Our mind’s vastness is not easy to comprehend. It is said that our mind has approximately 60,000 thoughts a day. If observed, very often these thoughts are more negative than positive.
What is negativity?
When most of our thoughts are dominated by envy, jealousy, fear, anxiety, uncertainty, stress, and unexplained anger, we tend to be in a space of negativity. What is worse is that very often, this negativity is directed towards ourselves!
For example, when one falls into a negative spiral, one starts to practice self-criticism, “ I am not organized, I am not driven, I am not a good cook….”
We need to be able to take responsibility for our minds and snap out of these thoughts.
Before diving deep into coping mechanisms, you must be wondering why our mind is perpetually attracted to negative emotions. This is because it is part of our human nature and our human survival instinct to be a pessimist.
Going back to the days of the hunter-gatherers, being attracted to negative emotions aided our survival. If one was greeted by danger in the form of a lion or a natural disaster, one's mind would think the worst and start developing methods of survival. If in such situations, the human mind was trained to be an optimist, the probability of being defeated by the lion or natural calamity would be high.
We are tuned to be pessimists and need to put in that added effort to bring out the optimist in us.
How do these negative emotions come to us and how do we get affected?
We tend to hold on to the negative remarks and let go of the positive ones. Suppose you get praised for your lasagna, but your guests point out that the bread pudding could have been a little sweeter. Your mind will dwell on the remarks about the bread pudding, but will completely forget that your guests wiped off your incredible lasagna. We tend to pull in the negative remarks and get stuck with them while ignoring the positive ones
They say that empty vessels make the most noise and in our case, the empty vessel is our mind. We have to take out more time and responsibility to make sure our mind doesn’t fill itself up with negative remarks and cautiously makes space for the positive ones.
What stops us from taking on the responsibility of training your mind?
The pattern of believing everything that our mind tells us.
If we can take responsibility for our minds and train them to regulate our thoughts, we will be able to spin out of any negativity that comes our way!
How do we do this?
Become completely present in at least one activity a day. Start with something you do every day. For example, take drinking a cup of tea or water. Become aware of this activity, become aware while drinking that cup of tea or water. Its colour, its taste, its temperature, and all the thoughts going through your mind while doing that activity.
This will make you aware of your thoughts, how they come, and how they go, how they make you feel, how incredibly powerful your mind is, and how it's able to control your emotions.
Slowly, as you regularly conduct this practice, you will start to catch the negative thoughts and remind yourself that, ‘it's only a thought. It will come and go’. As the thought comes, reaffirm the negative with a positive. Replace, ‘ I cannot make bread pudding’ to ‘ I love baking desserts and I will try again’
Take small, simple steps to make it a habit.
Catch one negative thought, that is all I ask.