Do you criticize yourself? Do you ever think you’re not good enough? Most people self-talk, however when that self-talk becomes negative, it can become a problem.
Every time you allow this inner dialogue to take shape, it just becomes stronger and more limiting. But as we all know, when these cycles begin to take shape, it can be tough to figure out how to break it. This is where a little positive psychology can help, particular an idea called “reframing”.
This process is fairly simple, but will require a little effort as well.
6 mental tricks to reframe a negative mindset.
Much of these strategies are going to come down a mindfulness technique of your observing your mind and watching your thoughts. Here are 6 ways to reframe a negative mindset:
1) The first step is begin consciously identifying the type of inner dialogue or language you use daily. We all have one. What’s yours?
2) Starting noticing when you’re using negative words or phrases. Just make a note of them. Perhaps you can use a journal for this.
3) Now it’s time to pay attention to the times you use them again. What situations are causing you to be negative?
4) Note what you’re feeling, what time of day it is and where you are.
5) When you notice yourself saying something negative in your mind, you can stop your thought by saying “Stop!”. This alone is powerful and will make you aware of how many times you are thinking negatively.
6) Now dig deep inside yourself and ask yourself is your assumptions are true. Are you assuming something is negative when maybe it isn’t? Is there actual evidence that back up your assumptions? For example, if you’re telling yourself that you can’t handle something, perhaps you should ask yourself if you can handle it. The second thought feels more hopeful and leads to more creativity.
By challenging your thoughts and generalizations – you’re helping yourself to see that they might be irrational and that it’s far more useful to think more optimistically.
“Reframing” is similar to the zen philosophy technique of becoming an “observer of the mind”
Have you heard zen philosophy gurus say to become an observer of the mind? It’s a powerful technique that can liberate yourself from conditioned negative thought patterns.
Just like the above technique of reframing, it simply involves taking a step back from your mind and realizing that you’re not your thoughts. Osho explains how to go about it:
“Become an observer of the currents of thought that flow through your consciousness. Just like someone sitting by the side of a river watching the river flow by, sit by the side of your mind and watch. Or just as someone sits in the forest and watches a line of birds flying by, just sit and watch…”
“Don’t do anything, don’t interfere, don’t stop them in any way. Don’t repress in any way. If there is a thought coming don’t stop it, if it is not coming don’t try to force it to come. You are simply to be an observer….
“In that simple observation you will see and experience that your thoughts and you are separate – because you can see that the one who is watching the thoughts is separate from the the thoughts, different from them. And you become aware of this, a strange peace will envelop you because you will not have any more worries. You can be in the midst of all kinds of worries but the worries will not be yours.”
If you follow the steps above consistently over time, you’ll be able to rewire your brain to be more optimistic and positive. You’ll begin to see yourself and the world differently.