According to the National Science Foundation, the average person has anywhere from 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive thoughts.
Is it any wonder we don’t feel our best some days?
Let’s say you receive an unexpected envelope in the mail from your health insurance company. Is your first thought negative or neutral?
Most people’s brains are predicting a negative outcome before we even know the details which then creates imaginary drama. Since 85%-90% of things we predict never actually come true, why are we worrying or going straight to negative thoughts?
According to Prof. Marty Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology, we can use the D&E method to rewire the way we think:
D=Dispute and challenge our negative and irrational beliefs, remembering the percentages above or just suggesting to ourselves to suspend all judgment and remain neutral until after you have all the facts.
E=Effecting new beliefs to replace irrational ones. Even just shining a light on the negative thoughts will help them fade away.
It sounds simple, but changing our thought process takes practice! Lao Tzu said, “Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”
Each time you react in a negative way, stop and rethink the thought in a neutral way. It’s like working out and training your muscles. Over time, you’ll get better at defaulting to neutral responses…and what better time to start than now?