Stop negative thinking with James Manktelow & Amy Carlson.
JM: Hello. I'm James Manktelow, CEO of MindTools.com, home to hundreds of free career-building tools and resources.
AC: And I'm Amy Carlson from Mind Tools. Negative thinking can be crippling, at work and at home. It is a key source of stress, and it leads you to feel overwhelmed and out of control. This can lead to paralysis and a failure to achieve what you should.
Positive thinking is the opposite of this. It helps you put a difficult situation into perspective, dispels unnecessary worries, and sets you up to perform well – and enjoy what you're doing.
JM: So how can you set your thinking on a more positive path? Well, think of it as a three-stage process. The first stage is "thought awareness" – when you become aware of what's going on inside your head. For a day, monitor your own thinking, and write down negative thoughts as they occur. There's a free worksheet for this at MindTools.com. You can also keep a stress diary, where you log stressful events through the day.
AC: The next stage of the journey is "rational thinking." This is when you challenge the negative thoughts you've identified. Ask yourself if each thought is reasonable. Is there any basis for it? Would your colleagues or mentors agree with it? Or would they think you were being unduly harsh with yourself?
Write down your rational response to each negative thought. You should be able to see whether or not your negative thoughts have any substance to them. Where there is substance, take appropriate action to change the situation.
JM: The final stage of the journey is to prepare rational, positive thoughts and affirmations to counter any remaining negativity. Your affirmations should be specific, with strong emotional content, and they should be expressed in the present tense for maximum effect. Remind yourself of these affirmations whenever you need to.
An important part of this final stage is to look at the opportunities the situation might offer you. By approaching difficult situations rationally and positively, you may learn some new skills, and become known as someone who can handle a challenge. New doors will open.