If you find yourself frequently thinking negative thoughts, or engaging in negative “what if” scenarios—I call them Negative Hypotheticals—it may be helpful to try using positive mantras as a means of interrupting and reframing those thoughts. A positive mantra is simply a positive phrase or affirmation that you repeat to yourself, either out loud or silently in your mind. The purpose of a positive mantra is to help you focus on the positive and to counterbalance any negative thoughts that might be swirling around in your head.
Beware of Negative Hypotheticals
A negative hypothetical is a situation in which you imagine the worst possible outcome. This type of thinking typically results in feelings of fear and anxiety and can be very damaging to our mental and emotional health. When we entertain negative hypotheticals, we are essentially rehearsing for disaster. We are training our minds to look for the things that could go wrong, and this can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we believe that something bad is going to happen, we will act in a way that makes it more likely to happen. Negative hypotheticals can be very harmful because they:
- Keep us from taking action. When we focus on the worst possible outcome, we often become frozen with fear and are unable to take action. This can prevent us from reaching our goals and achieving our full potential.
- Distort our perception of reality. When we imagine the worst-case scenario, it can become hard to see the situation. We may start to believe that the negative outcome is inevitable, even if it isn’t.
- Make us feel bad. Focusing on the worst possible outcome can result in feelings of anxiety and despair. This can adversely affect our mental and emotional health, and make it difficult to enjoy life.
- Lead to self-fulfilling prophecies. If we believe that something bad is going to happen, we will act in a way that makes it more likely to happen. This creates a negative feedback loop that reinforces our beliefs and makes the outcome more likely to occur.
Negative hypotheticals are especially harmful when they involve our goals and dreams. When we focus on the worst possible outcome, we may become so discouraged that we give up on our goals altogether. It’s important to remember that just because something could go wrong, doesn’t mean it will. Most of the time, things work out fine—even when we can’t see how they will at first.
Creating a Positive Mantra
A positive mantra is a short, positive phrase that you can repeat to yourself to help you stay focused and motivated. Mantras can be anything from a simple declaration of your commitment to a goal to a reminder of your strengths and abilities. The key is to choose something that feels authentic and personal to you. Here are a few examples of positive mantras:
- I can do this.
- I am strong.
- I am capable.
- I am worthy.
- I am enough.
- I am loved.
- I matter.
And, of course, my favorite: I AM UNSTOPPABLE!
Creating your positive mantra is a simple but powerful way to change your mindset and improve your mood. When you repeat your mantra to yourself, it can help to shift your thinking from negative and self-doubtful thoughts to positive and empowered ones. Mantras can be used in any situation where you need a boost of confidence or motivation. Try it out for yourself:
- Think about an area of your life where you could use some more confidence or motivation. Perhaps you’re feeling undervalued at work, or your dating life is looking bleak, or you can’t seem to work up the energy to start that new hobby or passion project that’s been on your radar for a while.
- Come up with a short, positive phrase that encapsulates how you want to feel about yourself in this area. Something like: “I am talented.” “I am worthy of healthy love.” “I can do anything I put my mind to.”
- Write your mantra down, and keep it somewhere where you can see it and refer to it often. Perhaps on a Post-It note on your desk at work, your bathroom mirror, or the inside of your closet door.
- Whenever you need a boost of confidence or motivation, repeat your mantra to yourself.
- With practice, your mantra will become more and more powerful, and you’ll notice a difference in how you feel about yourself and your ability to achieve your goals.
Negative hypotheticals can be very harmful because they distort our perception of reality, make us feel bad, and lead to self-fulfilling prophecies. A positive mantra is a short, positive phrase that you can repeat to yourself to help you stay focused and motivated. Creating your positive mantra is a simple but powerful way to change your mindset and improve your mood. Try it out for yourself today!
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