive ones. This example from VeryWellMind describes it perfectly:
“…you might be having a great day at work when a coworker makes an offhand comment that you find irritating. You then find yourself stewing over his words for the rest of the workday. When you get home from work and someone asks you how your day was, you reply that it was terrible—even though it was overall quite good despite that one negative incident…This bias toward the negative leads you to pay much more attention to the bad things that happen, making them seem much more important than they really are”
(Learn more about the negative bias here)
I learned about the power of the mind back when I was my toughest critic. Nothing anyone else could say could cut me as deep as what I heard running through my own head. After realizing that I was self-sabotaging and creating self-fulfilling prophesies of negativity, I decided enough was enough.
The way you speak to yourself has a great effect on how you view the world.
I committed myself to becoming intentional with the thoughts that go through my head. Instead of letting the thoughts flow in and out as they please, I was determined to catch myself when I started to go down a negative route. I was intentional about slowing down the habit and replacing it with a new one. And found that changing my perspective, and highlighting the good, allowed me to see more good things in my life.
It was not an overnight thing. I had to work hard for a long time. I wasn’t always able to make the switch instantly, especially at the beginning. But I got better and sometimes just realizing that I was going to a negative space was the accomplishment.
Realizing what you’re doing is half the battle. The other half is actively changing it.
Changing a habit takes time. Do not get down on yourself if you don’t get it the first few times. Don’t be hard on yourself if you’re making progress but you backslide a little bit. I’m here to tell you it’s ok.
“Don’t be a victim of your thoughts.”
― Darlene Lancer
Imagine a train going in one direction. This train cannot stop on a dime to reverse direction. It must slow down, then stop, the reverse. This is the same with habits and thoughts. You may not be able to instantly switch to positivity. But if you have the intention and you become mindful of it, then you are slowing your momentum. And eventually you will be able to get so good at catching yourself, you’ll then be able to decide to switch up and create a new habit.
By being mindfully intentional with resisting negativity, you are essential strengthening the muscle to observe and highlight the good in the world. This will tune your perspective to see a generally good life. Which will then, create or highlight, good experiences. Which will create a cycle of all good things flowing to you. I believe in you!