How to Escape From the Prison of Negative Thinking
If you want to change your circumstances, you need to change the way you think. You have to stop believing that you are stuck in your situation and passively accepting that you’re incapable of doing anything about it.
Many people allow themselves to be caged by their fear and anxiety. For these people, an inner critic always seems to be whispering in their ears, keeping them from succeeding. The truth is, negative thinking will shackle you to a life that’s both mediocre and unfulfilling. If you want to stretch yourself to your fullest potential, you need to escape your self-imposed prison of negative thinking.
All it takes is consistent practice and the will to overcome. Use these nine effective tools to begin creating a healthier, happier, more positive you today.
1. Set your new “norm.”
Negativity is so pervasive in today’s world that we can get mired in it without even realizing it. This can happen in subtle ways. Our friends might tease us for our dreams, casually diminishing our goals. Or family members might urge us to seek out a dependable, reliable job and stay the course. We are surrounded by the constant drumbeat of “you can’t make it, so don’t even try.”
Negativity is so pervasive because our brains are wired that way as part of our self-defense mechanism. Therefore, we also accept it as normal. But negative thinking isn’t healthy. It can trap us in a prison of fear, anxiety, anger and despair. In order to break free, you need to start setting new norms.
2. Tame your mental monsters.
The more we let negative thoughts take hold, the more we let negativity seep into our psyche and allow pessimistic thinking to become a part of us. Negative thoughts are like mental monsters: They will eat you (and your dreams) from the inside out.
Psychiatrist Daniel Amen has a name for these infuriating monsters we harbor in our minds: Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANT), which he describes as “the little voices that pop into your head and tell you you’re not good enough, not thin enough, a rubbish daughter, mother, worker.” The best way to handle an ANT is to develop an ANT-eater. Write your negative thoughts down, and then write down what your ANT-eater would say to squelch them.
3. Give yourself a pep talk.
To truly break out of the prison of negative thinking, you must begin acting positively every day. This will help you eradicate negativity by not giving it space to fester in your mind. One way to do this is to write yourself a pep talk that reads like an advertisement — like you’re selling yourself by promoting your best qualities. What would you say to market yourself?
Think of this like an in-house advertising campaign that only you will see. This is an internal commercial that you can play on repeat in your mind — it’s a constant pep talk to yourself. Say this pep talk to yourself out loud at least once a day (preferably in the morning), and read it to yourself several times throughout your day.
Related: When Times Are Tough, Give Your Team This Pep Talk
4. Get back to reality.
Negative thinking is often centered around thoughts about the past that are upsetting, hurtful or disappointing, or around anxiety or apprehension about something that we believe will happen in the future. These painful or fearful thoughts prevent us from focusing on the present and accepting where we are at this moment in time.
Negative thinking creates angst and mental pain because we are focused on these ruminations instead of living in the reality of the moment. By bringing your attention back to the present, you’ll see that your negative thoughts are just that — thoughts. They aren’t reality. By living in the moment, you can begin to shape your reality the way you want.
5. Become a comfortable person.
If you want to break free of negativity, you’re going to need to start attracting the positive. That means exuding the kind of positive energy that makes people want to gravitate toward you. You can do this by learning to be honest, outgoing and likable. Do you make people feel comfortablearound you? Do you show interest in them and ask them about themselves (and then really listen to their answers)?
We all want to feel appreciated and liked, and if you show this consideration to others, they will begin to respond in kind. You can start by shifting the focus from yourself to others by showing those around you that you truly care for them. Become a “comfortable person” by first becoming comfortable with yourself and making others feel welcome and accepted when they are around you.
Related: The More You Talk, the Less They Listen
6. The power of forgiveness.
We may imagine that not forgiving someone is a form of punishment for that person; a way of making them pay for what they have done to us. We may feel like withholding our forgiveness is a way of validating our own hurt and holding on to our sense of rightness. We were wronged, and we need to make the other person pay for what they have done.
But the truth is, forgiveness is a gift to yourself, first and foremost, because it allows you to let go and move forward. Forgiveness is a necessary part of releasing negative emotions such as bitterness, resentment and anger. When we truly forgive someone, we also heal ourselves and can begin to shift our mindset to become more optimistic and compassionate. It doesn’t mean that you ignore that a wrong has been done or forget or condone what has happened. But by letting go, you keep those negative feelings from eating at you.
7. Be a force for good.
It’s not hard to see that our world is full of tragedy, sadness and cruelty. So many people act out of self-interest and have little regard for helping others unless there’s some ulterior motive.
The result is that we often lose our way because our moral compass is fractured. But, just as we have the power to damage, hurt and destroy, we also have the power to exert a positive impact on the world. This is what the Dalai Lamacalls a force for good.
We can embrace becoming a positive force by taking small steps. Be more compassionate to others. Practice forgiveness. Endeavor to always be fair, foster transparency in all you do and be accountable for your actions. By treating everyone equally, remaining honest and taking responsibility for your mistakes, you will live a life that is happy, positive and satisfying.
Related: You Can Reprogram Yourself to Be a Positive Person and You Should
8. Use anger and frustration for the positive.
There are times when we may become morally outraged about something that we feel is unfair or unjust. We take action to fight for what is right — and on the face of it, that’s a good thing.
But it doesn’t take much to allow your anger to push you from being constructive to destructive. To keep your mind and heart free from negativity, you must learn to use your frustration and anger to drive positive action.
You may be justified in your indignation, but if your behavior is hurtful or detrimental, it can nullify the helpful, positive change you were hoping to create. Remember to show compassion and understanding even to those you oppose or feel angry toward. By doing this, you can create lasting, positive change.
9. The power of change lies within.
To break the negative cycle you have become trapped in, you must accept that the power to change — to embrace the positive — must come from within. No one else can do this for you. Only you are capable of reframing your mindset by embracing and creating positive change.
The first step is to begin shifting away from being completely self-focused, self-absorbed and wrapped in a pessimistic mindset. Begin focusing on ways to show compassion and understanding toward others.
Identify something you feel needs improvement; something that will help others. Get involved in an organization or a cause that is bigger than yourself, and feel how exhilarating it is to focus on creating something positive rather than being trapped by the negative. Recognize that ultimately you must be the one to create a healthier, more positive you.
From food to beauty, lots of women are becoming more mindful of what they put in and on their bodies. Making the change to ‘clean’ products may be trendy right now, but this isn’t just a passing fad you should consider taking advantage of. Our bodies absorb 60%of the products we put on our skin. Choosing products that are not only less harmful to the environment, but also non toxic to you will have undeniable long-term benefits.
Now I know you’re probably thinking it’s impossible to find “clean” beauty products that are just effective as the ones you’re currently using, but that’s no longer the case. Tons of beauty brands are now making amazing non-toxic skincare and makeup products that still do the job.
Making the switch to “clean beauty”, here’s how;
1. Read the ingredient labels.
Like food, makeup and skincare products have the ingredients listed on the packaging. To make sure your products are non-toxic, make sure to avoid ingredients such as parabens, petrolatum, and coal tar dyes. Just because a product is labeled natural/organic does not mean it is free of harmful chemicals. Always read the ingredients and If you do not understand or recognize the ingredients listed, it is recommended that you do not purchase the product. Educate yourself on what sorts of ingredients you want to avoid, more so what ingredients you prefer in your beauty products. Do your research!
2. Find go-to brands.
There are a lot of brands that strictly make “clean” beauty products, so you never have to worry about checking the ingredients when you shop. Juice Beauty, RMS Beauty, Lawless Beauty, Ilia, W3ll People, and Tata Harper Skin Care are brands you can always count on.
3. Use an app.
If you are unsure about certain products, download the GoodGuide app. Simply scan the barcode of your product and the app will rate how safe the product is and flag any harmful ingredients.
Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Do This for 10 Minutes
HIIT is a combination of brief, very-high intensity bursts of cardio exercise followed by equal or longer periods of rest. Think 30 seconds to a minute of sprinting, followed by a minute or two of walking or slow jogging. Repeat this cycle for just 10 minutes, and you’ll complete a HIIT workout.
“We now have more than 10 years of data showing HIIT yields pretty much the exact same health and fitness benefits as long-term aerobic exercise, and in some groups or populations, it works better than traditional aerobic exercise,” says Todd Astorino, a professor of kinesiology at California State University, San Marcos, who has published more than a dozen study papers on HIIT.
Whether your goal is to improve your fitness, lower your risk for cardiovascular disease, lose weight, strengthen skeletal muscle or help get your blood sugar under control, a few minutes of HIIT seem to be as effective as much longer periods of moderate-paced running, cycling, swimming or other forms of traditional cardio. For well-trained athletes, HIIT may be the best way to elevate your physical performance.
One small study of healthy but sedentary people found just one minute total of HIIT performed three days a week for six weeks was enough to significantly improve blood sugar scores and aerobic capacity, a measure of physical fitness. The study participants completed 10- to 20-second bouts of “all-out” cycling on a stationary bike, each broken up by a couple minutes of rest. The total workout time, start to finish, was 10 minutes.
Other research finds that HIIT may outperform traditional cardio when it comes to fat loss. A HIIT-induced surge in your body’s levels of growth hormones and other organic compounds “can increase fat burning and energy expenditure for hours after exercise,” says study author Stephen Boutcher, an associate professor of medical sciences at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
It doesn’t just work for the young, fit and healthy. Among people with heart disease, HIIT improves cardiorespiratory fitness nearly twice as much as longer stretches of moderate-intensity running, cycling or other aerobic exercises, one review study concluded.
How can HIIT do so much good in so little time? During very intense exercise, “the heart cannot pump enough blood to satisfy all the muscles,” says Ulrik Wisløff, a HIIT researcher and head of the cardiac exercise research group at the Norwegian School of Science and Technology. This lacking oxygen delivery to the muscles starts a “cascade of molecular responses in most organs of the body” that produces a greater training response than more leisurely bouts of exercise, he says.
Exercise of any intensity switches on genes that increase the growth of mitochondria—the power generators of the cells—and triggers all of the other beneficial biological changes linked with physical fitness, says Astorino. “But to activate these genes with traditional cardiovascular exercises, you have to do fairly large or long bouts,” he says. With HIIT, it appears that even very short bouts of training can switch on those genes, so it’s an efficient workout.
HIIT can work for a wide range of people. But how you should practice it depends on your fitness level.
The key to HIIT is pushing your heart rate up above 80% of its maximum, Astorino says. “Subtract your age from 220 to estimate your maximal heart rate,” he says. (A heart rate monitor can provide an accurate assessment. But if you’re really sucking wind after pushing yourself, you’ve probably hit your target, Astorino says.)
If you’re fit, try sprint interval training. After walking or slow jogging for a few minutes to warm up, sprint as hard as you can for 30 seconds, then recover for four minutes by walking or jogging slowly. Complete four to six sets of this sprinting-recovery program. (For an even faster version, keep the warmup, then complete three sets of 20-second sprints, each separated by two minutes of recovery, Astorino says.)
If you’re overweight or obese and you haven’t exercised in months, sprinting isn’t necessary (or safe for your joints). Instead, 30 seconds to four minutes of brisk walking on an inclined treadmill or hill should be enough to push your heart rate up into the HIIT zone, Astorino says.
You can also practice these programs with a stationary bike, rowing machine or in the pool. Any form of cardio can push your heart into the HIIT zone, Wisløff says. (This fact sheet from the American College of Sports Medicine offers more in-depth details on how to design a HIIT program.)
And yes, HIIT is safe. Wisløff and colleagues analyzed nearly 50,000 hours of HIIT data collected from cardiovascular disease patients in Norway. In seven years of data, he turned up just two instances of (non-fatal) cardiac arrest.
He says people with unstable angina or serious heart issues should speak with their doctor first. But, in general, “it’s much more dangerous not to perform HIIT than to perform it,” he says.
Life is fast-paced and hectic. And many of us spend so much time taking care of others or working, we forget to stop, rest, reset, and take a little care of ourselves!
Join us for a 10-day Self-Care Challenge where you will do one act of self-care everyday for the next 10 days.
Self-care is crucial for our physical, emotional and mental well-being.
After the challenge, you will most-likely still have a to-do list and full life, but you will feel more rested and grateful instead of frantic and overwhelmed.
It is amazing how taking a little time to care for yourself can actually help you be more productive in your day. You have to fill your tank before you head out on a journey!
I encourage you to try to complete each days challenge sometime in the morning. But if that is not happening, complete them when you can!
DAY 1 – GRATITUDE Take a moment to look out the window and feel gratitude for the sunrise, nature, your warm house, food in your cupboards, anything that you may often take for granted.
DAY 2 – SEND A NOTE TO A FRIEND Write a letter, send an email, or even just send a text to a friend or family member and share a kind word with them. Tell then something you like about them or just let them know you are thankful for them.
DAY 3 – ENJOY FRESH FLOWERS Buy or pick fresh flowers and set them out in your home.
DAY 4 – ENJOY A HEALTHY MEAL Make a healthy meal and sit down to enjoy it alone or with loved ones.
DAY 5 – PAY IT FORWARD Pay it forward: buy coffee or lunch for someone today. (Ideas: send a coffee gift card to a client, bring coffee to work or a meeting, bring something to a neighbor)
DAY 6 – GIVE COMPLIMENTS Give 3 people a compliment today. It feels good to lift others up.
DAY 7 – MOVE YOUR BODY Do 5-10 minutes of yoga, stretching, or walking.
DAY 8 – FORGIVE Take a moment to reflect on your struggles, mistakes, failures, and inadequacies. Then forgive yourself for your shortcomings. Treat yourself with same compassion you would a close friend. Show yourself kindness rather than harsh self-judgment.
DAY 9 – MAKE A HEALTHY SMOOTHIE Make a smoothie with at least one fruit and one vegetable.
DAY 10 – BREATHE Close your eyes for 5 minutes today and just REST and breathe!
Each and every individual has different nutritional needs. No one person has the same body type, nor do they have the same deficiencies. A diet that works for one person may not work for the other. There are so many diets out there, but will that diet work for you? Does it supply your body with the nutrients it needs? “The diet that is best is the one that meets your nutritional needs. The one that supplies your body with what it lacks”!
There are many trainers (not all) that create a diet plan that is given to all their clients and there are individuals who follow a fad diet. Unfortunately, each individual is different and requires a diet plan that is tailored to their needs.
We tend to follow the trend which is fad diets that are popular at the time such as; The Keto Diet, South Beach Diet, Ab Diet etc….. The problem with these diets is that they tend to cut out foods our bodies need. If you are not taking in the right nutrients or not enough of them due to the restrictions of fad diets, you put yourself at risk for nutritional deficiencies which can cause health issues. “Confusion about nutrition is the very reason fad diets exist. If we all knew how to eat, there would be no need for diet books” (Downs, M. 2005-2019). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the fad diets that are out on the market. I’m against diets that do not meet the nutritional needs our bodies require and must have.
As stated by The Health Science Academy (2019);
“Everyone will have different needs when it comes to”
Nutrient Needs: depending on people’s diet AND their genes, they may have different deficiency risks.
Food Quality + Quantity: everyone’s preference and tolerance are different here. Their Eating Frequency: habits die hard and people are bound to eat the way that fits their busy schedule. You must adapt.
Food Types They Need: we all have certain food types that are extra good for us based on our current health, genes, and diet.
Food Combos They Like: you may know the exact foods they need to eat but can you combo them in a way they’ll like to eat them?
Meal Ideas You Can Give Them: this is considering their cooking skills, equipment, tastes.
Shopping Lists to Create: depending on where they live
Your diet plan should be personalized furthermore, tailored to meet your nutritional needs. It’s about being healthy and supplying your body with what it needs to sustain optimal health. Each individual is different therefore, their diet plan/nutritional program should differ from another’s allowing one to achieve and meet their goals.
Confused by all the conflicting nutrition advice out there? These simple tips can show you how to plan, enjoy, and stick to a healthy diet.
What is a healthy diet?
Eating a healthy diet is not about strict limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, improving your health, and boosting your mood.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be overly complicated. If you feel overwhelmed by all the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there, you’re not alone. It seems that for every expert who tells you a certain food is good for you, you’ll find another saying exactly the opposite. The truth is that while some specific foods or nutrients have been shown to have a beneficial effect on mood, it’s your overall dietary pattern that is most important. The cornerstone of a healthy diet should be…
Nothing inspires me more than having great coaches that have always kept me going more so, help me reach my goals. I am extremely thankful to have coaches that inspire me everyday to be better than the day before. Keep pushing and never give up! http://purefitnessmartialarts.com
I have sat and pondered on what I wanted my first blog to be geared towards “health, fitness, beauty, positivity, how divorce has changed me more so how letting go has inspired me to be a better mother and person”. My goal here is to be diverse furthermore, touch on topics that are of importance to myself and topics that interest me as well as others.
My vision is for this blog not to be just good “but great”. Being new to the blogging world It will take time to perfect the content.
There will be content soon!