Choose Your Thoughts
Another strategy I have used for positive change is choosing my thoughts.
What was your first waking thought today? Some days we wake up ready to take charge of the day, but we have all been there on days where we would love to simply pull the covers back over our heads when we hear the morning alarm.
What were your main thoughts over the last 24 hours? Were they thoughts of hope, love, thankfulness, or worry, fear, and escape? Our thoughts can become our reality so it is important that we monitor our thoughts to make sure they are positive ones.
One of the thoughts I have had to work hard on is worry. A favorite author, Dale Carnegie tells us in his book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, that worry destroys our ability to concentrate.
We certainly have many things in our personal and business lives that can bring us concern, but there is a difference between concern and worry:
- Concern means realizing what the problems are and calmly taking steps to meet them.
- Worry means going around in maddening, futile circles.
Haven’t we all been there where we find a situation truly has us running in circles? When this happens we are ineffective for those who need us like our business teams, our spouses, children, or friends.
One practice I have used to help me conquer worry and other negative thoughts in my own life is to listen to my body and recognize the symptoms when I am allowing worry to take over. I know I am in trouble when I begin to obsess about a particular business problem or personal issue. When this happens to me I examine what specifically it is that I am worrying about, and write it down. It seems simple, but just the act of putting it on paper begins to ease the anxiety, and I can think more clearly. Once I have identified the issue, then I write down what I can do about it. Though there may be some things I cannot change, there is always some step that can be taken to move the situation in a positive direction. So, after preparing the various alternatives, I carefully make a decision on a plan of action, and immediately begin to carry it out.
When has worry changed an outcome? The act of writing down my worries and then choosing to do something about them has helped break me free of the paralyzing effect that uncontrolled worry can have.
Let’s choose our thoughts carefully and make today a great day.
“Life consists of what a man is thinking of all day.” Ralph Waldo Emerson