A light bulb moment for many is when they realise they can separate their emotions from their thinking. They no longer need to be a slave to their emotions but can influence and change their thinking to change how they feel about things. Achieving this level of self-awareness is liberating, but it is not enough just to put emotions to one side and think about changing events in an objective rational manner. If those thoughts are negative and self-limiting then they will quickly lead to negative emotions and behaviours.
There are many different negative thinking styles, your probably have your favourites: for example, it could be black and white thinking (everything is really good, or all doom and gloom, with no shades of grey in between), catastrophising (it’s going to be a complete and total disaster), or perhaps the more common should’s, could’s and ought’s (I should have done this, could have done that, ought to have done the other). There are many other negative thinking styles that are destructive and limiting. If you find your self doing this then stop, pause, take a breath, and consider how you flip those negative thoughts in to positive ones.
Positive thinking styles often stem from keeping a sense of perspective (things are better than they could be), keeping an open mind (perhaps there are other solutions), or getting advice (you are not the first person in this situation). Often emotions and negative thoughts stem from the frustration of not knowing how to deal with a situation – but you are unlikely to be the first person on earth to face it. Speak to others but take care to find those that are positive, supportive, and will give you energy. Similarly, avoid those that simply reinforce your fears and drain your energy.
Most of all, taking even the smallest of steps to dealing with change, such as seeking the advice of others, will lead to a stronger sense of control. With greater control comes greater confidence and a more positive outlook. The next post will look at how this sense of control influences our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.