Have you ever gone to see a particular movie at a multiplex and realized, after it started, that it wasn’t what you expected? Either you weren’t in the mood for it or you realized it wasn’t appropriate because you had your kids with you, so you decided you didn’t have to sit through it? So you got up, left that theater, and walked down the hall to find another movie to enjoy instead? I have done that on numerous occasions!
As a life coach, I encounter many people who use the phrase “I just can’t stop thinking about…” or “I just can’t get something out of my mind.” Have you done that?
I admit I am a recovering worrier! I have worried about so many things in my life.
I want to share with you a tool I’ve learned to apply in my own life to stop being wrapped up in all-consuming, negative thoughts and start living again.
You need to be aware of using absolute language. Phrases like “I can’t” or “I always” program us to focus on the negative in a way that we think cannot be changed. Be aware that your language reflects what’s inside you–your mindset. Nothing is set in stone unless we make it so. Why not think positive?
When on a life coaching call with a client who expresses they are dwelling on negativity, I ask them a few questions before addressing their worries. I ask them to tell me something that has happened in the last week or month that really made them laugh or something that made them very happy! This person will start telling me a story in vivid detail as they replay the movie of their memory. As they tell me, they are smiling and reliving that moment. Their entire countenance changes as they recall those positive moments.
Take a moment and think about something in your life that has recently made you happy. Guess what you just did! You stopped thinking about the thing that was worrying you! You just controlled your mind.
You CAN control your thoughts!
When you say “I can’t stop thinking” about something that happened to you–you lost your job, your friend was mean to you, or you worry about the future of your children–you are making a choice to dwell on those things. Your thoughts don’t control you unless you decide to let them. If you keep watching the movie in your mind that you don’t want to see, that is your choice. But you CAN get up and go watch a different movie. The fact that visualizing something that makes you happy, when I ask you to so, proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that you CAN think different thoughts. You just have to intentionally change your focus.
The thing you are worried about in your future, hasn’t happened yet. The likelihood of it happening is really no different than the likelihood of something wonderful happening! You get to choose which movies you play in your head. You get to write the script of that movie. If you’re thinking about the future, why not think about a future that makes you feel good?
You CAN do it! Does it take practice? Yes. Do you have to catch yourself when thinking negative thoughts? Yes. But you can think any thought you want to think. You are in control. When you work on eliminating the negative phrases like “I can’t stop thinking…”, your mind will find the room for new and positive possibilities.
Don’t sit through a movie you don’t want to watch. Use your creative imagination to visualize a beautiful future, rather than a negative imagination which only creates a dark, gloomy future. What happens is all up to you!
You may also listen to me talk about this on my “Life Is A Marathon” podcast: You CAN Control Your Thoughts