Did you know that humans can have 12,000-60,000 thoughts in one day? That’s a lot of thoughts to fit into a three pound lump of jello. According to studies, eighty percent of our thoughts are negative. Let me say that again. EIGHTY PERCENT of our thoughts are NEGATIVE. Why? Psychologists say that thinking about the things that hurt us help us feel that our pain matters and that what happened wasn’t for “no reason”. That the bad things that have happened to us are part of our stories, and to think about them is to remember who we are, even when they are no longer relevant.
“Happiness is a choice, not a result. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy. No person will make you happy unless you decide to be happy. Your happiness will not come to you. It can only come from you.” – Ralph Marston
What do we do with all these negative thoughts? How do we rewire our brains to stop thinking negative thoughts eighty percent of the time? First, we have to be aware that we are having these negative thoughts. In my previous post, I mentioned an exchange I had with an old co-worker where I realized for the first time that I was living in these negative thoughts. Then I had to ask myself why. Why, Shelby, are you having all these thoughts? Why are you so negative? What is the root of these thoughts? Then, I had to consciously make the decision to change my way of thinking.
So, here I am. I have brought my demons up from the darkness and here they are. Do you have demons too? Have you pulled them from their comfortable nooks and crannies in your mind? Have you forced them into the light, too? If you have or are trying to, I commend you. It’s no easy feat.
But what do we do with our demons once we rip them from the darkness?
We let them go.
It won’t be as easy as just letting them go, though. They will come knocking. They will want to wiggle their way back into those comfortable places in our minds. They will rake their poisonous claws down the walls you erect to keep them out. They will do anything to get back in. Sometimes, they will win. They will get back in. But you’ve kicked them out once already, you know you can do it again.
Letting go of these negative thoughts is going to be one of the more challenging changes for me. I tend to lean more on the feeling of insecurity than anything else. Luckily, I have some good people around me who are great examples of what a positive mindset can achieve.
One person who I am so inspired by has worn many hats in the past few years. He has worked so hard and achieved so much. He spent several years running on four-five hours of sleep at night because his schedule was so full. But he never complained (at least to me). He was always positive. Always going. Always improving, learning, and living. It literally baffles my mind how much he does. So when I’m thinking about the kind of person I want to be, I think about him. I think about his drive and motivation. If I could have even a fraction of that, it would be a step in the right direction.
My husband is also a great support system. He’s seen me at my worst. He’s seen the broken down mess that this girl can become. But he still loves me. He still supports me. He still believes in me.
One of my most prominent fears is the feeling that I’m not good enough. I’m not good enough for this job. My writing is not good enough for this novel to be published. My form is not good enough to be doing this in a gym full of people. My body is not good enough. I am not good enough.
I woke up this morning and made the conscious decision to be positive. I listened only to upbeat songs that made me feel good in the car. I made a point not to speak negatively at my chiropractor appointment. I chose to be happy about the frost on the ground because it means that winter is coming and that means ski season is upon us! And look how cute my dogs look sitting on the frost covered leaves! *Sigh* They’re so beautiful.
I am realizing that the more I try to think positive, the more I feel positive. All these negative thoughts I’ve been letting myself think, I need to let go. These ideas that I am not good enough, or that I’m somehow incapable. It’s going to be hard. It’s not going to happen right away. I mean, if it was as easy as flipping a switch, no one would be sad, right? Besides, I’m also a big believer in allowing ourselves to feel emotions. I’ll get more into that in another blog post (it involves elephants, because elephants are amazing).
If you chose to walk with me in my last blog post, I’m honored that you are here with me now. If you too have been dealing with demons of your own, take my hand. We can fight them off together.
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Read more about the statistics mentioned and how negative thinking is dangerous.