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How I learned to positively channel my negative thoughts

Angela Ahbez-Anderson

It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is upon us! In a few short weeks, a new year will be born. Maybe it’s me, but doesn’t it seem like the years are getting shorter or that time is moving faster?

Anyway… this is the time of year that I like to do my yearly assessment. It’s my way of checking what goals I have achieved.

So, I’m flipping through my calendar and, atop each page, I see my handwritten note: Be productive — don’t waste today! I determined from my assessment that I had wasted many days. I did have a few extenuating circumstances that prevented me from achieving some of my goals. However, the fact of the matter was I believed I had more wasted days than productive ones.

Feeling defeated, I began to smell my stinking thinking and the stench was nauseating. My thoughts were talking to me, saying that once again I was a failure. I heard me saying that I should have, but that I will never be able to. Those negative self-talks kept playing over and over in my head. In an instant, I had become the judge and jury — and the verdict was guilty of failing to prosper.

Whoa, Angie! Stop and listen to what you are saying to yourself!

If you don’t turn the switch towards positive thinking, you are going to activate the “negative monster.” The negative monster is all-powerful, and if allowed to roam freely, it will gobble you up. Negative thinking starts with an activating event or trigger. The trigger leads to you having a thought about the event, which produces a feeling, then an emotion, which prompts your behavior.

What I have learned about me is I still have a negative mindset. It reared its ugly head while I was assessing my goals. It was necessary for me to slay this monster before it had taken a big bite. I refused to feed it with self-pity or self-defeating behaviors. I changed my perspective as I took another look at my calendar.

This time I saw that I had, in fact, accomplished many goals. In the past, I was apprehensive to attend networking events. I was overweight and didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin. This year, I made a point to attend business launch parties, networking events, book signings and meet-ups. I increased my visibility on social media, became a blogger for BlogHer and SheKnows Experts. I was elected to a seat on the board of education, wrote a grant and it was funded. I have been hired as a consultant, and I have a new location for my public speaking business!

Just writing about my accomplishments makes me smile and tap dance around my living room. I feel awesome about me! Why? Look what I have accomplished! I did it!

You see, this is what positive thinking does for the spirit. It builds your confidence, raises your self-esteem and releases your creative energies. Sometimes you have to be your own positive cheerleader, brag about you and shout it from the rooftops. This is what I have done, and I say, “Go Team Angie!”

How did I decide not to feed my negative monster? First, I had to acknowledge the monster’s existence. You can’t change what you fail to recognize. I started keeping a journal to write down my triggers, my thoughts and the feelings associated with it. Journaling can be great because it increases your self-awareness.

Realize that it begins and ends with you building a positive fortress that does not allow negativity. There will be those times that negative triggers, such as toxic people, invade your home, office or even while you’re shopping. You have to establish boundaries and not allow them to steal your joy. Make sure that you surround yourself with people who are living on purpose, have connected with their passion, have a spirit of gratitude and believe in giving back to their community. When the negative monster attacks, you can turn to them, and they can support and encourage you. Just as a party pooper can rain on your parade, positive people bring sunshine on a cloudy day.

Create a plan to take care of you. It should include healthy eating, exercise and healthy relationships. Remember you have a choice to live with a positive or negative mindset. I choose positivity, and to maintain it, I wear my headsets when I’m out. I enjoy my music — it brings me peace and pleasure and it keeps the negative monsters away. If I forget my headset, I quietly hum a favorite tune. You have to find your little space here on this earth and make it your private heaven. You then can choose who enters your pearly gates.

Thank you for reading my post, I wish you a positive holiday season!

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