This is the second part of the article about students and teachers avoiding negative thoughts. This part contains practical recommendations. See theory here.
Practical Tips for Students and Teachers to Avoid Negativity
Change Your Way of Speaking
Words that you use to describe yourself are emotional triggers that influence state of your mind and way of your acting in any situation. These words create either positive expectations or negative and limiting.
To overcome negative thinking, you need to transform your active language. This process starts from changing words you use most often. You can do that in two ways:
- Lower the intensity of negative words you use;
- Replace negative expressions with positive ones.
For instance, instead of saying “I am really mad” you should say “I feel worried” or “I am angry”. You can express positive attitude by saying “I’m curious” instead of “I’m angry”.
The second method (negativity replaced with positivity) is better than the first one, but it is more complicated as well. It will make you think in another way, and this can be contrary to your usual beliefs and behavior, becoming the reason of your internal conflict.
You can use the first method to start, just lower the frequency of your negative words and thoughts. As only you learn how to feel comfortable when performing this exercise, switch to the second method. By acting that way, you can change the quality of your thinking gradually, day after day. It all takes time and consciousness because most of human’s thoughts appear automatically.
Change Your Physiology
Words and thoughts you use influence your physiology. And vice versa. So, when you make small changes in your physiology, it becomes possible for you to change your process of thinking.
You need to learn how to move in the certain way, to breathe and to stand in order to break your usual thinking templates. Let’s come back to the example when it is needed to replace anger thoughts to curiosity:
- How would my body look if I’d been curious, not angry?
- How would I move?
- How would I stand?
- How would I sit?
- How would I breathe?
These questions may seem to be a bit silly, but you only need to try answering them to move from thoughts of anger to curiosity.
Compare Yourself with Yourself
Comparison is the basic thinking process. That is why it is not a correct recommendation to avoid comparing yourself with others. You should do it, but you should do it right.
For instance, it is useful to compare yourself with other people when the environment is competitive but friendly. You shouldn’t feel yourself worthless if the victory was not yours.
And comparing yourself with you is effective at any case. This is how you compete with the “better” yourself, and this motivates you and gives you energy. What do negative thoughts do here? The most part of them appear when you unconsciously compare yourself with others and try to make yourself feel better by doing that.
But it is often impossible to win in this game, especially if to look at social media. You see photos of happy people who live their full lives and start feeling envy on them, feeling yourself worthless and gaining complexes. Rational thinking does not work here, while in fact the point is about the best visible side of someone else’s life. But you feel yourself falling behind in this race after happiness. This all causes the most pessimistic thoughts to appear in your mind.
To avoid that, you need to compare yourself only with you. If you in January were worse than you in December, then your negative thoughts are welcome. In this game, it is all fair at least.
The reason for people to be filled with negative thoughts in that they all have a bunch of unrealized expectations.
When you are in a negative mood, you feel irritation, sorrow and anger when thinking about your past or you focus on your future full of fear, anxiety and lack of confidence.
Memorizing your past or thinking about your future on purpose is often a bad habit that will lead you to a madhouse. Live in your present completely. There is no sorrow, anger, fear and anxiety in it. Choices and possibilities are there instead. You can concentrate exclusively on things which are before your eyes every single moment.
But you need to throw away all the fears, doubts and sorrows first. As only you let all negativity go you start living the real moment automatically.
Ask Right Questions
No matter if you are conscious about that or not, you always ask questions. Some of them are useful, while others can possibly bring you harm.
The point about questions is that they help you direct your attention to precise things. With their help you can stay concentrated on things going well all the time, not on negative ones.
Communicate with Successful People
Your mood is often a mood of people you spend time with.
If your friends are hostile about the world, if they complain about everything and blame everyone, then you are more likely to behave that way, too. That is why it is so important to surround yourself with positive people.
Think about your environment.
- How does it influence you?
- Do you complain about same things people around you do?
- Do you use same excuses?
- How does your company influence your thinking?
- What do others make you feel?
While answering these questions it is important for you to avoid falling into a victim state. Be honest but do not fall to blaming others. Just make some conclusions.