1. Taking on someone else’s mood
2. Keeping yourself small so that you don’t overshadow others
3. Allowing ‘worst-case-scenario’ thoughts to take over
4. Comparing yourself unfavorably to others
5. Ruminating about a specific regret or embarrassment
6. Assuming that others think poorly of you
7. Getting into a NEVER/CAN’T/ALWAYS mindset
8. Presuming that others have a better life or an easier time than you
9. Automatically aiming to please without considering your own needs
10. Believing you are stuck
Negative feelings tend to fester and expand. While the concept of choosing a positive mindset may seem simplistic, disrupting these patterns does come down to a choice:
A choice to actively release the negative feelings
A choice to value your mental health as much as your physical health
A choice to step away from patterns that hurt you
A choice of WHAT to focus on
SHED TOXIC PATTERNS:
Learn to recognize these negative patterns: You can’t choose another way of thinking or behaving until you’re aware of what goes on inside your head. You might be surprised at how prevalent and draining these negative patterns have become.
After contact with others, begin to notice any lingering negative effects: Look for changes in your mood, sense of confidence, energy level, feeling of attractiveness, or even your outlook for the future. Also be aware of your own pessimistic thoughts and how often they occur.
Take a stand, and tell yourself, No More! You don’t have to live with these damaging thoughts permeating your being. As Mark Twain said, ‘Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.’ Just like flossing your teeth, it takes a daily commitment to catch and change these patterns.
Thank the problem: While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s important to remember that we developed these patterns, in part, to protect ourselves. Sometimes low expectations prevent disappointment, or being fearful improves focus. Thank the problem as a means of releasing it.
Let go of the negative pattern: Once you catch yourself falling into an old response or thought pattern, make it your #1 priority to release it. Experiment with what works best. Ideas include: the mantra ‘choice,’ four deep breaths, or a pattern-interrupt like physical movement or listening to music. If you have a strong or ingrained feeling to release, find time to express your feelings in writing, talk with someone, or meditate. Working through these feelings helps to loosens them, and allows for change. Sometimes help is needed when you’re really stuck, but you can release these patterns with practice.
Use visualization: It can be useful to imagine certain types of negativity in a physical form that you can readily address. For example, if you tend to take on other’s moods, you might picture being splattered with mud. By using an imaginary spray hose, you can experience relief by picturing yourself washing all the mud away. Choose your own powerful visualization tool.
Chose what to focus on: Thinking about what makes you feel inspired and connected with your life – come up with a message that will lift your spirits and pull you forward. An example is: “I am discovering a new approach to my life that I am growing into and will allow me to be more happy and authentic.” Remember your personal message every time you catch yourself in one of these ten harmful patterns and chose to make it your focus instead.
Best wishes in freeing yourself and developing a much happier and healthier mindset.