Yesterday, I talked about positive and negative mindset — our attitude and the way we look at things.
From the bright side or the dull side.
Which one are you?
One thing that has a big effect on mindset is negative self-talk.
- That’s too good to be true.
- The story of my life.
- Man, I’m such an idiot.
- I can’t do that!
- I’m just naturally lazy.
- I’m a horrible person.
The thing about negative self-talk is that no matter whether it’s true or not, when you say these kinds of things about yourself, your subconscious mind believes it.
Your subconscious believes anything and everything you tell it.
And like I talked about yesterday, our thoughts cause chemical reactions that affect the body — remember the example of how a lie detector machine works. It gets really complicated, but very basically, positive thoughts produce “feel-good” chemicals and cause positive reactions in the body; negative thoughts produce “feel-bad” chemicals and cause negative reactions in the body.
Negative thoughts can affect not only your attitude — your mindset — but also your physical health. In short, research shows that happy, positive-minded people tend to be healthier and live longer.
Negative thinking and chronic stress cause all kind of problems: cardiovascular issues, obesity, depression, anxiety
So what to do about it?
We can’t get rid of negative thoughts. I don’t know where these thoughts come from — I wish I did — but they always seem to be hovering around somewhere. What you have to do is re-train your brain, which is something I never knew was possible.
I knew you could re-train and strengthen your body, but you can also re-train and strengthen your mind. You can learn to control your thoughts, instead of letting your thoughts control you.
You really can.
I’ve said it before, but I’ve been working on re-training and strengthening my mind since February 3rd of this year.
I still get negative thoughts all the time — this week, in fact, has been a bit of a challenge — but I’m a lot better now at not letting those thoughts control me. I think I mentioned one time about that Toby Keith song, “Don’t Let the Old Man In.” Apparently, Toby Keith was talking to Clint Eastwood, and Eastwood told him he was getting ready to start a new movie project. Toby Keith said, “Man, you’re 90 years old. What keeps you going?”
Clint smiled and said, “I don’t let the old man in.”
Same thing with negative thoughts — don’t let ’em in.
I’m getting pretty good at that. When those negative ideas come knocking at the door, I just don’t answer. I know they’re there, but if I don’t answer, guess what? Pretty soon, they go away.
And along with ignoring those negative thoughts that are always going to come around, you need to cut out the negative self-talk. It’s a bad habit to have and not an easy one to break.
Here are a few ideas:
Change the words you use: take the negative statement, “I can’t do that,” for example. Add the word “yet” to that, and the whole idea changes. “I can’t do that — yet.”
Treat yourself like you treat your best friend: would you call your best friend an idiot? Tell them they’re stupid? Fat? Ugly? Hell, no, you wouldn’t … I hope! You compliment your friend. Encourage them. Congratulate them. Why not do the same for yourself?
Learn a habit of gratitude: really think about all the good things in your life. Be thankful for what you have, and not unhappy about what you don’t have. I highly recommend guided meditations on happiness and gratitude. It only takes 10 minutes.
Be good to yourself.
A close friend said to me one time, “You’re John-effing-Clark — and don’t you ever forget it!”