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The Negative Thought Shield | Happiness Practice 08

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It seems like everyone is sick lately! January 2015 seems to be the month of sore throats, coughing, runny noses, and a complete slow down of productivity. As week 3 of my own cold-ma-geddon draws to an end, I’m realizing that my weakened immune system has also weakened my defenses against negative thoughts.

You know those thoughts: “you’re not good enough,” “you’re so messy,” “why can’t you get that done.” When I’m healthy, I feel like I can easily fight them off. But right now it seems like I’m losing the battle. So I dug back to a premise that I learned from my amazing coach Claudia Hyatt. It’s called the internal “Pause button.” Really, it’s a shield against negative thoughts! So today’s happiness lesson will teach you a way simple way to fight off those negative thoughts. I wish you and your family good health!

The Negative Thought Shield

Your thoughts are not you. They are not real. They are really just noise, like a movie. You can’t control what happens in the movie, but you can control whether you are watching! Here’s how.

1. Separate from the Negative Thoughts.

Self-awareness and presence are key here. We all get caught up in the movie of our minds. Sometimes when you’re watching an intense movie, you get lost in it.  Then all of the sudden you have to pee and realize that you’re a person in a seat in a movie theatre that has to pee. This is how we can separate from the negative thoughts in our mind.  WE get lost in the movie of our thoughts and forget that we are a person having thoughts and we can choose to stop watching the movie.

So the first step is to notice the negative thought and separate from it. You might first notice the feeling the thought caused, maybe it’s guilt or shame. That’s usually how I usually know that I’m lost in a movie of negative thoughts. I notice that feel guilty, and then I notice the thoughts that hovering around in my brain like vultures.

2. Hit the Pause Button

Now that you’ve realized you’ve been lost in a movie you don’t really like, pick up that remote and hit PAUSE. Literally say to yourself, in your head, PAUSE! I have even been known to hold up my hand (when no one is around of course) to signify that I’m pausing what’s happening in my brain. Stop the thought train. You do not have to follow it down the track.  Make a conscious decision to pause that negative movie.

3. Change the Channel

Now replace those negative thoughts with something else. Turn to the light side of your brain, the place where you believe in yourself, the place where you like what you’ve accomplished, and find something you approve about yourself. It’s much easier to stop the negative thoughts when you have something to replace them with. Find something nice to say to yourself, something you’re grateful for, or someone you love to fill your thoughts. In other words, CHOOSE your movie.

You can rewire your brain, but it takes practice. Keep doing this over and over again. Notice the negative, hit pause, and turn to something positive. It’s not easy. It won’t happen overnight. And sometimes you will slip back into negative patterns (like I am doing right now while I’m sick). But this little process does work. Try it!

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