Stop Negative Thoughts Holding You Back With This Simple Technique

Stop Negative Thoughts Holding You Back With This Simple Technique

Jann Richardson, a personal and professional coach based in Southwold, explores the effect of negative thoughts and shares tips on how to stop negative thoughts holding you back.

Would you consider yourself a mind reader? Can you predict the future? No? Probably not, Yet people habitually predict disaster every day…

  • “The train won’t turn up because I really need to be on time today.”
  • “No one will come to my play.”
  • “My boss hates me, I can tell.”

Do you know people who think like this? Do you? We call this Automatic Negative Thinking (ANT) and it stops you having the happier, calmer and content life you deserve. Instead, ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) cause stress, anger and resentment.

Here are some more examples of ANTs that may seem familiar:

  • Over generalising – “I’ll be alone forever.”
  • Focusing on the negatives – “that holiday to Disneyland was ruined by the weather.”
  • Guilt – “I must clean the kitchen,” or “I have to write that report.”
  • Personalising – taking on blame for something that isn’t your fault
  • Catastrophising – “The presentation will be horrific. I’ll embarrass myself and my manager.”

Don’t worry of some of these hit home. It’s a positive thing to recognise your ANTs, because you can overcome them with these two simple but effective techniques.

Challenge your ANTs

Step one – Make a note of where your ANT occurred. E.g. At work.

Step two -What is the ANT? I’ll never get that report completed in time. My boss will hate it.

Step three – What is the consequence of the ANT? I put off writing the report, then had to work late to get it done

Step four – Logically and realistically, what is the actual situation? My report was fine, I write them every day. My boss liked it. I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time worrying about it!

The ANT was actually the only thing holding you back.

Deal with your ANTs

  • Recognise your ANTs. Interview tomorrow and I’m worried I’ll forget everything I want to say.
  • Acknowledge them. There go my ANTs!
  • Remember that resisting the ANT gives it power. That’s my ANT talking, not me.
  • Confront your ANT. They’re just ANTs.
  • Now, let it go. Sure, it might go badly. But I want this job and a few doubts are only natural.

Maybe you can’t read minds or predict the future, but now you’ve got a much better super power: turning negative thoughts into positive ones.

Jann Richardson is a personal and professional coach based in Southwold. She works with people and businesses across East Anglia and beyond.

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