You’ve heard the age-old adage that goes a little something like, “you are what you eat.”
It’s a useful notion that serves to remind us of the potent link between the food that goes in our mouths, and the health of our physical bodies. You know, eat vibrant, nutrient-dense food and your body will in turn thrive. Makes perfect sense, right?
But did you know you are also what you think? That your thought patterns — either negative and positive — have the power to mold or alter your feelings, actions, behaviours, wellbeing and overall potential?
Negative thoughts and self-talk manifest in a variety of ways, but here are some of the common ones:
Are you guilty of any or all of the above? It might be time to reprogram your mind for positive thinking.
Beyond making you feel stressed, anxious, fearful, stuck or lackluster, such incessant negative thoughts and beliefs can be at the core of some pretty icky consequences and form a mighty obstacle to self-betterment.
But, the good news is you have the power to change your trajectory with the simple, yet powerful framework developed by our favourite positive thinking guru, Brendon Buchard. It works to interrupt any negative and unsupportive thought patterns, create new ones and ultimately reprogram your mind by becoming more aware of your thoughts and taking responsibility for the weight you give them.
Brendon refers to two systems of thought — the first being our automatic, unconscious thoughts and impulses, of which our brain has been previously hardwired through past experiences to “protect” us.
“(The brain) just likes to say, “What do we already know? How can we apply it to this situation? If you had fears in the past and a similar situation is here, your body generates those fears and says, “Hey man, runaway again”,” Brendon says.
But the key to mastering our mind in a more capable way, Brendon believes, is in having more influence over the second, more conscious system in order to work, control, generate and create our own thoughts and behaviours in the moment.
“The people who achieve the peak amounts of success — the highest performers in the world — have said, “You know what, I need to discipline my mind to support me even when it comes up with an automatic immediate thoughts, I want those to be positive, buoyant, confident and strong, something that leads me to healthy decisions for my life not just things that protect me,”” Brendon says.
So, let’s look at how his framework does this.
Relative Weight of Importance and Duration.
Recurring negative thought patterns generally exist because bad thoughts tend to receive more observation than any others. Because the relative weight, or attention given to the negative thoughts is profound and the duration, lengthy.
“You keep thinking about those thoughts, thinking about those thoughts and it’s all that repetition that seals it in the back of your head and now your head says, “This is an easy thing, I know this one,” and it pulls [the thought] forward,” Brendon says.
“The negative is, if you keep obsessing about negative things your mind will be automatically conditioned to bring it up more and more often without your control, automatically.
“The positive aspect is that we can use that same skillset and same rule to apply positive thoughts into our own life.”
In other words, give positive thoughts, questions and actions more frequent attention and they will eventually become more easy and automatic.
In a nutshell, here are the two steps in Brendan’s framework to reprogram your mind for more positive thinking.
Check in with where your thoughts sit at various times throughout your day. What are they telling you? Are they supportive, or are they unhelpful? How do they make you feel?
This is where Brendon says your personal power comes from. In choosing what you want to focus on. In repeating the positive alternative to a negative impulse.
So, decide on the antidote to this particular negative thought. Then focus on that more positive alternative and repeat it to yourself. See it. Feel it. Say it out loud if you have to. However you do it, ensure you’re honouring the positive thoughts with more weight and duration — and reverence.
And just keep doing it.
“Keep focusing and when your mind automatically wants to go back to the easy, which might be negative, (tell yourself), “No-no, I’m not into ‘easy’ right now – I’m into conditioning my mind,”” Brendon says.
Eventually, you will become better at recognising and immediately interrupting negative thoughts and forcing your brain to conjure and redirect towards a more helpful, healthier, desired outcome.
On your path to reprogramming your mind for positive thinking, it’s a good idea to stop, drop and write from time to time.
Allowing your pen or keyboard to bust some stream-of-consciousness journalling will enable you to monitor your regular thoughts, strategise on how to reshape them and track your progress.