April 16th, 2009 7:23 AM by Lehel Szucs
Stop Negative Self-Talk! Five Ways to Build Confidence and Happiness - By Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D.
It seems our culture is ridden with negativity from the media, old parental messages, or even advertising that tells us we're not good, smart, or fast enough. Even outdated ideas we carry from our own past that we've generated all on our own can derail us off the positive thought track and send us into a fit of negativity. How can we quickly change our energy around and build more confidence and happiness?
Recognize non-empowering thoughts
If we believe everything that is put in front of us, we are not exercising our creativity and the power of our own mind. We are taking the easy road and subscribing to mainstream thought, which often does not have the equivalent of goodness. It's easier to let someone else do your thinking, isn't it? To shift away from negative, self-defeating thoughts, you must first recognize them. Here are a few classics: "I am not beautiful nor talented. I can't be happy. Life is hard. The world is a terrible place. I will probably fail. I'll never make any money." Awareness of what we are thinking is the first step, so learn to listen to your words, whether mental or spoken.
Set a new mental equivalent
What we think, and how we set our mental equivalent on any given day, sets the tone for what the universe will provide for us. If we want success, prosperity, better relationships, more self-confidence, or love, then that's where our mind needs to be -- not once in a while but all the time. Substitute the disasters on the morning news with a sense of positive expectation for your day. Rise out of negativity in as many ways as you can identify. Think great thoughts about everyone. See yourself as a success and that you've come to the planet with a gift. Practice verbal harmlessness (no swearing!) and know you are a worthy individual. Switch on the positive thought channel the minute you arise each day and consciously invite abundance and opportunity into your experience.
Know that thoughts create reality
In today's merge of mysticism, psychology, religion, science, and philosophy, western thinking is moving away from hard data and proof. Our culture is interested in illustrating the concept that thoughts create reality. Logical positivism had its field day, and people are beginning to embrace the power of the mind at the intuitive and spiritual level.
To turn negative self-talk around, you must discover where your mind is ingrained with patterns of negative expectation. This was discussed in the movie "What the Bleep Do We Know!?" Our neuro networks become ingrained in patterns that make us search for a chemical "hit" in our interpretation of reality. In a nutshell, when we continue to stay in negative thought patterns that do not serve our higher purpose, we are destined to keep repeating the same life experiences over and over again because we will never view reality any differently. Our lives will never improve, and living with joy seems unattainable because we are generating more of what we don't want.
Negative thoughts have a physical effect on our bodies
Our thoughts, memories, and emotions are not only part of our mental programming, but have a physiological effect on our bodies. Scientists have determined that we hard-wire our own brains by our associative memory: our associations with people, events, times, places, and things. We assign emotions to the memories recorded in complex strings of nerve cells wired together. The strings become networks of information we can access automatically at any time.
Connections between our nerve cells are strengthened when repeatedly stimulated in a process called "long term potentiation." Through associative learning, our brains are not only programmed by ordinary experiences but by extreme circumstances. Trauma actually changes the structure and function of the brain.
We rely upon many automatic programs to function. Neural networks give us an opportunity to shift into "cruise control." We don't have to think about making every keystroke when typing; we just do. We've established the network by repetition.
Thoughts affect our bodies, especially any thoughts that have become patterns that don't serve us well. For example, putting yourself down is based upon old information and not the powerful, present moment. Old experiences like despair, low self-esteem, and self-pity are emotions that give us a chemical boost of neuropeptides, which guide our perception of our current day choices.
Cancel old thoughts and substitute powerful ideas
Want to feel better and stop negative self-talk? Prune your old negative programming and take charge of your current circumstances. New positive thoughts create new systems in the brain, which produce new chemistry associated with new emotional change. Break your "put down" habit neuron-by-neuron and learn to react differently to life! The next time you catch yourself in a put-down, say out loud, "I cancel that" and instantly substitute a new and powerful thought about you.
It's vital to remember that your thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and physicality are intertwined. Negative self-talk down can make you feel unmotivated and physically ill. Moving your mind to a new way of being is a healthy habit you need to cultivate. Here are 5 quick ways to shift to the positive self-talk channel:
1. Check your state of mind. Choose your own attitude and emotions, not another person's outlook on life. Focus your intentions in the present moment. Because we have a choice, life originates in the mind first. As within, so without. Be consciously aware of what you want to create -- and claim it as your unique mantra.
2. Focus on today. Step away from old memories, past relationships, and hurts. Attend to the present. Find joy in what you bring to the table today. Take a deep breath, stay centered, and remind yourself you are a gift to the world!
3. See the big picture. In the universal equation, today is but a blink in time. Move gracefully through difficult moments with ease because you are not stuck there permanently -- you are going "through it"! You can do this without depleting your energy reserves by making a commitment to doing so. Remember, life goes all too quickly. Make each day count and quit wasting your energy on negative thoughts, unproductive thinking, and who said what to whom 10 years ago.
4. Release negative expectation. Focus on what YOU can do to contribute to a better world and not what others expect you to do. Pace yourself. As you practice positive expectation, you'll find that better circumstances will be attracted to you naturally. Have faith in the process!
5. Be thankful. There is no better way to change your energy than to turn up the volume on thankfulness. If you are thankful for what makes you happy, by the Law of Attraction, the universe will provide you with MORE to be thankful for. Be generous with gratitude -- to those in your life who care, to your Higher Power, and to yourself for beginning an individual spark of Divine Power. Your natural state is unlimited abundance, so be thankful for all you are and your journey.
© The Goddess Network, Inc. and Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D. 2007. All Rights Reserved.
About the Author:
Dr. Charlene M. Proctor is the founder of The Goddess Network, Inc., an online educational resource for topics on spirituality, relationships, and women's studies. Author of "Let Your Goddess Grow!" she is a researcher and educator in the field of women's empowerment and develops self-empowerment strategies for women in all walks of life. She is a subject matter expert for Beliefnet.com. Her affirmations from "The Women's Book of Empowerment" reach 2.7 million web visitors daily. She currently facilitates the PATH to Empowerment program for Lighthouse Path in Michigan, a residential women's shelter for homeless mothers, teaching them how to cope with life and increase self-esteem and confidence. To learn more, visit http://www.thegoddessnetwork.net