5 steps to help you positively rewire your focus

If you’re stuck in a spiral of negativity, reframe your thinking and train your ‘positivity muscle’.

By Suzanne Masefield
We have a lot of thoughts each day, and while many of these may be on the same topics we had the day before, a large proportion of them can veer into negative thinking. But it's not all bad news.
The 'flight or fight' tendency is instinctive – it's our natural animalistic behaviour acting as a guidance system to protect us. So thinking negatively about potential challenges in advance and doing something positive about them can work to keep you safe in certain instances.
When it becomes unhelpful, however, there are many things we can do to switch gears.

Pay attention to your thoughts

Notice how your 'guidance system' is working, ie notice what you're thinking.
Check your focus throughout the day – is it headed in the direction you want it to? Get ahead of it and adjust your focus where needed.

Interrupt your patterns

When you take charge with affirmative physical action steps you interrupt the negative flow so you can refocus your energy into a new positive direction, as below:
  • Take a breath and acknowledge yourself for catching the negative thought
  • Breathe in what you want, breathe out what you don't want. Repeat three times
  • Go for a brisk walk, make a cup of tea or do 10 star jumps
  • Imagine 'popping' the negative thought bubble above your head

Counterbalance daily stresses

If you live or work in stress-filled environments, it impacts how you feel, often without you even being aware of it until it's too late.
Nowadays it's easy to regularly reset your focus as there's plenty of funny, uplifting or inspirational material to watch, read or listen to, to inject good vibes into your brain.
Create a 'positivity' folder on your device filled with videos, meditations, audios. Keep an inspirational book in your bag to regularly inject uplifting energy into your day.
If you've been experiencing particularly stressful times, you may have developed a downward momentum. Increase your daily dose of positive injections and make a habit of dedicating five to 20 minutes a few times a day to counterbalance everyday stresses.

Develop an upward slant

Use questions to focus your brain in an uplifting direction, creating solutions rather than problems. Ask yourself, 'What could be a positive way to look at this so it works for me?'
For example, instead of thinking 'I'm not good enough to get a better job', think 'What support can I get to help me go for a new job?' or 'What qualities do I already have that would add value in this role?'
Search for positive evidence for what's working and shift your focus in the direction you want to go.

Consistency is key

Consistency counts so set up a daily and weekly plan to grow your 'positivity muscle':
  • Start your day by connecting to yourself with three deep breaths before getting out of bed
  • Take a breath and notice what you appreciate in life as you go through your day
  • Check in with yourself during the day to reset thinking and behaviour where necessary
  • End your day acknowledging yourself for all you've done to improve your thinking and your life.
AIM to lower negative thinking to 10 per cent.
FOCUS on developing your 'positive muscle' to 90 per cent.
PRACTISE positivity, patience and perseverance each day.
RE-BALANCE your positive/negative ratio to increase your quality of life.
REMEMBER that whatever you focus on expands!
Search for evidence where good things are happening to develop a positive momentum.
Don't wait until something challenging happens before updating what no longer serves you. Break it down into chunks, taking small steps towards the life you really want.
Invest time and energy developing your 'positive muscle' to quickly see great results.

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