5 Powerful Ways to Free Yourself from Negativity

5 Powerful Ways to Free Yourself From Negativity

Be wise enough to let go of the negativity inside you.

“I know my negativity kills me, so why do I think like this?”

You wouldn’t believe how many emails Angel and I receive every day that contain a similar question.  Thankfully, we have answers.

Over the past decade we’ve coached thousands of people who were struggling with various forms of self-inflicted negativity, and we’ve learned a lot by helping them get their thoughts straight.

Thinking ‘the worst,’ expecting catastrophic failure and betrayal, seeing problems where others don’t, and even seeing positives as negatives – all convey a kind of emotional insurance policy.  “If I expect the worst, then I won’t be disappointed if and when it happens.”

Can you relate in any way?

Another negative thinking trap that can mess with us is the ‘I told you so’ syndrome.  For some people, it can feel more important to be proved right in their negative predictions than to have good things happen (and therefore be proved ‘wrong’).

Before I get too positive about negativity though, here’s a thought:  The habit of thinking negatively doesn’t just predict how likely someone is to become depressed, but also predicts how likely they are to suffer from all sorts of other diseases and disorders later on in life.  I’m not suggesting that negative thinking alone creates disease, but it certainly doesn’t help.

In this post we’re going to look at what you can do to stop thinking negatively.  But first, let’s examine a super-common mistake negative people tend to make:

Negative people are often proud to describe themselves as ‘realists.’  Of course, anyone who holds a strong belief thinks they are being ‘realistic’ by holding it, whether it involves UFO encounters or perfectly truthful politicians.

The ‘being more realistic’ declaration is a favorite of cynics everywhere.  And in a way they are correct.  But only because negative thinking causes us not to try – or if we do try, to do it half-heartedly and give up sooner – so the negativity itself influences our outcomes.  Self-fulfilling predictions like this really do happen.  Research has even found that in some cases what we believe about our health can have more bearing on how long we live than our actual health.

What makes all of this so scary is the fact that it means negative thoughts can plague us even when things seem to be going relatively well.  For instance, the thought “It’s too good to last!” quickly wrecks havoc on a positive situation.  Thus, my first tip has to do with how negative thinking distorts our perception…

1.  Stop thinking in extremes.

Life simply isn’t black or white – 100% of this or 100% of that – all or nothing.  Thinking in extremes like this is [Read more…]

40 Questions that Will Quiet Your Mind

40 Questions that Will Quiet Your Mind

Judge a person by their questions, rather than their answers … because asking the right questions is the answer.

In a recent ‘subscribers only’ email (subscribe here) I wrote: “Quiet your mind.  Don’t think outside the box of negativity.  Think like there is no box.”

To my surprise, over 200 people quoted this short line and responded with the same general question: “How?”

I’ve thought about it for a little while this morning, and I’ve decided that the simplest and most universal explanation I can give is this: Ask yourself better questions – questions that focus your thoughts and filter out all the nonsensical noise that’s been cluttering your mind.

The calming and healing power of a positive imagination is unleashed by constraining your focus.  Constraints drive creativity and force mindful thinking.  It may sound counterintuitive at first but, in a backwards way, you break out of the box by stepping into the right shackles.

And that’s exactly what the questions below can help you with – shackling the noise in your head by channeling your focus into meaningful thoughts.  Let these questions shift your perspective and guide you.

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Thought Questions

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Thought Questions

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4 [Read more…]

12 Little Known Laws of Gratitude (That Will Change Your Life)

12 Little Known Laws of Gratitude

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh

Gratitude leads to greatness.  It can literally turn what you have into more than enough, jobs into joy, chaos into order, uncertainty into clarity, and bring peace to an otherwise chaotic day.

The easiest way to make your blessings count is to count your blessings.  Acknowledging the good things you already have in your life is of the essence, because whatever you appreciate and give thanks for will grow stronger in your life.

When Angel and I discus the importance of gratitude with our coaching/course students, we often get a “Yeah, yeah, I know…” response.  But the truth is, most of us don’t know – because we’re forgetful.  In the haste of our busy lives we neglect many of the basic laws of gratitude, and thus miss out entirely on their positive effects.  So here’s a good refresher, for all of us:

1.  The more you are in a state of gratitude, the more you will attract things to be grateful for.

  • Be grateful for what you have, and you’ll end up having more.
  • Focus on what you don’t have, and you’ll never have enough.

[Read more…]

9 Signs it’s Time to Change Your Mindset

9 Signs it’s Time to Change Your Mindset

It is ultimately only our own thoughts that help us or hurt us. Once our mindset changes, everything on the outside gradually changes along with it.

“There’s a brilliant, beautiful, priceless piece of art in front of you!  It’s elaborate and detailed – a painstaking labor of love and devotion!  The colors and textures are like no other – they soar and dip, they shine and leap right off the canvas!  And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the tiny, black housefly that has landed on it.  Why would you do such a thing?”

She cracked a half smile and stared at me in silence.

“Look,” I said, “the point is there’s no way to be 100% sure about anything or anyone in this world.  Life, like art, is intricate and unpredictable.  So you’re left with a choice: either appreciate it and look for the best, or focus on and expect the worst.”

If you expect the worst, you’re never disappointed,” she pointed out.

“Yeah, but who lives like that?” I replied.  “No one.  People die slowly every day like that, without every truly living.”

That’s the gist of a Skype conversation I had this morning with a new course/coaching student (I’m sharing this with her permission).  She literally started the conversation by telling me that expecting negative things to happen is her way of coping with life.  If you can relate in any way at all, it’s time to rethink things.

And make no mistake about it, the battle you are going through isn’t fueled by the words or actions of others; it isn’t fueled by what did or didn’t happen in the past; it’s fueled by your mind that gives negativity importance.

Believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to happiness and success.  Your perspective on life comes from the inner emotional cage you’ve been holding yourself captive in.

Here are some clear signs it’s time to change your mindset:

1.  You see nothing but negatives.

If you were determined to get joy out of the present moment, you would learn to [Read more…]

7 Reliable Steps to Change Your Life at Any Age

7 Reliable Steps to Change Your Life at Any Age

Never assume that you’re stuck with the way things are right now.  You aren’t.  Things can change if you want them to, at any age.  Life changes every single moment, and so can you.

As I watched a re-run of the Academy Awards last night at a friend’s house, I noticed an obvious commonality between many of the speeches actors and actresses make when they accept an award.  It goes something like:

“This means so much so me.  My whole life has been leading up to this moment.”

The interesting thing about this sentiment, I think, is that our whole lives have been leading up to every moment.  Think about that for a second.  Every single thing you’ve gone through in life, every high, every low, and everything in between, it has all led you to the moment you’re experiencing right now.

This means that you are exactly where you need to be to get to where you want to go.  It’s just a matter of taking one new step in the right direction, and another, and another.

Start with a simple question: What do you want to change in your life?

Are you hoping to someday be in better physical shape, a runner, a writer, an artist, a graphic designer, a programmer, a teacher, a better parent, a successful entrepreneur, or an expert at something specific?

How do you get to where you want to go?  Do you write your intention on a note card, and place it in a bottle and cast it out to sea, hoping the universe reads it and manifests it in your life?  No.  The universe isn’t going to make your desires happen.  You are.

Do you set yourself a concrete goal to complete within a year, or within three years?  Sure, but that alone doesn’t get the job done.  In fact, if you think back on previous examples in your life, setting lofty, long-term goals probably hasn’t worked for you very often.  How many times has this strategy led you to the outcome you desired?

The Importance of Rituals

Here’s the truth:  Goals don’t make positive changes happen, rituals do.

What’s the difference between goals and rituals? [Read more…]