In my last post, I talked about stopping my negative thoughts before they have a chance to impact my mood. I’ve begun to notice some patterns to my negative thoughts. Recognizing the pattern enables me to highlight some key words and phrases that come to my mind at the beginning of the negative thought. Now I can mindfully listen for these key words and phrases and stop the negative thought even sooner.
Just as saying the word “but,” in the middle of an apology is a sure-fire sign that it is not completely sincere, when I think or say the word after a complement, I now recognize I am getting ready to say something negative.
The words should’ve and could’ve are a good indication as well. Anytime I start thinking what I could’ve or should’ve done, I now recognize that I am not affirming the work I did do. Usually, the words should’ve or could’ve indicate I am getting ready to complain to myself about myself about something I did not do.
Realizing that I probably won’t be able to remove these words from my mental vocabulary, I am trying to be more mindful of my thoughts when I do use them. As my mindfulness muscles get stronger, the simple act of catching myself as soon as I think the word, I can stop the thought mid sentence and take steps to correct the line of thinking before it turns sour.
Of course it’s a journey and some days, my mindfulness muscle is weak, but (insert smile here as I use but in a positive way), the more I flex it, the stronger it gets. The stronger it gets the easier it will become to life the heavy weights, like when life throws me a curve ball. By practicing each and every day, I am getting stronger and more mindful and as a result happier. Just like going to the gym, the payoff feels pretty good. That is a small success worth celebrating!