Sat, 25 April 2015
Our thoughts are critical.
“If you realised just how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” - Peace Pilgrim
The wrong types of thought, the negative thoughts that often come to mind throughout our day, can make you feel bad and stop you achieving our best.
So today we’re thinking about NATS.
And we don’t mean those pesky little insects that buzz around you and over your head when you’re enjoying a warm summer’s evening walk or drink outside the pub.
We’re talking Negative Affirming Thoughts (NATs for short).
And if you’re not recognising them, then they might just be preventing you living your fullest life now and getting in the way of you achieving your goals or making the changes you want in your life.
“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.” - Eckhart Tolle
So today we want to look at the different varieties, or maybe we should say ‘species’ of NATs out there.
Because if you’re aware of them you’re more likely to recognise them and do something about them when you notice yourself thinking them. And sometimes just catching out that thought is enough to dissipate it or stop its influence on your behaviour.
Why are these thoughts affirming?
You probable think of affirmations as something positive (like those we’ve talked about before) but affirmation just means affirming something, or making it firm, and this can be in a negative way just as much as in a positive way.
So with negative thoughts the danger is that you constantly reaffirm or reinforce them until they become the way you think and then get in the way of you doing what you want to do.
In his book, Change your Brain, Change your Body Dr Daniel G. Amen puts forward 9 types of negative thought (that he calls ANTs – automatic negative thoughts).
David Burns, in , outlines 10 common mistakes in thinking, or thinking errors he calls cognitive distortions.
NLP has a similar concept so we decided to roll them all into one bundle and somehow we’ve ended up with 11!
So here’s all 11, how you can spot them and then swat the little beggars!
So go on, see if you’re thinking these thoughts and learn how to stop them before they take a hold (you know you want to!)
The 11 Negative Thoughts
1. All or nothing thoughts
Recognise, one slip up doesn’t mean you’ve given up; it means just that – you’ve had one slip up.
2. ‘Always’ thinking – overgeneralization
Ask yourself. Does this always happen, every single time? Really? If not then recognise you’re overgeneralizing. Say to yourself – just because one event happened, doesn’t necessarily mean I am permanently this way of being.
3. Focussing on the negative
Learn to look for the silver lining in every cloud and count your positives rather than your negatives – in other words look for the positives in situations.
4. Thinking with your feelings or emotional reasoning
This species of NAT mixes up and confuses feelings and facts – which leads you to make decisions based on how you feel rather than objective reality.
Look for evidence to see if it’s really true. If you feel you’re never going to get a grip with your bad back, then book an appointment with you doctor or physio to see if there’s anything that can be done about it.
5. Disqualifying the Positive
This involves always shooting down good or positive experiences for no real reason – so you can keep a negative belief even though the evidence points to the opposite. It’s as if the good stuff doesn’t count because everything else is bad about your life.
Swatting those NATs:
Think about what does count and why.
Learn to accept compliments by just saying ‘thank you’ (so when someone compliments you on your new shoes just say thanks instead of – well they were only cheap, or I got them in the sale)
Or try bigging yourself up – or bolster your view of yourself by listing your good qualities, skills and accomplishments.
6. The Guilt Trip or ‘should-ing’
Try asking yourself questions like - what is stopping me doing this, or what rule says I should, or simply ask ‘why should I?’ Another technique is to use ‘could’ instead of ‘should’.
7. Labelling and mislabelling
There’s an error in logic going on here, where you make a leap from a behaviour or action to an identity, so the identity is determined by the behaviour.
Ok, so you may not be very good at maths at the moment, but you can’t just give up before you’ve even tried. That’s just defeatist. You didn’t say when you were a child “I tried walking once and I was useless at it.” You didn’t, did you? OMG!
8. Magnification and Minimisation
This is where you magnify or exaggerate the negatives and minimise or understate the positives – people often do this to themselves.
I can also be where you catastrophise – or jump ahead to the worst possible outcome, expecting the worst case scenario to actually happen. Or thinking that a situation is unbearable when it’s just unpleasant; like when you think ‘I can’t stand this.’
Swatting those NATs:
Ask yourself what would happen if you did stand this.
Examine exactly how something is so bad – and compared to what.
9. Fortune telling – jumping to conclusions
Talk back to those thoughts. Ask how you know it will turn out this way. Say - Ah, that’s fortune telling thinking – and tell yourself it doesn’t always have to end that way.
Another form that jumping to conclusions takes is when you think you know what someone else is thinking even though they haven’t told you.
And how about letting go of a need for approval because you can’t please everyone all the time. As to thinking about you, the truth is most people are too busy thinking about themselves to think about you.
Blaming others for your own problems and not taking responsibility for your actions is toxic and disempowering.
When you find yourself blaming yourself ask how much of this problem is really your responsibility.
And quit blaming others and take responsibility for your actions. If you are smoking, it’s because you choose to and equally, you can choose to quit! Empowering, isn’t it?
Remember, recognising negative affirming thought patterns is the first step in learning to change them.
Changeability Podcast – Episode 39
Resources and links mentioned in Episode 39
Sat, 18 April 2015
What are the ingredients for a fulfilled life, how can you get them and what gets you going in the morning?
Just some of the massive questions we’re discussing with Gary Ware from Breakthrough Cocktail.com on today’s episode of the Changeability Podcast.
We’re delighted to welcome back Gary to talk about these massive questions and more and to share with us an exciting online event he’s organising - The Elixir of Life Summit. And you don’t get a better name than that for an event – after all who wouldn’t want the elixir of life?
Before we get to that, Gary tells us the story of his self-development journey and how he came to be putting on this event. From feeling unfulfilled and lacking a sense of purpose to being fired up by a huge goal much bigger than himself.
One of the defining activities in this journey for Gary and many others has been the introduction of a specific morning routine.
This is a routine of morning rituals which work together to perfectly set your intentions for the day. Gary shares how he went from everyday being a scramble to get to work and get things done to a changed perspective and way of doing things. He even looks forward to jumping out of bed at 5.30 every morning.
We talk through the steps of this morning routine and if you’re a regular listener to the Changeability Podcast or you’ve read the Changeability: Manage your Mind – Change your Life book – you will recognise most of them.
It’s great to hear how Gary does them everyday and how he fits it in with his busy schedule. And if you’re thinking you’re a night person or you could never do all this in the morning Gary shows you how you can get it done in as little as 6 minutes if you need to, but assures us we’ll love it so much we’ll want to get up earlier to do it more, and never hit that snooze button.
You will also hear about this amazing online summit Gary’s put together to help people feel better, get unstuck, be happier. Listen to the episode for the detail but here are a few key points about it.
The Elixir of Life Summit – Ingredients for a fulfilled life
It’s an online event so everyone can attend – 27th April to 1st May
It’s a great opportunity to get into the detail of each of the ingredients for a fulfilled life including, health, wealth, mindset, personal branding, productivity, living life on purpose, goal setting, mindfulness, improv and more...
23 (in the words of Gary) ‘awesome people’ presenting the sessions – we couldn’t possible comment as we’re one of them.
Free to watch in real time.
All profits from the sale of all access passes (after the event and with bonuses) going to Pencils of Promise to build a school in Guatemala.
Sign up here
Resources and links mentioned in episode ?
Sat, 11 April 2015
What have self-development and improv got in common – well quite a lot it turns out, according to our guest in today’s episode of the Changeability Podcast - Gary Ware.
Gary is a breakthrough mixologist! (Listen to find out what that means!)
By day a digital marketer, by night a comedian specialising in improv comedy.
At the end of a busy day, he also has his own website BreakthroughCocktail.com and a podcast of the same name helping ambitious professionals live up to their full awesomeness potential.
We talk to Gary about how he got to this point and why he took up improvisation, what he’s learnt from it. How it helps him in his work and life, and what we can learn from it too – even if you don’t want to get up on stage and try it out for yourself.
There’s lots of gems in here but a couple that really resonated with us were:
Say yes – even when out of your comfort zone. But don’t stop there and don’t say “yes but…”, say “yes and…” Gary explains what this means most eloquently.
Our perception is failing equals bad – but we can learn more from our failures than our successes. How we perceive and interpret failure is all down to our mindset and what we look for. And Gary’s looking for fun. We’re working on this!
“You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” Steve Jobs
In episode 37 we find out:
Resources links mentioned in this episode
Find our more about Gary or contact him at:
If you enjoyed this episode tweet Gary a tweet to let him know @GaryWare
Sat, 4 April 2015
We often look to the future to make us happier. We think about the changes we want and that somehow we’ll be happier once they’re in place. Or we think we want more of something to make us happy, more money, more cars, more holidays, more tech.
It might seem counter-intuitive but studies indicate that in reality these aren’t the things that make us happy.
It doesn’t mean we don’t want to change or improve things in our lives, or indeed have more – but that those things alone are unlikely to increase our happiness and fulfilment, if we’re not happy now.
They may give us a temporary lift but all too soon it becomes the norm and we’re looking for the next thing, when we might be better finding ways to bring more joy, time and experiences into our lives.
Gratitude and appreciation can help us do this by focusing on what we have rather than what we want.
We can train our brains to look for the positive and the good and what we appreciate and are thankful for, and as we seek it out we will find more.
Research indicates that one of the best ways to be happier right now, in the only time we know we have, is by practicing gratitude – or appreciation.
But how to do it?
Here are 15 ways to practice the art of appreciation.
Choose those what appeals, try it out, pick and mix:
Changeability Podcast CA36
You’ll find all of this and more in episode 36 of the Changeability Podcast, including:
Links and resources