Instead of bringing more compassion and love into the world and to myself, I was mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted from my negative over-thinking. But it had become a habit, and the more I practiced over-thinking, the more ingrained the habit became.
Over-thinking, negative thought patterns, and excessive worry can lead to feelings of low self-esteem and low self-confidence. And excessive worry and negativity can lead to anxiety and depression.
Is it possible to unhook from these looping negative thoughts and be in sync with the goodness of our own being? Can we disengage and reclaim our thoughts and our emotional well-being?
Yes it is possible!
It is not only possible, but it’s essential for simple happiness.
Our well-being and happiness hinge on our ability to live in the present moment, drawing energy and joy from the deep reservoir within, as well as from our outward actions and choices.
Self-awareness is always the first step toward change. So we should regularly seek an exit ramp off the freeway of our frenzied busy-mindedness and negative thought patterns.
The best way to break the habit of negative thought patterns is simply through awareness and interruption. Once you catch yourself in a loop of over-thinking, you must do something to break the cycle. Behind interruption, you can take simple life actions in your daily life to take your mind off of negative thoughts and begin to feel happier in general.
Here are 31 simple life immediate actions you can take to interrupt your patterned thinking and feel happier:
1. Write a thoughtful note. Take a moment and write someone you care about and tell them how much you appreciate them. Be effusive and authentic. Expressing your appreciation helps you be happy and takes your mind off negativity.
2. Meditate. The goal is here is to quiet the noise in your mind. Concentrate on your breath, and visualize it entering your lungs and exiting out your mouth. Try to sustain this for 3-4 minutes and notice the peace you feel.
3. Forgive yourself. Forgiveness is about letting go of what went wrong — both wrong that you did and wrong that was done to you. Whatever self-loathing thoughts you’re having replace them with self-praise. Consciously focus on what you have done well.
4. Encourage someone. This is an easy “feel good” exercise. The very next person you encounter, find a way to say something kind, offer supportive words, or simply smile.
5. Make Love. Regular sex is healthy and fun. It slows down aging, lowers the risk of heart attacks and boosts your immune system. It will definitely distract you from your negative thoughts!
6. Exercise for 15 minutes. 15 minutes is not overwhelming, and it will get the ball rolling with exercise. You’ll be surprised how this will boost your energy and help you focus.
7. Give something away. We all have so much stuff we’ve either forgotten about or don’t use anymore. You likely have many things someone else needs or could get a lot of use from. Go ahead and give it to them. It feels good and makes the recipient feel good too.
8. Memorize one quote. Take a few minutes to memorize a positive quote that you like. Take it with you on a note card and read it through out the day and when you’re waiting in line. Memorization is a great way to occupy your mind.
9. Call or text a friend. Just a short connection with a friend can improve your happiness and mental state.
10. Gratitude booster. Take 2 minutes to write down or list out in your mind everything you have to be grateful for. Include everything that comes into your mind, and allow yourself really feel the gratitude fully.
11. Write affirmations. Write down and repeat the affirmation until you believe it. Carry it around with you.
12. Praise your kids. As parents we correct our children by default. Try to compliment them 10 times more than you correct them. Why not express to them all the praise you wanted to hear from your parents?
13. Smile more. Smiling brings energy into your body and tells the brain that you are feeling good. Smile more and watch the people around you change also.
14. Disconnect from technology. Try to go without technology for short periods of time. Turn your phone off, shut down your computer. Now go find someone to connect with and be a conscious listener.
15. Be intentionally kind. Good manners are always in style. Walk around the car and open the door for someone. Offer your seat on the bus to an elderly person or pregnant woman. Allow someone to get in line in front of you.
16. Bite your tongue. Just don’t say it. You may want to. You may have the right to. But more often than not, it’s better to just keep that angry or negative thought to yourself.
17. Speak out. Don’t keep your feelings and good ideas inside. Be a bit revealing with yourself and people will get to know the real you.
18. Fake it. Not feeling positive about yourself or situation? Act like you do and pretty soon you feel more positive. Try it and see if it works.
19. Think Wabi-sabi. Appreciate and except impermanence and imperfection wherever you go. Find serenity in that which is fading away.
20. Show empathy. It’s more than sympathy for someone. Allow yourself to see the situation through their eyes. Empathy does not judge but seeks to walk in another person’s shoes.
21. Be humble. Have an inner knowing of your greatness without needing others to reinforce it. Never brag or boast as it causes others to bristle and be repelled.
22. Simplify your life. A stuff-filled life is complicated. Things will not make you happy. Set aside time and space to de-clutter and live with less in order to get more out of life.
23. Get a guru. Find someone who inspires you and emulate them. Study and observe them and learn. Then duplicate what you admire in your own life.
24. List your successes. Go on, write them down — everything from being elected senior class president to being a good dancer. List out everything that comes to mind and that you feel a sense of pride about.
25. Drink more water. Increasing your water intake is a good habit. Staying hydrated cleanses your body of toxins and is key to feeling good physically.
26. Don’t argue. There is always a way out of an argument. You don’t have to participate. You can walk away or stay and listen without defending your position. It takes two people to create an argument.
27. Eat Vegetables. You don’t have to be a vegan or vegetarian to have a more plant-based diet. Increase your intake of fresh leafy green vegetables and watch the pounds fall off and your energy level rise.
28. Journal. Jot it down. This is a great place to get out your bottled up thoughts and worries. It’s also a great way to have creative ideas flow onto the page.
29. Be playful. Play is not just for children but an important part of happy living. Play a game, play with your pet, play a sport but overall be playful.
30. Be vulnerable. We think people will love us less if we share our weaknesses and flaws. The opposite is true. People will love you more and feel safer with you when you show your real self.
31. Laugh more. Watch a funny movie. Tell more jokes. Look for humor all around you. Try to make others laugh. Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s all small stuff.
If you find yourself in a loop of negative over-thinking, and if this has become a pattern for you, don’t allow it to spiral into an issue that impacts your self-esteem and happiness. Be mindful of breaking the pattern with one of the techniques listed above — or create your own loop-busting ideas that also foster positive feelings.
If you have any ideas, please share them in the comments below.
Please share this post with other happiness seekers!
photo credit: angelferd via photopin