Your thoughts become your reality. Recurring negative thought patterns can lead to an unhappy life, but it’s simple to reprogram your mind for happiness. When we’re anxious about something or when we’re replaying past experiences it’s easy to repeat fears, worries and negative thoughts over and over in our minds.
Negative thinking habits are interconnected with other aspects of yourself and your life. They can affect your emotional state, change your sleep patterns and brain chemistry, leave you irritable and fatigued, and lead you to poor self care and isolation. When you obsess over negative thoughts, giving them more attention than other thoughts, you are programming your subconscious mind to bring these thoughts up more often without your control.
For optimal health and happiness, you can reprogram your mind by giving more weight and importance to your positive thoughts and experiences than the negative ones. By shifting your habits from repeating negative thoughts to repeating positive thoughts, you reprogram your mind to automatically respond to life in a more positive way.
Here are several methods you can use to reprogram your mind for happiness.
Be aware of what’s going on in your body throughout the day. Check in with your emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations. Do this mental check in when you’re waiting in traffic or in line, washing dishes or really anytime throughout the day. When you’re aware of your thoughts, you can more easily redirect them from negative to positive. When you do this check in, if you notice your thoughts repeating something negative, simply shift those thoughts to something that makes you happy. For example, maybe you’re looking forward to getting home to relax, or to seeing someone you love, or maybe you have a delicious dinner planned for the evening. It doesn’t have to be something huge, just anything that you can use to redirect your thoughts.
A helpful practice to reprogram your mind for happiness is to choose a positive affirmation that speaks to you at the beginning of each day and repeat it to yourself all throughout the day. An affirmation can be a positive phrase or statement beginning with “I am” or “I choose.” For example, “I choose to release all negative thoughts today and focus on the positive.” Or, something even simpler, like “I am grateful” or “I am at peace.” These statements allow you to be conscious of your thoughts and feelings.
When you have a stressful experience coming up such as an interview or important meeting, a typical automatic response is to go over in your mind all of the ways it could go wrong. Instead of doing that, do the opposite. Think of all the ways it could go right. Then take it a step further, and visualize your desired outcome so vividly that you can attach feelings and emotions to the mental image as if it’s already happened. This might sound kind of hokey, but many inventors, entrepreneurs and famous athletes attribute visualization to their success.
You must form a habit for this to work.
At first the reprogramming exercises might feel difficult or unnatural. It’s vital to keep doing them, however. When you repeat a mental or physical behavior regularly, you are able to do it without second thought. You must repeat these exercises daily until they become second nature – i.e. programmed into your subconscious mind.
Just a note…this is not a perfect world, none of us are perfect, and we will never be positive and happy ALL the time. Life isn’t meant to be always comfortable. People, outside circumstances, and even ourselves, will let us down. But there are experiences in life when it’s completely healthy and necessary to be sad, angry, scared, hurt or confused. On the other hand, for typical day to day life, the reprogramming methods in this post are very useful and can also help to manage anxiety and depression. They can help us to more quickly forgive others and overcome challenges as well.
Please share in the comments what is your favorite method for cultivating a positive mind.