8 Mindset Shifts To Stop Repetitive Destructive Thoughts

mindset shifts to stop repetitive destructive thoughts

It’s the same with your inner critic. The more attention you pay to this voice and indulge the thought, the louder it becomes. Have fun with it.

I’m not saying I don’t take it seriously but listening to this self-destructive voice is the difference between self-sabotage and self-leadership.

Choose the technique that works for you — the goal is to find your way to turning down the volume of the negative self-talk before it paralyses you to inaction, and worse, you begin to believe it’s true.

When you can interrupt the pattern and cut the thoughts off as you become aware of them, you will find they start to dissipate. Then you can tune into your inner cheerleader rather than your inner critic.

6. Create A Default Thought.

‘The first rule of your mind is, what you expect you realise, so expect amazing things.’ — Marisa Peer

Now that you have interrupted the pattern, you need to act quickly to move your thoughts to a more constructive place. The solution is to create a default thought which can be a word or a mental image.

For example, a client of mine is starting a new business in a different industry. When she sits down to work on the plan or do research, destructive thoughts show up. ‘Are you sure you can do this? You don’t know what you’re doing; this won’t work; you’re wasting your time.

Her default thought is an image of herself invoicing a new client for a large order. If you are scared of flying, you can close your eyes and imagine yourself safely at the destination, enjoying a beautiful meal.

Related: Why a Growth Mindset is Essential Throughout Life

A default thought is not lying to yourself; it gives your mind somewhere to focus that will serve you in the moment rather than sabotage you. By picturing these positive words and images, you reduce your cortisol levels and results in less stress and anxiety.

Fear and excitement create identical physiological reactions in your body. Think about two events in your life — perhaps a wedding day, graduating or landing an excellent position at work.

Thoughts Become Things. Change Your Focus. Change Your Life
8 Mindset Shifts To Stop Repetitive Destructive Thoughts

Now think about going on a massive roller coaster or doing a daunting presentation to many people. Both situations result in your hands sweating, your heart rate going up and butterflies in your stomach.

The reason the default thought works so well is that it provides a context for your brain. Your default thought can be, ‘I am excited to do this’. When I started mountain biking lessons with my coach, she would push me to do things I didn’t think I was ready for, like going down incredibly steep and narrow hills with rocks on either side.

She seemed to think I could manage, so I closed my eyes and told myself, ‘I am excited to ride down this hill’. Truthfully, I was petrified, but I couldn’t let the fear take over; more realistically, my ego didn’t want to let the fear win. The good news is I succeeded and rode the hill without falling!

A default thought is about providing an alternative focal point for your mind in the moment so make sure you have one ready, especially before a courageous conversation or a presentation or any situation where you know you will be triggered.

7. Do Not Believe Everything You Think.

Energy flows where awareness goes. Do you want to drain yourself and focus on the negative thoughts which have no truth whatsoever, or do you want to train your brain to break the pattern and focus on what will empower you and change your state?

ladder of leadership
8 Mindset Shifts To Stop Repetitive Destructive Thoughts

David Hawkins developed this levels of consciousness scale. It is also referred to as The Ladder of Leadership.

Imagine that this ladder is in your body. At the bottom of the ladder, you are driven by guilt, shame or fear. You will never do your best work at the bottom of the ladder because it is hard to see the possibilities available to you.

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Lori Milner

LORI MILNER is the engaging speaker, author, coach and trainer. She is passionate about empowering women and equipping diverse teams with the tools and skills to fulfil their potential in their careers and personal lives. Her full-service consultancy, Beyond the Dress (BTD), helps individuals to build harmony into their personal and professional lives. Lori’s expertise is self-leadership; her focus areas include smart time and goal management, stress management, inter-personal skills, personal branding, mental mastery and leadership – and the result is happier and more productive people. Lori is married and lives in Johannesburg, South Africa with her 2 children. Lori delivered a talk for TEDxLytteltonWomen in December 2018 on the topic of ‘How to Create Micro Wins’.View Author posts