Do you want to get rid of your negative attitude? But it just seems to be your natural way of thinking? As if you kind of have a pessimism gene. The good thing is – a negative attitude is not in your DNA, it’s in your mind, and you can change it.
There are many ways to transform negative thinking into positive thinking, and my favorite one is self-hypnosis. But we’ll get to that a bit later.
Why Change Your Negative Attitude?
But let’s look first at why you should even want to transform your attitude. Negativity does have some benefits after all – for example, when you are generally pessimistic and don’t trust people, it’s less likely that someone will betray or scam you, because you don’t give them the chance to do so in the first place.
But is that worth the price you pay?
Because a negative attitude is a good way to protect a small existence – it’s like you’re living a minimum life, but you’re doing that in a very safe way.
Hopefully, you want more out of life than just being safe.
And in fact, even if your concern is maximum safety: studies have shown that pessimists get sick more often and even have shorter lives than optimists!
What’s more, pessimists often miss out on the opportunities that cross their way. They either don’t recognize the opportunities, or they are so sure that things aren’t even worth trying, that they never take a chance.
The relationships you have with other people will also be less fulfilling. Why? Because the negative thoughts you harbor in your mind will affect how you communicate and interact with others. And if you are a ‘Debbie Downer’ (a person who makes the people around you depressed), positive people will want to avoid you, and the only people who gravitate towards you will be those who are also negative people.
There are plenty more good reasons to reduce the amount of negative thoughts and take on a more sunny disposition. But how do you actually do that?
How To Transform Negative Into Positive Thoughts
It’s actually pretty simple: you practice. Your attitude is basically the culmination of thousands of thoughts and feelings you experience each day. And here’s how you practice.
Step 1: Notice Negative Thoughts
The first step is very simple. Just pay attention to what you’re thinking and how it makes you feel. Pay attention to the voice in your head that talks to you. So just to have an example, let’s say the thought that you was like this: “You could never do that. You don’t have what it takes.”
Step 2: Question Negative Thoughts
Once you’ve “caught” a negative thought, you simply question it. So let’s continue with our previous example. The way you would question that thought would be: “Are you sure you could never do that? How certain are you about this? Are you 90% sure? Are you 10% sure? Or 5% sure? If you’re 100% sure, which facts are you basing your assumption on?”
Step 3: Generate Positive Alternatives
And then you simply generate positive alternatives for each negative thought. So in our example that could be: “Yes, you haven’t done something like this before, but before that man/that woman did it, she never did something like that before either. Even if you don’t have the skills or talents to do it right now, you could learn what is required, or you could try to get help by asking someone for advice or coaching, and make it happen with the help of others.”
This is how you start out transforming a negative attitude into a positive one.
Black & White Thinking
Pessimists also tend to fall into a habit of all-or-nothing thinking. They see only black and white, but no shades of grey when it comes to negative things. For example, if an insecure man, let’s call him Paul Pessimist, tries to chat up a beautiful woman, and they talk for a couple of minutes and then go their separate ways without exchanging numbers, he would think along these lines:
“Oh my god, what have I done? I completely messed up and made a fool out of my self. She pitied me so much that she even spent a couple of minutes talking to me before politely rejecting me because she didn’t want to hurt my feelings.”
Of course, what might have happened in realitiy is that the woman actually liked Paul Pessimist, and would have happily shared her number with him or friended him on Facebook. (Btw. you can add me on Facebook too).
Pessimists don’t see fine differentiation. If an action didn’t lead to the outcome they hoped for, they assume it was a complete failure. Even if they’ve actually taken a step in the right direction and just stopped walking too soon.
If you want to overcome your negative attitude, notice when you fall victim to that kind of fatalistic thinking. Don’t blow negative things out of proportion.
“This Ruins Everything!”
I once was a guest at a big wedding party in Santa Barbara. I didn’t know the bride or the groom, but they booked a fancy resort in Santa Barbara and hired a make-up artist who happened to be a close friend. She got two flight tickets to Santa Barbara (for herself and her “assistant” – guess who that was?).
So I made myself comfortable there. We were checked into the cheapest room, but it still was amazing and just a beautiful location. There were literally hundreds of people at that wedding. My friend the make-up artist brought me to meet the bride. She was a beautiful woman and obviously cared a lot about this day.
But then… something terrible happened.
The lipstick! She forgot to bring the lipstick she wanted to wear, and my friend didn’t have that particular one. She had a whole set of god knows how many lip-stick colors, but not that particular one.
The bride broke out into tears, and I still hear her shreek voice shouting: “What am I going to do now?! This ruins everything!” And there she sat, sobbing.
Obviously I’m a guy, and I didn’t get why the lipstick was such a big deal – particularly given the fact that there were literally dozens of lipstick colors available for her. But this wasn’t a five minute emotional outburst. She was seriously shaken because of this. And I stood there and watched this gigantic wedding happen and couldn’t help but think: Wasn’t the fact that she was getting married more important than that lipstick? Wasn’t the fact that they could afford to book a luxury resort for hundreds of guests in Santa Barbara more important than that lipstick?
If you’re looking at it from the outside, it can seem ridiculous. But for her, she focused so much on this lipstick issue that it tainted everything else. As if she was looking through a broken glass which made everything she looked at seem broken too.
This is an extreme example – but people with a negative attitude often use the same psychological pattern in different areas of their life. As soon as a tiny blop appears on their “negativity radar” they think the whole thing is going down the drain.
So next time you notice that you’re engaging in this kind of fatalistic negative thinking – simply write down this thought. And then rewrite it, but in a more harmless way.
So let’s do this exercise with our lipstick disaster example.
Her first thought was: “This ruins everything!”
She could have written that down and then find another way to think about this:
“It’s not going to be exactly the way I imagined it. I’m not going to wear my favorite lipstick. But I can still look beautiful, that’s what I have my make-up artist for.”
It takes a lot of discipline and willpower and patience to do it that way, because pessimistic thoughts are created automatically in your mind, and oftentimes during the course of your day you might not even pay attention to it.
If you use hypnosis and a proven step-by-step process to really get rid of a negative attitude, you can become optimistic and start to automatically look at the bright side of life.