Monday, October 26, 2009

Change Your Life with Replacement Thoughts

One of my resolutions at the start of this year was to become a better mom. That meant for me, to become a better person and get over some obstacles in my life.

Well, this year is soon coming to a close and the growth I've experienced, personally and spiritually has really been tremendous.

One of the things I've done that helped me with this growth was an activity called "Replacement Thoughts".

By doing this activity it helps to lesson the negative thoughts that we have on a daily basis.

Even people who believe they have the most positive outlooks on life will be surprised at the amounts of negative thought processes that go through their heads on a daily basis.

Most people have extraordinary amounts of negative self-dialogue in their brains on a daily basis. It can start right after the alarm clock goes off:

"oh my head hurts; I don't want to get up; I feel like crap; why do I have to start the day"

These thoughts can happen in a manner of 5 seconds apart, so just imagine how much can build up in a day. It is possible and even quite probable that people have thousands of negative commentaries going on in their brains about themselves, others and their situations in life.

The simplicity of replacement thoughts is having a little spiral bound notebook by your side at all times and writing them down.

The importance of writing it down means that you get to concentrate on replacing those negative thought patterns as written rote, rather than mental rote in your head, which come and go very quickly.

By writing down those replacement thoughts, you are taking more time and energy to think about how to turn your negative thoughts around, and it commits to memory more concretely the more you do it.

Also making realistic replacement thoughts is important. We can't delude ourselves, and won't allow it anyway. You'll never believe something so extremely opposite of what you've already convinced yourself is happening.

So, a bad or unrealistic example of a replacement thought is this:

negative thought - "I feel terrible today"
unrealistic replacement thought - "I have never felt better today"

A realistic replacement thought for "I feel terrible today" would be "I know I'm going to feel so much better after I take a hot shower (or pray, turn on some uplifting music, have some fruit, etc.)"

Some other examples of replacement thoughts:

"I look horrible"

"I look like Marylin Monroe" (unrealistic/bad example)

"As soon as I wash my face and drink a big glass of water I'm going to feel a lot better" (realistic replacement thought)

"That idiot just cut me off!"

"What a wonderful man - he must be rushing his pregnant wife to the hospital" (unrealistic/bad example)

"I'm sure there must be an explanation for his driving erratically - I shouldn't jump to conclusions about him, and I know I've done that before!" (realistic replacement thought)

"The weather stinks today, I hate the rain/snow/fog" (negative thought)

"The sun will come out soon and everything will be dandy again" (unrealistic/bad example)

"It might be cold and gray today, but I won't let it get me down." (realistic replacement thought)

I cannot begin to explain how therapeutic practicing replacement thoughts are, and how important it is to write them down. Try it for a couple of days and not only will you realize that there is a lot of negativity going on around you as you become more aware, but you will feel a new-found send of freedom about how you feel and your outlook on life in general!

Simply write down every negative thought that comes to your mind and follow with a realistic but helpful and uplifting replacement thought, and you will feel a tremendous difference in your life!

1 comment:

Calder H. Lamb said...

Thank you for writing this! keep up the good work!