It is an old and well-accepted truth that our perception determines our reality. When we perceive the world to be beautiful, it is; conversely, when we’re dissatisfied with the world around us, it’s often because we’re perceiving things in a negative way. So how do we change our perception? How do we perceive our experiences as positive, even when they are challenging?
There are many things that shape our perception. One of the biggest determining factors is the patterns we let our thoughts form. We have about 70,000 thoughts per day; most of our thoughts are rooted in the past, repeating previous thoughts. Many of our thoughts are self-talk, the conversations we have with ourselves.
As humans, it’s our nature to focus on keeping ourselves safe. We seek out the negative to protect ourselves from it. When this extends past our physical needs, we can begin to develop negative thought patterns that affect our mental health. This is where anxiety, stress, and negative self-esteem often come from, jading our perception and in turn our reality and affecting our level of happiness with the present moment.
How many times have you replayed the same fight with a friend or loved one in your head or focused on every worse-case scenario that could play out if you take the “wrong” step into the future? How many times a day do you berate yourself or compare yourself to others? These are the non-productive conversations we have with ourselves that rob the joy from our present.
The more you focus on negativity, scarcity and lack in your self-talk, the more these things show up in your reality.
So, how do you stop having these negative conversations with yourself? Here are a few tips:
Stop & Divert with Gratitude
When you begin to negatively self-talk, consciously STOP! It can be helpful to have a mantra that helps you change modes quickly.
Next, divert by stating at least three things you’re grateful for. This could be as simple as fresh water to drink, a friend or loved one who makes you laugh, or your comfy bed. If three things aren’t enough, say a few more.
Affirmations get a bad rap as being cheesy or cliché, but they are powerful tools if you use them consistently over time. Instead of telling yourself about all the things you aren’t or don’t have, affirmations can flip your perspective on everything from your body to your daily routine.
If this is hard for you, I challenge you to sit down and write a list of at least 6 things you love about yourself. Then focus on saying at least 3 things you love about yourself everyday (driving in the car is a great time to do this). Even if this feels weird or corny at first, keep doing it. Consistency is key and overtime you’ll find that you don’t need to tell yourself these things, you’ll simply know them to be true.
Release writing is a wonderful exercise I learned from Christine Hassler’s book, Expectation Hangover. Sometimes, in order to get it out of our system, it can be helpful to release our negative thoughts on paper. Hassler recommends spending about 10 minutes writing your negative story on paper (writing it out by hand is the best way to process it). It is important to keep your pen moving for the 10 minutes without worrying about spelling, grammar, or if it even makes sense. When you are done, don’t read it (this is very important, because you don’t want to perpetuate the story in your mind any longer), instead: destroy it! Burn it or rip it into a million pieces and throw it away, releasing yourself from the negativity once and for all.
Remember these tips when floating. Release writing may be a little tricky in the pool, but what I recommend is completing the exercise at home before floating. Use the float as a rejuvenating self-care gift. Come prepared to your float with the affirmations you would like to practice while floating, the relaxation state your body goes into while floating allows your mind and body to fully take in this positive self-talk.
If your self-talk turns negative or worrisome in the pool, stop and divert with gratitude. By focusing on the abundance in your life, you will draw more of it to you. You’ll be able to recognize the everyday miracles, all leading to increased happiness and joy!
Amanda Giralmo is a certified holistic health coach, reiki practitioner and founder of Wellthielife Holistic Health Coaching. Amanda’s mission is to help smart, busy professionals see how amazing life can be when they feel fantastic. To learn more about Amanda’s coaching programs, recipes, or to schedule a complementary health consultation visit her website: www.wellthielife.com.