3 Ways To Transform Negative Energy into Positive Thinking
This article first appeared on Backstage.com
Negative thinking is a habit of the mind. In fact, thinking negatively is easy to do. Take a moment and count the amount of times you have received negative feedback, either professionally or personally. You can probably count the negatives on one or both of your hands. Now, take a moment and try to remember all the positive feedback you’ve gotten. You can’t think of as many, can you?
For some reason, our brains love to remember negative feedback because it validates our negative thoughts. It stems from a primal need to keep ourselves safe and be on guard for potential danger. If there is no danger, our mind tends to create one. But, the same mechanism that kept us safe from saber-toothed tiger attacks, we use to process criticism from our bosses or family members.
The dangers have changed, but the stakes are just as high in our minds. This is why it is so much easier to reminder the times we've been cut down than praised by our peers, and often by our own self talk.
Usually these thoughts love to show up when we are about to go after something we really want. In the waiting room of an audition, right before a date, or an important meeting - you start to hear those thoughts coming in like a tidal wave.
Quite often, our response is to suppress these positive energy suckers. “Go away, I am amazing! Leave me alone!” However, pushing away these thoughts only makes them stronger. What you resist, persists. Trying to ignore our negative thoughts or push them away only makes them backfire.
The best response you can have is to embrace these thoughts. Listen to the thoughts. What are they saying to you? These thoughts are trying to protect you because you are going into dangerous territory. The following are some ways to take your negativity and turn it into good.
- Start with gratitude. Scientists have done studies that show that gratitude and fear cannot exist at the same time. My favorite acronym for F.E.A.R. is False Evidence Appearing Real. When you start to focus on gratitude, you start to focus on what is real an in front of you. I can often be found in an audition waiting room making a list of things I’m grateful for. Right now, I’m grateful to be writing this article in my Broadway dressing room, drinking delicious coffee, with the delicious feeling of my Burt’s Bees lip balm. What are you grateful for?
- Use mantras. Listen to those negative thoughts, embrace them. What are they saying to you? The most common negative thought I hear is, “You’ll embarrass yourself, and people won’t like you.” How scary is that? If you really boil that negative thought down, it’s telling me, “No one will like you and you will be alone.” So take that negative thought, listen to it, and thank it for trying to protect you from being alone in the world. Then reverse it into a mantra, “I’m loved, loving, and lovable.” “I am uniquely valuable to everyone.” Then write that mantra over and over again until you start to believe it.
- Meditation. Too often our negativity consumes us during the stresses of our day. Let’s face it, commuting through New York City to a cattle call can release a lot of negative energy, and we pick up the energy around us. Find a way of centering as a calm in the storm. The Deepak and Oprah 21 Day Meditation Experience is a great, free, beginner way to start meditating.
Also, look at Ziva Meditation, and Center of the Cyclone for deeper meditation trainings.
So, moving forward let’s learn to embrace the negativity in our lives and in our thoughts. Everyone is doing the best they can in this moment. Take a moment and give yourself some credit. Remind yourself that no matter what, there isn’t a saber-toothed tiger out to get you, and everything will work itself out in the end.
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