One of the fastest ways you can upgrade habits is to upgrade your thoughts.
By that, I mean pay attention to how you talk to yourself – that little voice in your head.
The messages it sends you all day can have a HUGE effect on how you feel and can even impact your mental health.
For example, if you constantly tell yourself how tired you are, you are naturally going to feel even more tired.
Or if you’re feeling stressed, and all you do is remind yourself of everything stressing you out, you’re just going to feel even more stressed.
I think all of us have at one point found ourself stuck in this cycle before.
When you turn those thoughts around … so that you begin to focus on the POSITIVE side of things … you’ll start to feel better immediately.
Sometimes even in a matter of seconds. Here is why that is so important...
Constantly mulling over your problems or negative feelings can turn into what’s called “ruminating thinking.”
Fun fact: it gets its name from cows, which are ruminant animals. They constantly chew their cud.
(and since you asked, cud is actually the partly digested food returned from their first stomach for even more chewing. yum!)
Anyway. Chewing on your thoughts and negative feelings is pretty much the same thing – and it can take a sour turn after a while.
Ruminating is when you get stuck in a thought loop about the same topic, over and over.
After a while it can turn into a habit that replays itself automatically. (Kind of like when you’re tired and constantly remind yourself of it. It gets harder and harder to pull yourself out of it)
It happens more often than you might think and most of us don’t even realize we are doing it!
According to the American Psychological Association, many times, when we get into this thought loop it’s actually because we believe thinking about a problem is DOING something to solve it.
But of course, as you know that’s not always the case.
And check this out... also according to the APA, thinking about something over and over can actually get in the way of making things better!
It can affect your thinking and your ability to solve problems … plus it’s linked with depression.
So, what can you do? Here are some tips you can use to upgrade that thinking.
Number 1. Affirmations are one of my favorite thought upgrades!
They can help you turn negative thoughts around. Like, instead of saying “I’m exhausted,” tell yourself, “My energy creates my reality, What I focus on is what I will manifest.” (thanks Gabrielle Bernstein for that one!)
Or instead of telling yourself you’re stressed out, say, “I’m capable of anything I set my mind to! One step at a time, I’ve got this”
Find an affirmation that resonates with how you WANT to feel, vs. how you do NOT want to feel.
Make sure your affirmation is positive and empowering, and repeat it to yourself every time you feel like you’re going down the negative rabbit hole.
Number 2. Try breathing exercises. This is a powerful upgrade for your life! There are great free apps you can find pretty easily if you look for them.
Breathing exercises can have almost an instantaneous effect on your body. When you focus on the flow of air in and out of your body, it can help turn on your body’s natural relaxation response and within minutes you can start to feel more relaxed, centered, and in control.
Number 3. Do something! Find one small action you can take to begin solving the problem or moving forward. This is huge! Nothing beats stress like taking action.
For instance, if you feel tired, come up with one thing you do to feel more energetic … and then DO it.
Maybe it’s setting an alarm on your phone for every 30 minutes to remind you to get up and walk around. Maybe it’s going for a walk next time you want to lie down for a nap. Maybe it’s standing up and doing 10 squats after you read this blog :-)
Making those changes can help you feel more control over your situation, and that’s exactly what you’re looking for.
Number 4. Be realistic. If you’re caught in a negative loop because it feels like you aren’t getting enough done, make sure your goals are actually achievable and realistic!
Some of the most successful people in the world have a daily to-do list with just 1 to 3 things on it. Set yourself up for success and set goals you actually can reach within a realistic time frame.
Obviously these are just tips. If you are feeling depressed and truly overwhelmed, I highly encourage you to discuss it with your doctor!
But if you are having regular everyday stress and are feeling stuck as a result, experiment with these tips and start turning things around today!
I hope you found this helpful! Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think and what your favorite tip was. If you’ve got one of your own tips, feel free to share that also!