The act of stopping negative thoughts is a pretty effortful feat in and of itself; just being mindful and conscious of our thinking takes attention and patience. So then figuring out how to reframe the negative thoughts we stop can be flustering beings as negative thinking is weirdly more natural and our go to over positive thinking. I’m going to give some examples of negative thoughts I reframe(d) before this became a habit and subconscious effort for me in my day to day thinking process. I feel like I may have left people hanging a bit with my lack of actually portraying WHAT reframing a negative thought to a positive/worthwhile idea/thought LOOKS/SOUNDS LIKE so I’m here to remedy that oopsie!
I also came across some great on point and worthwhile affirmations from another blogger writing at empress2inspire.blog that I’ll share at the end. Or better yet find them here on their Daily Dose of Affirmation blog post I found them on by clicking the aforementioned title ;)! I’ve never been a big fan of affirmations and found them kinda corny because the ones I found in my search for some more in depth ideas were pretty basic and lacked something for me. A few days ago I stumbled upon these nuggets of wisdom that hit home for me and realized that is what it takes in most worthwhile things in our lives is us finding the right fit for ourselves and our lives. If we can find that within nearly any positive thing to do then we can find it fitting and work it into our daily lives. Sometimes that takes searching and others it takes stopping looking and when its right the fit will find you.
Back to the main topic: reframing our negative/unhelpful thoughts into positive/worthwhile ones examples: it’s easy to start noticing these types of thoughts by paying attention to the words that often go along with our negative thinking: can’t, don’t, not, won’t, never, always, shoulda/woulda/coulda (or ‘ve if you’re more proper and grammatically correct in your thinking verbiage lolol which I often am so shhh don’t judge me!), profanity often indicates negative thinking also, and of course there are more but these are some to definitely listen for and when a thought comes through with one of these STOP words do just that STOP THAT THOUGHT!!
- I can’t ….
I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. If I am overwhelmed can I break down what I’m fretting over into smaller parts to get to the bigger goal?
I have overcame/done something harder/similar to this before and while it seemed daunting at first, like this, I was able to work through/do what it was that at first I thought I couldn’t. How did I go about doi that? How did I psych myself out almost that time and looking back how ridiculous does that worry seem or if warranted how great did it feel when I did it anyway?
Is there someone I can ask for help and make this problem/project only half the difficulty? I like doing things solo most of the time or with my partner but maybe it could be enjoyable to work with someone new to get this done or talk to someone I haven’t recently to vent my issue and get a different perspective.
- I really messed up….
And I will mess up again but what can I learn from this mistake so I don’t make THIS mistake again? I know my heart was in the right place so where did things go sideways and were my intentions still genuine and positive?
[this mistake] taught me… helped me realize… gave me perspective on…
Can I fix [this mistake] or make it better? Yes? Do it then! No? Forgive myself and let it go; today is a new day with plenty of mistakes to be made or to avoid making, onward!!
- Things just keep getting worse and I can’t handle any more bad/negative stuff but it just keeps coming!
Time for a gratitude list for sure – 5 things I’m grateful for… (this works for most any negative thought if I can’t specifically reframe it then gratitude is the best attitude at prevailing over negative thinking! this type of thinking does specifically call for some reminders of what I have in life that is good even if at the time it is the basics like my kids’ health, life/waking up again this morning, my sanity/my brain/my intelligence/my psyche intact, my HP (higher power, TED <for me> or God <for many>), and my health/my person’s/partner’s health to name a few it breaks up the negative roll my thoughts will get on if I allow them to keep going without a conscious effort to stop them and make a chance.
I’m no victim so what is my role in why my life is having a bit of a downturn as of late? Can’t change anything by doing the same thing and expecting different results or wallowing in self pity so what is one small change I can make to my choices/actions/attitude/etc that I can start now/today and effect some change in my circumstances possibly in doing so?
If I get flustered or frustrated trying to reframe a negative thought or just can’t seem to pull my head out of the woe-is-me well then along with a gratitude list I can try some journaling – either writing down what I want to be or see happen or getting out some grrrrs and writing all my negative feelings/thoughts to expel them (just being careful not to dwell on them but putting pen to paper for me is sometimes as good as having another person’s ear to vent to.
- I don’t deserve this/this is not fair…
…then how did I get here? My punishments have far outweighed my crimes but I still committed the crimes (not literally criminal acts but whatever mistake or misdeed I did do) and in doing so I opened myself up to other people’s interference and influence over my life. Now is time for me to focus on what is within my control and how to utilize those aspects for me to succeed.
I know my worth and how much effort I put in. I don’t need outside validation but internal acceptance and what I “deserve” in life will materialize/become and every hard time in which I make the best choices and learn the valuable lessons I wouldn’t if it weren’t for these seemingly undeserved shitshow times. I do deserve the wisdom and strength I can gain from overcoming and coming out on top of the worst situation.
- I’m not good enough/I’m a failure at…
I cannot fail if I do not quit; each “failure” is an effort made toward an eventual success or at the very least something to be learned from/gained knowledge/ability/wisdom/etc.
I’m a frikkin badass! Remember how I [overcame/accomplished/did something that made me proud of myself]? And even with their dad’s poisoning them against me with lies and judgments my daughters love and adore me and if that doesn’t make clear to me my awesomeness nothing will!!
Take a moment to look at my little man and how he looks at me like I am his personal angel/fairy godmother and I’m reminded of my worth every time!
I love and accept myself unconditionally now after years of negative self-talk and self abuse I forgave myself and continue to if/when I make an err in judgment/choice/reaction/et al I hold no grudges against myself which had kept me bullshitting myself as well for a loooong time and constantly second guessing myself for all that time alsobut no more thanks to changing my thinking and taking bak control of my thoughts –> actions –> circumstances!
- Stuck with a/some thought(s) that just won’t quit or you can’t seem to reframe send me a message and I will help in whatever way I can/you need firstname.lastname@example.org
I was scrambling around searching the world wide web for help when I was stumped and by golly ….while there is a plethora of information out there it is not all great and really really really repetitive. I figure you can search google as well as I can possibly even more thoroughly because I am definitely not claiming to be an internet search wizard. I had a counselor that was though and I’ll always wish I had kept the notes I took from him explaining how to do that…maybe I’ll look him up and ask, if so Ill be sure to share!!
Of course there are so many variations of and more specified to each of us personally negative thoughts than I could even begin to tackle but above were the most repetitive types of negative thoughts that I encountered (that I remember that is cause it has been long while since they seemed to wave the white flag and stop encroaching on my happiness!) and here are a few mantras that stuck with me along the way that can work in many different kinds of thought reframing situations and can be good to just remind us of our self worth and shut up that critique in our head once and for most often (she’ll/he’ll always be there in the back corner with a dunce hat on staying quiet so long we we stay vigilant).
My Main Mantras
Mantras to memorize (modify to your own verbage/word style to make them easier to remember and be more true to you):
Nobody’s perfect (or Pobody’s Nerfect from “the Good Place” television series)
This too shall pass/No season [no darkness] lasts forever
Time takes time (it took me so much time to get to where I am at so I cannot expect thinsg to miraculously be better overnight)
One day (or hour/minute/moment) at a time
Be here, now (live in the present, be mindful)
You can’t eat an entire
alligator cow in one bite (When I heard/readthis one it said elephant but elephants are my spirit animal and I would never think to eat an elephant then again I wouldn’t likely eat an alligator because I don’t eat much meat as it is….)
Everything is temporary/This is not permanent (this not only helps remind me that as the econd mantra says: “this too shall pass” but also that even the good things in life are not constants that will be here for sure tomorrow so to appreciate everything and everyone in my life in the present)
Worry is a pointless emotion/I’ve had a lot of problems in my life and most of them never even happened (When I think back to similar situations I’ve been in in the past where I’ve had the same type of anxiety or worry pop into my brain I realize that the majority of the time the things I fretted happening never did and I wasted a lot of time and energy on the what ifs. If a situation is within my control then all I can do is make the best right choice in my course of action and if it is not then I must let go and let God [TED])
Let go and let God [TED, whatever you call your HP/Higher Power] if a situation/outcome is out of my control (which most are or at least partially are) then I’ve learned to pray (or chat with which is my kind of praying) to my HP to take my worry and then trust Him to do what is best even if that means it’s not exactly what I would’ve wanted to happen because I have also realized that I very seldomknow what is bet for me and if i had my way in a lot of situations I would not have learned so many valuable lessons that only come from dealing with the tough stuff head on.
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift that’s why we call it the present. This little nugget is straight from the halls of my elementary school lolol but it hits home at the three basic truths of mindfulness and living in the now: 1) the past is just that – past, it cannot be changed, altered, corrected, etc in any way no matter how long we dwell on the could’ve/should’ve/would’ve of it! So let it be, learn from it where you can and then let it go and move forward. 2) tomorrow will be today tomorrow and then it is worth focusing on but worry over what is yet to occur and may not happen 3) today is a gift that I’ve spent too often fretting over the yesterdays and tomorrows and so now I don’t instead I practice mindfulness and being here, now.
And finally those affirmations I brought up at the beginning of this post that you can also find
> here <
I have the power to make an impact in the world.
I am a trustworthy friend who shows up.
I am grateful to wake up healthy and whole today.
I give myself the care and attention I need to thrive.
I love my body and everything it is capable of doing.
My potential is limitless.