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Try These 11 Coach-Recommended Strategies To Break Your Negative Thought Patterns

Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council

Forbes Source:

When things aren’t going your way, it’s easy to start blaming yourself and listening to the negative thoughts that pop into your head. Unfortunately, these thoughts often begin to feed on themselves, eventually taking over and distorting your perspective.

When you’re trapped in a cycle of negative thinking, you may lack the clarity to see the solution to your problems. As a business leader, this can be especially detrimental. Below, the experts of Forbes Coaches Council share their best tips to help you break through negative thought patterns and get back on track to success.

Members of Forbes Coaches Council offer tips they've shared with clients to help them get out of negative thought patterns.

1. Ask Yourself Questions To Reframe The Situation

The best way to tame the negativity bias, after being aware you are in the negative thinking mode, is to keep asking yourself reframing questions, such as, “What are the three worst things that could have happened, but didn’t?” and, “How would [someone you admire] see this, and what would they do about it?” Make sure you write down your answers or talk to someone who is listening and unbiased. - Amy Nguyen, Happiness Infinity LLC

2. ‘Cut’ The Scene

The No. 1 tip to stop a negative thought pattern is to imagine you are the director of the movie of your own life and yell, “Cut!” You are the thinker thinking the thoughts. Your thoughts are not in control when you direct your own movie. You can always recast the other actors and change location in your life—just like in a movie. - John Livesay, The Pitch Whisperer

3. Ask Yourself If Your Thoughts Are Really True

Negative thoughts can be a self-fulfilling cycle. One negative thought leads to another and another until it seems your whole world may collapse. To break the pattern, I encourage people to ask a simple question: Is that really true? Often, facts just don’t support the perception. The answer is typically, “Well … not exactly, but …” and all of a sudden, we’re looking at solutions, not problems. - Kathleen Woodhouse, Nova Leadership

4. Know Your ABCs Of CBT

In The Optimistic Child, Dr. Martin Seligman shares a great cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) method developed by Albert Ellis known as “ABCDE.” A is adversity, B is beliefs, C is consequences, D is dispute and E is effects. The idea is that we have automatic negative thoughts, and unless we dispute those negative beliefs through ABCDE, we prophesy our demise. - Jacob M. Engel, Yeda LLC

5. Understand The Impact Your Negative State Has On Others

You have control over changing your view, your outlook, your environment and your feelings toward your energy drainers. You have to imagine what it’s like to experience you when you’re in a negative or stressful state. Realize your victim state is impacting other people’s perception of you. Commit to changing it. Take baby steps—change your attitude first before all else. - Joanne Markow, GreenMason

6. Generate Hope

Generate a gratitude list of no fewer than three things you’re grateful for in your life. They can be big (my health) or small (this coffee). If a specific issue has you down, identify three hopeful ways to view the situation. If someone cuts you off in traffic, maybe they’re rushing to an emergency, preoccupied with a tragedy or just learning to drive. - Jennifer Wilson, ConvergenceCoaching, LLC

7. Exercise

Go move your body! Exercise is a great way to shift your negativity and provide more innovative solutions on the other side. It automatically floods your system with “feel-goods” such as dopamine and endorphins. Post workout, try the Socratic method—question, question, question while visualizing being up in a balcony. This can provide just the perspective for transformation! - Bree Luther, Inspired Science Coaching, LLC

8. Anchor Yourself With One Positive Thought

The average person can have tens of thousands of thoughts per day, with many of those thoughts being negative. In order to combat this, I have coached my clients to create one positive thought that will anchor them when the negativity sets in. This thought allows them the opportunity to breathe, recenter and shift their mindset quickly. - Jon Dwoskin, The Jon Dwoskin Experience

9. Try Making Someone Else’s Day Great

When a client has a hard time with positive thought patterns, I advise them to make someone else’s day great. When we can turn our attention to how others are doing, we get out of our own head, make others’ days better and boost our own mood. It’s amazing how quickly and effectively it works—give it a try! - Dr. Rachel MK Headley, Rose Group Int’l LLC

10. Ask Yourself, ‘What Would It Take?’

If you find yourself overrun with negative thoughts, shift the game by asking a question framed in a simple manner: “What would it take to … ?” What would it take to hit my bonus this quarter? What would it take to train for the half-marathon in June? What would it take to hire two new teammates for our department? Your brain has to shift focus to the positive when you ask a great question. - John Hittler, Evoking Genius

11. Think The Opposite

Negative thoughts can result in a downward spiral. We can end up seeing the worst in situations, and if negativity gathers pace, we can lose perspective, clarity and confidence. To stop negative thought patterns, I encourage my clients to think the opposite. What other outcomes could there be? What else could happen? I help them to shift their perspectives and open their minds to other possibilities. - Karen Kissane, Karen Kissane Coaching. The Smart Woman’s Business Hub.

Article: ©2019 Forbes Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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