Following a good diet is an important part of your overall wellbeing, but there’s more to great health than food alone.
It’s no secret that I’m all about eating a healthy diet. I have a couple hundred clean eating recipes to back me up on this.
Putting the right ingredients in your body will definitely give you more energy and have you feeling good, BUT it’s only part of the health equation.
What Your Body Consumes
There's another a big, often overlooked component, vital to your health, and that's your thoughts.
You could buy all organic ingredients from the dirty dozen list, but still not feel good.
You could have omitted all the bad cooking oils, processed food, and ingredients you can’t pronounce, and still feel lifeless.
If you’re practicing all of these healthy behaviors, but are also filling your body with toxic thoughts and negative self-talk, you’ll never feel good in your body.
How Thoughts Affect Your Life
Does any of this sound familiar?
You feel great after having just finished a high-energy workout or healthy meal. You pull out of the parking lot and someone cuts you off. You immediately start yelling, gesturing, and calling names. Your blood pressure and cortisol spike like you’re being chased by a bear. And this, just two minutes after your recently acquired bliss.
Or maybe you’ve decided to finally break out of a workout rut and try a new dance class. During your first class, you struggle to keep up since you don’t know the moves yet. After not being able to follow for the first five minutes, you tell yourself; well, this was a stupid idea. I’m never going to be good at this. I suck.
Maybe you’re returning to the dating pool (I feel your pain :-), and decide to put yourself on an online dating site. You go on your first date and it’s not a match. Your first thought is, I’m never going to find someone. I’m not lovable. I’m always going to be alone.
Those negative thoughts can be just as deterimental to your health as eating a burger and fries everyday.
The Mighty Inner Dialogue
Have you ever been around super happy, successful people? They just beam a certain energy that is uplifting and intoxicating. You just want to be in their presence, and soak them in.
Alternatively, if you spend time with someone who’s always upset about something or complaining about their circumstance, you leave them feeling drained and unhappy. You’ll probably also rethink how soon you want to see them again.
What type of person do you want to be?
What type of people do you want to draw into your circle?
The Law of Attraction
You may have heard about the Law of Attraction. What you put out in the world, you’ll receive back. If you’re radiating negativity, guess what you’ll find in return?
If you say that you’ll never be good at dancing and that you’ll never meet someone, the universe will conspire to prove you right.
The world out there is actually on your side. It wants to help. If it continues to hear you repeat I’m not worthy of a quality relationship or job, it will do its best to support you.
The universe doesn’t know that the repetitive thoughts in your head are toxic and harmful. It just hears you repeating it again and again, so it figures it must be important.
What you focus on will be in your life, so choose wisely.
If you need some help shifting your thoughts in a more uplifting direction, try these steps to develop positive thinking.
How to Develop Positive Thinking
The first step to changing the limiting talk you have going on in your head is to simply notice it. Just see it.
I didn’t say, attack or pounce on it as soon as it arises and think, I’m doomed, I’m never going to get rid of these negative thoughts. Try and not perpetuate the cycle.
Once you can witness your behavior, you can change it.
I find meditation is a great place to uncover the negative thoughts that run through my head. I can simply acknowledge that it’s there and then work to remove it. If you need help with meditation, check out this post.
2. Stop and Swap
Once you start noticing your negative self-talk, you now have the opportunity to stop and swap it out for more helpful dialogue.
You’ll likely notice a pattern of limiting beliefs to your negative talk. Perhaps your thoughts focus on not being worthy or not feeling good enough. Write those down, and then come up with a list of positive phrases that you can use in their place like, I am perfect, exactly as is. I am worthy of love.
Every time the negative thought comes up, gently replace it with one of your go-to positive phrases. Once you get used to this, hopefully, the negative talk will lessen to leave you with more of the uplifting thoughts that you’ve created.
Those more positive thoughts will then help you give off that feel good energy that’s so intoxicating to be around.
So instead of beating yourself up if a date isn’t what you were expecting and then giving off a negative vibe to your partner, try and reframe the get-together. Go in with an open mind and see what life experience this person might have that you could learn from. Maybe you’ll end up making a new friend.
3. Fake It
When you start reframing your negative thoughts and replacing them with more positive thinking, you’ll find more good moments around you. If your go-to moves stop being yelling at people in traffic or yelling at yourself, you’ll have more room for positive thoughts.
Then there’s the fake it until you make it model. Even if you’d really like to lay on your horn at the person who seemingly cut you off in traffic, try a wave and a smile instead. Imagine you’re helping a person who’s in a much more dire circumstance than you. A smile keeps you calm and doesn’t escalate the situation even further.
Again, your brain doesn’t know fact from fiction. If you’re faking happiness, your body thinks you must be happy and can send serotonin for an all over blissful feeling.
I’m sure you’d prefer that to the fight or flight cortisol rush of anger that could arise, and then send you crashing down afterward.
Choose positivity and your body will thank you. The people around you will as well.
4. Develop Gratitude
Once you start dropping the negativity, replacing it with positivity – real or imagined, you’re then ready to develop some gratitude.
Starting your day by listing three things you’re grateful for can set you up for success. It’s a much better launch than immediately checking email to see what fires need to be put out.
I also like to end my day with gratitude for a nice little bookend. Gratitude is a much better feeling to hold onto than any crisis from the day. Don’t bring the negative to bed. Think of the positive and you have a better chance of sweeter dreams.
During the day, practice gratitude by not yelling at the driver who cut you off in traffic. Instead say, I’m glad I don’t have an emergency where I need to drive that fast.
Yes, that might be extra credit to achieve Jedi zen status, but it’s something to shoot for. The more you practice gratitude, the more naturally it will arise in your life, and the more it will take over the negative thoughts in your head.
Rewiring your brain for more positive thinking can take some time. When you have a default mode that’s years, or decades old, you need to spend some time practicing these steps.
Noticing and not judging any negative thoughts is always the entry. Replacing the limiting thoughts with more empowering and uplifting ones is the next step. If you need to fake some feelings of positivity then you should fake it until your body starts believing. Gratitude will help foster positive energy and let you reframe situations to see in a better light.
If you slip up on any of the steps, continue to be kind to yourself and go through the steps again until the behavior becomes your new positive default.
6. Get Help
If all of this seems a bit too overwhelming for you to put into action on your own, hire a coach to help you. A coach can be a sounding board, an unbiased listener, and someone that can hold you accountable to make the changes that you want to see in your life.
I’m currently accepting one-on-one coaching clients where we can dive deeper into addressing issues like limiting self-talk. It can be such a huge obstacle getting in your way of living the life you want. This inner dialogue can stop you from making your dreams a reality.
When you release the negative self-talk, you can see through to a whole new way of being and living. Doesn’t that sound nice?
You can read more about my journey here and how I might be able to help.