Everyone has negative thoughts from time to time but it’s when you identify with those thoughts that problems can occur. I am generally a positive person who can see opportunities in even the most undesirable situations. However, I have recently been struggling to overcome the identification with constant negative thoughts. This is rather unusual for me and it is the main reason I am Crazy Lisa at the moment. Negativity + Lisa = Crazy.
I recently realised that what I have been feeling is as though there are two people inside my head fighting each other. The Negative fighting the Positive. Come on, Positive! So, it was quite serendipitous for me to discover a comic about this internal fight by Zen Pencils called The Two Wolves. The comic describes exactly what I have been going through and it offers the most simple solution! It describes the struggle within as a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf is evil and represents negative attributes such as anger, resentment, self pity and inferiority. The other wolf is good and represents positive attributes such as joy, peace, love, kindness and truth. In the end, the wolf that wins the fight is “the one you feed”. Of course, this solution seems so obvious but goddamn it can be hard to feed the Good Wolf!
After reading the comic, I thought about practical ways to feed my Good Wolf and I immediately thought of positive reframing. This involves changing the way you view situations, events and concepts with an emphasis on positivity. A study conducted by the University of Kent has revealed that the most effective methods to cope with failures are positive reframing (thinking about the achievements rather than the failures in the situation), acceptance (accepting rather than resisting what happened) and humour (laughing about the situation, if possible). You can access the full study here or read a brief summary by Science Daily here.
Another great resource I found is zonepositive.com which has a page dedicated to Positive Exercises that are aimed at reducing stress, dealing with negative beliefs, positive reframing and more. I found the exercise called Avoiding the Sinkholes very helpful and practical. It is an exercise designed to challenge negative thoughts and turn them into positive thoughts and behaviours. Exactly what I need! Hurrah!
All of the abovementioned information reminded me how simple (not necessarily easy!) it is to change your view of your circumstances. You have a choice. You can continue with the internal struggle, you can feed the Evil Wolf or you can starve it so that only the Good Wolf prevails.
Do you have any suggestions on how to deal with negative thoughts? Feel free to share it in the comments section below :-)
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