Today’s music streaming solutions make it easy to add a new playlist to your repertoire. Whether it’s for a morning workout or wind-down time in the evening, there’s no shortage of music to fit your moods. But if you rely only on your own music tastes, you may never branch out and listen to anything different. You can easily get out of a rut by finding new playlists that other people curate.
Our minds also get in ruts, often filled with negative thoughts. Play, repeat, shuffle – it’s time for a new mental playlist. It’s been over 14 years since the National Science Foundation published an article regarding research about daily human thoughts. That research showed the average person has up to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are exactly the same thoughts as the day before. That means of the 60,000 thoughts you will have today, 57,000 of them will be the same thoughts you had yesterday. That’s a lot of mental noise!
That negative thinking isn’t doing us any good – it’s consistently linked to an increased risk of mental health problems, physical health issues, relationship problems and financial trouble. Research has linked anxiety, depression, sleep disorder, hostility, high blood pressure, heart disease and lifestyle or behavior choices that can be damaging to your overall health and well-being to pessimism.
Another interesting study by Cornell University, also in 2005, showed much of what we worry about never actually happens. In fact, 85% is completely fabricated in our minds. And with the 15% of worries that did actually happen, 79% of the subjects discovered that either they handled the difficulty better than expected or that it taught them a valuable lesson. That means 97% of our worries are baseless.
The good news is that everyone can learn how to switch their negative thinking. You simply need a new playlist to overcome those negative thoughts.
How do we Manage our Mind?
Your thoughts are responsible for:
- How you feel about yourself,
- How others experience you,
- What’s possible and what’s not possible for you, and
- How you show up in the world.
These thoughts are responsible for developing your moods, which in turn affect your behaviors, which influence your results.
It also works reversely. In order to get the results you want, you must do the behaviors and alter your moods and thoughts to support those behaviors. If you can identify the thought process that develops your moods, you can create a new playlist for your mind. We call this radical accountability which means taking ownership of and responsibility for your thoughts, your moods, your behaviors and your results.
How to Create a new Playlist
- Understand your brain and how change happens.
- Learn how awareness (attentional focus) and engagement (repetition) change the brain.
- Learn mindset strategies for success.
It’s no surprise people know they perform best when they are feeling positive. What they find surprising is that they’re not able to perform well or to lead effectively when they are feeling any other way. This happens all day, every day. We’re faced with demands and challenges which move us into a negative state of mind. We become irritable, impatient, anxious or insecure. These thoughts drain your energy and negatively affect your relationships, both professionally and personally. Negativity gets in the way of thinking clearly, logically and reflectively.
Once you recognize what is triggering your negative emotions, you have the ability to take control of your reactions. Consider that you are telling yourself a story. By changing that story about an event in your life, you give yourself an actual choice about how you view that event and recognize the power of that story to influence the emotions that you feel. We all want to tell hopeful, inspiring and empowering stories, so instead of feeling like a victim in a situation, change your perspective.
In the Harvard Business Review’s Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time, three different lenses are presented in which you can view the world.
- Adopt a “reverse lens” to ask, “What would the other person in this conflict say, and how might he be right?”
- Use a “long lens to ask, “How will I likely view this situation in six months?”
- Employ a “wide lens” to ask, “How can I grow and learn from this situation?”
By looking at a situation through these different lenses, you can expand your playlist to cultivate more positive thoughts.
It’s Time to Reframe
We talk about “reframing” a lot in our MindMastery™ Leadership Workshop. This process is about examining your thoughts and expressing them differently. Once you become aware of a thought, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the dominant thought that you are struggling with?
- Is this thought really true?
- What is the benefit of keeping this thought?
- How can you reframe this thought to take you to a higher level of performance?
Once you can identify the source of the negative thought and change your “lens” or perspective so that you can turn that thought into a teaching moment for yourself or even better, a positive outcome, you can start to change the behaviors and therefore impact your results. The more you practice new ways of thinking and acting, the more easily they become integrated as a habit.
You may surprise yourself with how much control you can have over your thought processes and your ability to control your emotional responses, even if they number 60,000 a day. Stop the play, repeat, shuffle process and create a new playlist!
We teach you the skills you need to develop a new playlist for your mind in our Accountability Mirror and MindMastery Leadership Workshops. These sessions will help you explore the ways you might be standing in your own way, train you to break nonproductive patterns and facilitate success. In just two days, you’ll experience game-changing transformation.
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