There are lots of lists out there describing what people consider to be the most important things to do in life. And these lists have lovely sentiments. Find love. Appreciate your family. Do something you are passionate about. I don’t disagree with any of that advice. Those are important things. But all those lists avoid […]
Every day, we are in a battle against negative thinking. We may be battling self-pity. Or jealousy. We may be fighting against frustration, anger, or a whole host of other negative thoughts. How do we combat these attacks on our minds?
The only way to combat negative thinking is with gratitude. I know what you are thinking: Gratitude is not going to make my problem go away. You are right. It won’t. But gratitude will get your mind off of your problem, and it will send your brain in a positive direction. When I have a grateful thought, it creates a break in my negative thinking. Then I am able to stop that downward spiral of bad thoughts in its tracks, and reverse the direction.
The question then is how do we “arm” ourselves with gratitude? How do we use gratitude to combat negative thinking? The first step is to write down your thought of gratitude on a piece of paper. It isn’t enough just to think a grateful thought. Or meditate on that grateful thought. That isn’t enough ammunition. That is like using a pebble to fight a sword.
There is power in writing down our thoughts. When we write something down and then read it, it becomes very concrete in our minds. It becomes more real to us. It becomes more than a mere passing thought.
I would suggest having a small, non-descript notebook. I have a very plain 4” by 6” notebook that I carry with me. The idea isn’t to call attention to the fact that you are at war with your negative thoughts. You don’t need a hot pink notebook with the word “gratitude” on it in Swarovski crystals – unless that makes you happy!
The idea is to use your notebook to write down a grateful thought when you are starting down the negative thinking spiral. For instance, let’s say that you are frustrated with your job. You don’t feel appreciated, and you feel underpaid. This frustration may start to cloud how you view your work and your colleagues. Suddenly, a job that you liked for years can become a source of frustration.
Stop that downward frustration spiral in its tracks. Write a gratitude thought in your notebook. For instance, today I was feeling frustrated about my job. So, I wrote in my journal, “I am so grateful to be able to work from home so that I can be more available to my daughter.” I then read that sentence a couple of times until it really sunk in.
Truth be told, I am very lucky to be able to work from home. Aside from the benefit of being present for my daughter, I hate commuting. Moreover, it is hard to get your work done in an office because people always stop by to chat. And I like wearing jeans every day. Simply writing that sentence in my notebook turned my attitude around about my job.
In order to fight the negative thoughts that we encounter each day, we need to arm ourselves with gratitude. Your weapons are two things: A pen and a small notebook. That is all you need. When you feel those negative thoughts brewing up, train yourself to stop and get out your notebook. Immediately, write down something positive about your situation. And then meditate on what you have written. Make sure that the positive thought truly sinks in.
We can fight our negative thoughts with thoughts of gratitude. This week, purchase a small notebook. Have it on hand at all times. And commit to turning around your negative thinking with gratitude. You will be glad that you did.
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Books: “The Secrets to Success for the Working Mother” by Meerabelle Dey (https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Success-Working-Mother/dp/1546329544 )