From early childhood I had a lot of negative thoughts. I was always worried about something: school, family, future… Now, when I always try to be in the moment, I can see how negative thought comes first, but I can choose to change it and think in other way.
e.g. Evening… I come to the kitchen and I see a lot of unclean dishes, first thoughts: “I am tired of this, always me, and the bathroom is a mess too… aaah… I hate that”. But! Then I stop. I can feel that my face and shoulders are in tension, I can feel my heart bouncing. I take a deep breath and change my thoughts in to positive ones. I say to myself: “you know there are not so many dishes as I thought, my husband works hard, so I am happy that he doesn’t have to wash dishes and I can do it for him, this time I will make dishwashing my spiritual practice. I will try to be present, and with every clean dish, I will become more and more happy and relaxed. I will clean bathroom tomorrow, it will not take so much time as I thought few minutes ago”. I take few more deep breathes and I can feel how my shoulders and face become relaxed, I can feel that everything is alright and there is no need to be stressed and worried.
But I have to tell you, that there were a lot of similar situations, when I didn’t change my thoughts and my evening became a nightmare. (While I washed dishes I kept thinking that my husband does not understand me, that he isn’t grateful, that it will be hard to wake up tomorrow, because I have to clean so many dishes and to do other things. I finished crying in bed and feeling unloved). So as Charles R. Swindoll says – “Life is 10 % what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”. And I can add, that most of the times your reactions are shaped by your thoughts.
I have heard a lot of people saying (including my colleagues psychologists) that you can choose what you want to think, some of them even say that depression is a choice. And you know what? I agree and I disagree. In theory you can choose, and our ability to choose is one of the biggest gifts in our lives. But changing your thinking patterns is a hard thing to do.
All your life you were negative thinker and after one book you think you can become different person? Nooooo. Change your thoughts? Yes. But how? How to do that in real life?
Your will and motivation can help you. If you have enough motivation, you will make some changes in your thinking by repeating positive phrases. Of course it will take time. But if you want changes to be faster and long-lasting, you have to learn to make a gap in your mind, in which you choose what to think.
e.g. You see your friend in the street and want to say hi to him, but he walks to the other side of the street and says nothing to you.
Person, who does not meditate (or doesn’t do some other techniques), believes that his thoughts are always saying truth to him. In this situation, he will be a victim of his thoughts. He will not choose what to think. E.g. “maybe I look too ugly today, that’s why my friend didn’t want to talk to me”; or “he thinks I am not interesting“; “I am too bad for him“. He will be in a bad mood all day, thinking that he has no friends. And one day it will become true.
But person, who has his daily practice of calming the mind and wakening the soul, will catch the negative thought and will start to think in a positive way. E.g. “My friend was in a hurry, I will call him this evening and ask if everything is alright”; “maybe my friend is in love?“. This person will not let negativity to take him down and his day will be wonderful,
It is way easier to think in a positive way if you meditate, pray, do yoga nidra, or mindfulness practices… I mean you have to find some time in your day for mind training and soul awakening. That can really help to make changes in your thinking and in your whole life. Practices like meditation or yoga nidra can plant a positive seed in your subconscious, can help you to understand the reasons of your bad mood and thoughts, can give you energy to change them. If you practice, you will learn how to be an observer of your bad emotions (usually we are victims).
Positive thinking is necessary, if you want to live a better life and believe me, there is a way to train your mind to be your tool, not your ruler. Most of the books about positive thinking tell the truth, but it is very hard to do what these books ask us to do. You can become a positive thinker, if you will find time for meditation or yoga nidra. I know! because I have done that 😉
Ability to choose what to think is a gift, do not waste it.