stop negative thoughts

It’s said more than 7,000 negative thoughts flood our minds each day. How many of these thoughts are self-sabotaging or degrading? Thoughts like “I’m not good enough,” “my spouse doesn’t love me,” “there is never enough time,” “we have no money.”

As women, we deal with lots of negative junk in our heads. I like to call it “Mom Guilt”, and we’ve talked before at MOMentity about how to combat the negative thoughts — Mom Guilt — before the thoughts enter our minds. But what about all the thoughts that are already there?

Dealing with Mom Guilt or any kind of negative thought is never-ending, and it’s not easy. But having a few tools in the form of questions can help us gain control and choose happiness.

Mindy Heath is a colleague of mine and a mentor for women, helping them discover how to live joyfully every day. I love the three questions she suggests we ask ourselves when faced with a negative thought:

  1. Is the thought true?
  2. How do I feel or act when I believe it’s true?
  3. How do I feel without the thought?

Is the thought true?

Some of the negative thoughts we have remind us we are not where we should be and guide us back, like a detour sign in a construction zone, but so often the negative thoughts in our head are false.

“Often believing our thoughts is the source of our pain,” Heath said. Believing the incorrect negative thought is more the problem than the actual negative thought.

For example, the thought “my kids never listen to me” can flood our minds when we are trying to get people up and out the door, or homework done, or a house cleaned. But is it true? Do your children really never listen to you? Nope. The negative thought is an exaggeration.

How do you feel or act when you believe the thought?

When we believe our children really never listen to us, we may feel powerless, frustrated, discouraged or short-tempered. Why? According to Heath, “often our whole perception is the cause of the pain.”

So we act how we feel, and it gets out of control very quickly. “We feel powerless because we think the experience is outside us,” Heath said, “but really we have the power with how we act and feel during the experience.”

How do I feel without the thought?

When we remove the negative thought, with it goes the drama and pain. Without the thought, you are not in a place of victim-hood. You can get outside of yourself and think about the other person.

negative thoughts quote

“It totally empowers us to choose if we are happy or not, choose if we are emotionally hurt or not,” Heath said.

Jamie Johnson, a MOMentity mom, has put these three questions to use and found helpful results.

“I think recognizing the thought as untrue is half the battle,” she said. “I have negative thoughts cross my mind many times each day, and every single one of them has the power to completely ruin my day. But when I recognize that it is an untrue, discouraging statement, coming from a source I do not want to listen to, it relieves so much of the negative feelings.”

This article was originally published in Motherhood Matters on KSL.com
The stock image used is from www.freedigitalphoto.net