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Do you have trouble keeping your thoughts positively focused? What if your energy was spent finding ways to create the quality of life that you want instead of being drained by fighting the negativity that is bringing you down? If you knew how to use focused attention in this way, you could put a stop to the self sabotage and renew your self esteem.

You CAN put your energy to better use by beginning to pay attention to the “do want” that’s on the flip side of what we call “negative self talk.”

What Warrants Your Attention?  

Oftentimes, when you understand the importance of keeping a positive mental attitude, it’s easy to use strategies such as distraction, avoidance, or sheer strength-of-will to force your attention back into the positive zone where you want it.

Distraction and avoidance can be fine tactics when dealing with minor irritations or those pesky negative thoughts that pop up during the day. Most of these thoughts are not significant enough to warrant much attention, and so it’s easy enough to simply turn your attention back to something positive.

What Are You Focusing Your Attention On?  

But if you find yourself dealing with chronic, recurring negative thoughts on a particular subject, then the most effective way to change your focus of attention may be a deeper inquiry into the negative thoughts themselves.

We don’t mean that you begin to wallow in the negativity, or look for reasons to justify your concerns. On the contrary, one thing we teach people is that, just like a coin, every negative thought is really two thoughts. On the one side there is what you don’t want, and on the flip side there is what you DO WANT.

For example, let's say you became ill with a chronic sickness and that during your sickness you began to think negatively about your health. Even in your otherwise healthy, post-illness state you are still weighed down by the constant negative thoughts that seem to have stayed with you.  

The Place to Start  

The first step to overcoming this negativity is to identify each specific thought, rather than lump them into a category like “negative self talk.” So let’s start with a few assumptions and if these do not pertain to you, then you can simply plug in what is accurate.

For the sake of this example, we’ll assume that your faith in your ability to create a great life was somewhat shaken during your sickness. And, given the great life you’ve created so far, this may have been the first time you had to consider that a “great life” may not be “guaranteed“.

This might lead to thoughts that sound something like:
“What if I get that sick again?” and
“If that can happen to me what else might go wrong in my life?” . . .  

That kind of thinking might even snowball into more negative thoughts such as:
“Am I losing my self-confidence?” and
“Will thinking these negative thoughts bring more bad experiences into my life?” . . .  

Flip it Over!  

Given the power that your focus of attention has to shape your life, it’s important to turn each of these thoughts around to discover what’s important to you - what you value – that’s on the flip side. So we’ll use one of these thoughts as an example and show you what we mean.

Let’s flip this thought around and see what’s on the other side:
“If that can happen to me what else might go wrong in my life?”

This may also mean - “Can I handle other things going wrong in my life?”

Which may also mean?
“I’d like to know that I’m doing everything I can to take care of myself and that I’m capable of handling anything that does come my way.”

Which also could mean?
“I really value a certain level of predictability about my future, having confidence in my ability to take care of myself and my family, and creating a life full of the things we love.”

Again, this may not accurately reflect what’s most important you. Our purpose here is to give you an example of how you can uncover the gift that a persistent negative thought is trying to give to you. And here’s the value in being able to discover this.

Consider the original thought for a moment.
“If that can happen to me what else might go wrong in my life?”  

Try it on. How does it feel? Does it bring your energy up or down? Does it give you any information that you can use to take positive actions?

Now consider the final thought in the series.
“I really value a certain level of predictability about my future, having confidence in my ability to take care of myself and my family, and creating a life full of the things we love.”

Try it on. How does it feel? Does it bring your energy up or down? Does it give you any information that you can use to take positive actions?

What You Focus Your Attention On Grows  

It’s important to be able to flip any persistent negative thought so you can identify what’s really important to you in the situation. This helps you maintain focused attention on what you do want and gives you a great deal more information you can use to figure out how to get it.

Getting back to our example, it is helpful to think of anything you can do to have more predictability about your future, or more confidence in your ability to take care of yourself or your family. Asking these questions may lead you to discover what you value at an even deeper level. Maybe you would like to discover a sense of inner peace and tranquility that transcends your circumstances. What could you do to develop that?

The Bottom Line  

There is a lot we offer in our courses that help people practice these skills, more than we‘re able to cover in this article. The bottom line here is that: What you resist persists. And so we suggest that you transform your resistance to these persistent negative thoughts by learning how to identify the gift they are trying to give you.  

After you discover what important values they are trying to remind you of, you can then turn your attention to specific strategies that will help you experience more of what you value in your life.

Once you’ve turned your attention to these positive actions that will help you get what you want, these thoughts have done their job and are likely to stop pestering you.

Again, this is a rather large topic to answer in such a brief article. But we’d love to hear if you are able to apply anything we’ve offered here and find that it helps. Tell us your story by e-mailing us: [Link Removed]

Discover more strategies to eliminate[Link Removed]  

This series has valuable insights that will help you create the life and relationships you’ve always wanted.

Visit our blog at:[Link Removed].


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