The most difficult thing to change in our lives is our thought patterns. Limiting thought patterns can lead to dysfunctional behavior and feelings, resulting in unsatisfying relationships with self, career, others, and health.
The first step in changing is recognizing our thought patterns and identifying those that limit us (see previous exercise).
Here, we will discuss various exercises to retrain the brain & change the destructive thought patterns
- Alternate thought script
Use the following table to help you create an alternate positive thought script to replace the current script. If you write the thought scripts every day for a few weeks, you will come up with better alternatives & the repetitive reinforcement of positive thoughts will help you to change your thought patterns
||Type of Pattern
||Belief or Fact
||Challenge the belief
|Made a major blunder at work
||I am a failure everyone will laugh at me and think of me as a failure
||Self-labelling & catastrophic
||Fact : I made a mistakeBelief : Initial thought
||I make mistake sometimes but am usually correct, I have achieved x , y , z in my career.
||I learn from my mistakes. I don’t have to be perfect at everything. A mistake does not mean I am a failure
What does research say about affirmations?
“An emerging set of published studies suggest that a brief self-affirmation activity at the beginning of a school term can boost academic grade-point averages in underperforming kids at the end of the semester. This new work suggests a mechanism for these studies, showing self-affirmation effects on actual problem-solving performance under pressure,” said J. David Creswell, assistant professor of psychology in CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Here we will use the power of affirmations to bring about a change in negative thinking process.
Anybody can create affirmations, self-created affirmations work better as they address the uniqueness in us. All that one needs to keep in mind while writing affirmation is
- I. It should always be positive : Instead of “I am not a failure” try “ I am successful”
- II. Affirmations should be in present tense : “I find it easy to think positively”
- III. It should be believable , take incremental steps in the process of affirmations
E.g. Situation: Introvert who is not able to talk to people
Thought : Everyone must be laughing at me , I make a fool of myself while talking with people , I can never make friends , I will never succeed.
You make like to start by affirming your positive qualities
“I observe & understand people”, “I am a good listener”
Moving on to
“I find it easy to talk with individuals who I know”
And later on
“I like talking with people and making new friends”
- IV. Repeat the affirmations as often as possible to allow them to be part of your subconscious mind
PS: Use the alternate script in exercise 1 to create relevant affirmations
- Gratitude Journal
Before going to the bed write down 5 positive things that happened during the day. This is a very important exercise as it will help you create alternate positive thought scripts and add weightage to your affirmations.
- Burn the Negative thoughts
At the end of everyday write down all the negative thought scripts & burn them, visualize negative thoughts being burned away from your brain slowly but steadily.
- Thought Ritual
Every morning – do 5 jumping jacks , look up at sky / celling , smile widely & speak aloud – “I am going to have a great day” after this read your last night entry from gratitude journal and read / speak your affirmations & repeat positive thought script.
PS: The last two exercises are only rituals but the powerful imagery attaches itself easily to our subconscious minds.
Stay Positive !!!
Image courtesy of Archipoch / FreeDigitalPhotos.net