A negative thought here or there isn’t so bad, right? Then there are days where we feel flat and want to hide from the outside world, only to feel trapped in our inner world. We all have our own trials and finding our way can be a challenge. We don’t have to fight for our survival in a modern day world – or do we?
image via pinterest
Our senses are constantly stimulated in so many ways that we many not notice when we become overloaded. We’ve got all the devices in the world to keep our attention. But what we’re not recognising is, it’s distracting our attention – attention from our self.
We’re so driven to wanting and attaining happiness that we can forget what it actually means. You know, that intense feeling of ecstasy that shouts out from every cell in our body. It’s a high-energy sensation and we’re conditioned to think it makes us feel alive, this is what life is all about?
The part that let’s us down, is maintaining this supposed happiness high. Let’s think about it for a minute. For many of us, we’ve confused the definition of what happiness really means for another word – FUN.
When I get clients to breakdown the meaning of happiness and then the meaning of fun, there’s a slight confusion. Many a time, a client will tell me that they’re one in the same. That happiness equates to fun.
Fun is a high-energy experience and yes it does shout out from every cell in our body. It’s a quick hit of instant gratification. I love the sensations of fun and being engaged with outer stimulation. There’s one thing I’d like to point out about fun, there are two key words at play: high-energy. I know many of us strive for it and the challenge in maintaining it at this level is exhausting. If you’re unable to hold this level continuously in your day-to-day life, are you a failure?
Let’s look at happiness which can be said, is a stepping-stone in the direction of fun (without the intention of moving towards it). Happiness for me, equates to satisfaction. Having that sense of acceptance and joy of where I’m at in life. This doesn’t mean there aren’t things that I want to achieve or do, however there is an appreciation of where I’m right now. It’s that inner and outer connection with the world and your self. The energy is softer and our demeanor is more approachable.
The pressure for us to live in this high-energy state makes many feel, we are failing in life by not reaching it. Our expectations at this level are at such an extreme that it can take all the happiness and joy out of everyday living.
For some of us, it’s not even what we want but will blindly follow. And this can be a dangerous path to walk if you haven’t worked out what is important to you – your values. Here is where we can slip into being despondent and feeling depressed. Having a few strategies as back up can make all the difference.
Here are 4 ways to manage negative thoughts
1. Constant disappointment
There will always be times that you are disappointed either through your own actions or someone you know however this isn’t what I’m referring to. Constant disappointment can eat away at your self-esteem and worth. I will always suggest to a client that if they’re constantly being disappointed, to adjust their expectations in what they want and from others.
Simplify your wants.
1. Expectations from others
2. Expectations from self
2. Changing your mindset
For many, the glass is either half full or half empty. We all have our habits of putting labels onto everything we do and say. Sometimes our habit supports us, whilst other times it can bring us down. Be aware of your own habits and choose which ones to follow. (previous post).
3. Know your values
Working out what’s important to you in general can hold you up when life gets challenging. Writing out 10 things that are important for example: happiness, connection and family. Then choose your top 6 values (previous post).
4. Meditation or Mindfulness
Take some time out of your day and breathe. Let the monkey mind run wild and observe it. There are no expectations, nothing you have to do, nothing you have to be – just breathing for a few minutes until you notice your self softening and relaxing.
Negative thoughts are a part of life. Understanding how to move through them instead of being consumed by them is simply a skill. For some of us it’s innate while for others, this skill can be refined. Make time to reset yourself and your direction in life. As we grow and change, so too do our wants and needs. A regular check in with your self is the difference to following what everyone else does or what you desire.