Increase your energy and productivity by curtailing thought stopping negative thoughts and beliefs
Sometimes our bad feelings and negative thoughts get the better of us. We get stuck in thoughts of worry, concern, and confusion. These thoughts impact our productivity and our ability to make decisions and take actions. We even repeat negative thoughts to ourselves and encourage them to grow.
So it makes sense that we should shut our ears and not hear those negative thoughts, right?
Usually we should shut out negative thoughts and focus on the positive ones. After all, the little engine that could did not say I do not think I can, he said I think I can until he knew he could.
I wrote an article last year titled Fake It Until You Become It where I talked about the ability to empower yourself by changing your body positioning and telling yourself you could be successful until you believed it. It often does turn out that positive self-talk tied with physical actions is a useful tool for overcoming doubt.
But that is not the entire picture. When it comes to human thoughts and emotions we are more complex. It turns out research also demonstrates that repressing negative thoughts can result in amplifying them. When you bury or repress your negative thoughts for too long they can burst out, often at the most inopportune or unexpected moments.
As much as the little engine was able to ignore his doubts on the way up the hill one day, over time repressing and ignoring negative thoughts can result in too little fuel in the tank for the next hill.
Owning Negative Thoughts
When faced with challenges in life or business, failures, mistakes, errors in judgment, it takes an awful lot of energy to constantly suppress all negative thoughts. A person may believe that locking out negativity and thoughts of failure is imperative to success. Indeed there is evidence that delusional optimism is an effective business strategy when employed in the right time and right way.
I have written about effective delusional optimism before in the article Business Leadership For Uncertain Times. But delusional optimism that ignores information relevant to planning and decision-making does not lead to success over time.
We know that focusing on positive thoughts is an important skill and that delusional optimism in execution can be an effective success strategy yet we also know that repressing negative thoughts can have a draining effect.
As with many things in life there is a middle ground. Recognizing that both positive and negative thoughts and emotions have a role to play is a useful step towards a balanced emotional life.
Pushing Ahead Through Negativity
To push ahead one generally needs to focus on the future and negative thoughts can slow that process down. The act of repressing negative thoughts can lead to becoming numb to real and tangible dangers or overly aware or concerned of unrealistic problems.
It is not an uncommon reaction to push negative thoughts aside, ignore or block them and in fact it can be a healthy practice in general. However negative thoughts can also play an important role in success, as long as we understand when to listen and when to let them go.
Owning your emotions is an important component in managing them. If you are bound to have negative thoughts and emotions and if you should not repress them what are your options?
Give Negative Thoughts The Attention They Deserve and No More
On the scale negative thoughts deserve a little attention. Sometimes negative thoughts serve as a warning are a result of a gut instinct or unconscious information that warns you of danger.
However, if you find that your negative thoughts taking up too much of your time and energy here are five steps you can take to put negative thoughts in their place:
1. Recognize When Your Negative Thoughts Are Becoming a Distraction:
You cannot address or manage your thoughts if you cannot recognize they are a problem. If you find yourself repeating thoughts, overthinking, double-checking or if your negative thoughts precede emotional outburst or emotional withdrawal it is time to address them. Remember that negative thoughts are a symptom of something else.