If you have a tough inner critic or get caught in worry, stress, near debilitating anxiety, overwhelm or wrestle with your self-worth, then you know some of the symptoms of negative thinking first hand. Unfortunately, negative thinking can paralyze your best efforts. This piece will explore the topic of negative thinking and what you can do to change your thinking to promote a life and business that’s more fulfilling, joyful, and meaningful.
The next move you make in your life will be a reflection of what you think will happen.
Most people don’t realize they are responding to fear (or others know they are clearly panicking) and catapulting themselves into worse-case scenarios. Scenarios that aren’t true but are pretty freaking believable like:
- I’m not good enough to be here (ignoring your experience and degrees)
- This isn’t going to work
- I failed, the business failed, I’m a failure
- I can’t let people who depend on me see how I feel; they’ll never trust my ability to lead
“We spend all our time and money and energy trying to change our experience on the outside, not realizing that the whole thing is being projected from the inside out.”—Michael Neill, Author
If you don’t check your thinking style, it can have a strong and sometimes devastating impact on your relationships, health, business, and life.
The Link Between Thoughts, Feelings, And Behavior
Your thoughts influence your mood and contribute to your actions. That makes our thoughts pretty darn powerful. Yet, like most people, you probably don’t spend a great deal of time reflecting on the way you think. After all, who thinks about such an automatic thing as thinking?
My thoughts have a tremendous impact on my actions and my life, so I refuse to maintain a thought that takes me further from the life I have in mind. However, the reality is we live in a world of thought, with an average of 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts each day- mostly nonsense, with a dash of irrational thoughts. This makes the ability to reframe counterproductive thoughts an essential skill to overall wellbeing and positive outcomes.
I often see this connection play out with clients who come in saying, “I don’t think I can take this business to the next level.” That assumption is a catalyst for feeling defeated, contributing to her second-guessing her years of skill and consequently avoiding the tasks she needs to grow her business. That shift in effort prevents her from really seeing the potential of her business and herself. So basically, if you think you are a failure and repeatedly engage in the same thought patterns and reactions, your behaviors align, and you are more likely to fail.
Positive Thoughts Lead to Success
Most of us have heard that we are what we eat. In the same way, we are what we think. Thoughts are energy. They are vibrations. They are manifestations. They are statements about our world. Suppose you want a better life, a more prosperous, accessible, and successful life? In that case, it’s strongly connected to your ability to maintain a positive mindset.
Do you have a problem with a part of your life? You have a problem with your mindset, and the real problem is your thoughts about that part of your life.
English philosopher James Allen wrote: “As a man thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.”
The good news is that you can choose what thoughts you act on, so invest that mental energy carefully. I have several goals that are important to me. Before I choose a course of action, I ask myself what do I really think about this task and what actions will support my goals. I favor actions that nurture my goals. I avoid thoughts that lead to actions that make my goals less likely to happen.
A positive thought approach allows me to embrace a more favorable perspective. It supports and uplifts me. With that in mind, I take responsibility for my thoughts and my future.
Do your thoughts support what you want? Let’s assess.
- Are my thoughts predominantly positive or negative? How could I increase the number of positive thoughts I think about daily?
- What are some of the labels I’ve placed on myself? (I’m not good enough, I’m a terrible leader, I don’t have sufficient skills, I’m not the expert in the room, I can’t be a mom and boss) How accurate are these ideas?
- What would happen if I focused on maintaining positive thoughts? How would my life change?
- What do I think I accomplish by thinking negatively?
Your thoughts have the power to nurture and support the life you want.
Save this article.
Reread it often.
Pay attention to the thoughts you give attention to. Remind yourself that your thoughts become your beliefs, and those beliefs shape your life and how you experience it.
You are what you think.
Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a passionate advocate for positive workplace culture, supporting the ambitious mindsets of women, and improving mental health in all settings. The goal is to simply help you get out of your head, stress less, and focus on your success.