William Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Here’s a 3-step process to transform negative thinking into positive thinking.
1. Notice your thoughts. Sometimes negative thoughts happen unconsciously, so it’s helpful to bring awareness to them. For instance, let’s say you’re going to see a difficult client. You notice that you’re thinking, “I really dread visiting this customer.” Often the negative thought about what you’re anticipating causes more stress than what is actually happening. Noticing this thought can help you shift it.
2. Shift your thoughts. Now that you’ve identified the negative thought, see if you can shift to a more positive thought, such as “It’s the paying customers who keep my company in business,” or “I take pride in bringing all my loyal customers value and top-notch service—no matter how I feel about them.”
3. Practice positive thinking. Thousands of years ago our ancestors developed negative, habitual thought patterns as survival mechanisms. Vigilant thoughts helped protect them from becoming the tiger’s lunch. Since the brain has neuroplasticity, or the ability to form new neural pathways, you can develop a positive thinking habit simply by practicing—all it takes is willingness and intention.
Consider developing a positive thinking habit for the rest of 2019 and into the new year. You may notice that your thoughts alone can help brighten those long winter nights.