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I was driving in heavy Los Angeles traffic the other day. The kind of drive where what should, in theory, take 15 minutes to accomplish ended up taking over an hour. Being stuck in traffic is so hard on the psyche and, to put it simply, just sucks the big one.
But that day something very simple and interesting happened. Stuck in bumper to bumper, with no signs of moving, I looked up a few inches above the cars and saw the sky. It just so happened to be one of the most beautiful formation of clouds I’ve ever seen. And I thought, “How I have not seen this all day? Where have I been?” And just like that, I was enraptured in beauty and grateful that I got out of my own way to notice it.
Then just this morning, I woke up with very negative thoughts about myself. These sabotaging thoughts were so in charge, it was hard to get out of bed. Like the traffic, there was a lot of negative congestion going on in my mind. But after a few minutes of feeling so down, I was reminded of the sky view and thought to myself, “Choose the higher thought.” And suddenly, I had this image of me sitting in my car in traffic and then looking up at the sky. Within moments, my thoughts shifted. On the other side of these negative thoughts were positive, peaceful, truthful thoughts about me. Like the sky, these thoughts were already there, I just had to shift my focus and awareness.
For every negative thought, there also exists an equal, powerful, and higher positive thought waiting for you to attach to. Like one coin with two sides, it’s a matter of flipping the coin to discover a greater truth.
Your mastery of thoughts is one of the most challenging practices you’ll ever undertake and it’s an ongoing process. But I can’t think of anything more gratifying or important than mastering your mind. And when it comes to your health, this is one of the most important tools to have. It is literally the difference between a life filled with fear, sabotage, lack of confidence and self-doubt and one filled with love, action, belief, and potential. It takes patience, everyday diligence and determination. But as you practice directing focus to higher thoughts, it gets easier and easier and will eventually just become second nature and who you are.
So try these 4 techniques to immediately change how you feel about YOU:
1. Take a breath
When you start to have an emotional negative reaction to something, someone, or yourself, take a breath. Relax. Try to calm your body, your nervous system and your mind. Keep breathing deeply. It is this simple awareness of the negativity and the combination of deep breathing that will lead you on the right path.
2. Separate It From You
After you’ve taken a few breaths, start to see your thoughts. Say them out loud to yourself or write them down. Look at your thoughts as though they are separate from you and not attached to you at all. By becoming the spectator to your thoughts, you give the thoughts less power and authority over you.
3. Lose All Judgement
When you judge yourself, you hold on to the negativity. You give it more power. When you lose judgement and replace it with compassion, negativity has nowhere to live. So choose compassion for yourself. The fact alone that you are taking responsibility over your thoughts makes you a conscious, evolving person and that is the greatest gift you could ever give to you.
4. Choose the higher and opposite thought
What is the opposite word of dark? What is the opposite word of down? What is the opposite word of sad? This is how you have to control your thoughts. Like I said earlier, for every negative thought, there is its opposite and positive thought waiting for you to focus on. Ask yourself this question, “What is a better truth than the thought I am having right now? What is the higher thought?” Once you have figured it out, recognize that the positive and higher thought was inside of you all along, and to hold onto that for the rest of the day.
Now go be amazing.