I was standing by the lake early this morning watching the waves crash up against some rocks and the ripple effect that followed. The wave hit one area and cascaded long the others closer to where I was standing. It was beautiful, full of energy and at the same time made me realize that this can be translated into how one negative thought tends to release a series of more negative ones. This seems to happen to ‘feed’ or confirm the first one. I have found that negative thoughts hate being alone ... they look for company.
In my own personal experience as well working professionally in the arena of personal growth and development, I all too often witness how this unfolds.
I am not a therapist or neuroscientist so cannot speak scientifically. Having said that I have enough evidence after 16 years of working in this area to be able to say the patterns are there.
It strikes me that our minds do not like to give up the negative thoughts. Our brain looks for further thoughts to confirm this 'truth'. The thought might be far from true now in your actual present-day reality, yet we treat it as absolute truth in our thinking. From what I witness these beliefs come from emotions, more often than not emotions from the past. Our behaviour follows our thinking, so our behaviour will act upon what we think and therefore believe.
For example: If you believe you are not very good at something chances are you will act this way. Instead of taking the approach to learn how to, or improve, you shy away from it.
Of course, the very first step must be being aware of this thought pattern and the resulting behaviour. To make any changes it is vital to be aware of a pattern. If it turns out to be limiting belief that is holding you back - this belief is best challenged and reframed. Is it due to lack of clarity, you know to get more clarity.
In order to stay calm and grounded it requires certain behaviours that feed being calm.
Each person will have their own requirements. What you as an individual need to feel calm will most likely differ from someone else’s needs. Each has their own interpretation of success as well as what feeling calm and grounded means to them.
Based on my own personal experience this also changes depending on our age.
I know when I was 30 my focus was very different to 40. At 30 I was focused on creating my family and being a wife and mother. At 50 I noticed that feeling fulfilled was my new goal and turning 60 was fabulous as I had completely grown into my skin by then and was more than happy to focus on my values and needs. The 'older age’ goal is answering the question ‘how do I want this chapter of my life to look and feel’… This one is still work in progress so watch this space.
What comes next
If you find yourself lost in a negative thinking pattern regarding an issue, observe yourself to find any common denominators to what kicks the first thought of - what sets those wheels in motion. What happens next?
Is it a recurring situation, a recurring interaction, an issue left unresolved, a lack of clarity?
It could be a number of things. Get to know yourself to find out what exactly it is.
Next it is worthwhile to observe what comes next. Which thoughts follow, how do you act, react, behave, or deal with it?
By Suzie Doscher, Executive Coach focusing on Personal Development
Photo credit: Unsplash
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