Stop letting negative thoughts ruin your life.
Each day, you choose what to wear, what you want for lunch, and which way to turn to get home. But when it comes to happiness, if you're like most people, you just wait for it to happen to you, without making a conscious choice to claim it for yourself.
But the truth is — you can choose happiness, just like you choose anything else. You are not predetermined for misery. Let me explain …
Every human (no matter how unique you are), has a minimum of 60,000 thoughts per day and 80 percent of them are negative. Also, 90 percent of your thoughts today are the same ones you had yesterday, and the day before that (and the day before that).
So when you have a bad day, you end up having even more negative thoughts, which then repeat throughout your week, month, and so on.
Yikes. No wonder life can feel like such a bummer.
Why so much negative thinking?
We may hate to admit it, but negative things draw our attention more than anything else. But, there are actually a couple of GOOD reasons for this:
1. Our brain is searching for threats to our survival. Sometimes that's a physical threat, but often, it's an emotional threat, or a threat to our ego. But, after the threat is over, our brain still keeps mulling it over trying to figure it out more or fix it in a new way, when what it really needs to do is just let it go.
2. Other people's problems make us feel better. How many times have you heard gossip about how awesome someone is? Right ... not often! But when someone has a problem, it makes us feel better about our own lives and the problems we're facing. We feel connected or fortunate that our issue isn't as bad as someone else's.
The problem is: Self-esteem plays into negative thoughts and negative thoughts lower self-esteem. It's a vicious cycle you ultimately want to avoid ... and CAN avoid.
If you choose to focus on happy thoughts, you change the percentage of negative thoughts your brain focuses on and repeats day after day. You really can shift your mindset, health and success (in all areas) by looking for the silver lining.
Listening to someone's negative attitude or commiserating with a friend about your hard day influences more than just that moment in your life. So change it. If you can't shift a conversation to reflecting on a great lesson learned or something you're grateful for, walk away.
Bold? Yes. Considered rude? Perhaps. But what direction do you want your life to take? Do you want to stay on your current path of feeling negative all the time, or head toward more happiness? Make a choice.
Here are several ways to choose happiness in your day-to-day life:
- Instead of the news, watch something funny before you go to bed.
- Instead of violent movies, watch a Nicholas Sparks flick that will have you feeling love for the entire planet in less than two hours.
- Instead of bitching about your circumstances, open your mind to what's possible if everything worked out as you want.
- Instead of dreading your job, focus on all the things you've learned that will help you in your dream job (and start applying those skills today).
- Make Mondays something to look forward to by planning an activity you love during lunchtime or after work.
- If you're bored, walk in nature, play with a pet, watch funny videos — anything to get you feeling grateful and happy.
- Compliment people. See how good it makes them feel; this is a super quick way to brighten your own mood.
Make choosing happiness your new daily routine. Think about it … how would your life change if even 60 percent of your thoughts were positive instead of negative? You would smile all the time and feel good about yourself regardless of the situation.
Now that you know why negativity seeps into your life so easily and how to turn it around, it's up to you. Focus on happy thoughts!
Kelly Rudolph is founder of PositiveWomenRock.com and guides women to get from stuck and stressed to clear and confident in as little as one day. Connect with her and begin getting her free Life Strategies right now.