Recently we posted a question in a Linkedin group – “When you find yourself in a wave of negative thought, how do you shift back to positive thinking?”  It struck a chord and several people responded with some great ideas.

Isn’t this the underlying quest for many of us – keeping our thoughts, which drive our actions and behaviors, on a more effective, more positive level?  With this in mind, below are many different methods others use to sustain positive thinking.

The first step is to have a strategy in mind ahead of time.  When you realize your thoughts and actions are negative (ineffective), what are the tools or actions you will immediately use to shift your thinking?

You have the power to choose your thoughts.  The more you use this power of choice, you can rewire the way your brain thinks – permanently.  Neuroscience has established that you can create new neural pathways in your brain.  Do you choose to trod down that well worn, energy draining pathway you have already created, or do you use your power of choice to create a new, higher energy highway.  It only takes 90 to 120 days of following a daily, shift your thoughts strategy to develop this new super highway.  Here are some great ideas you can incorporate:

Make a list of “to-do” items to follow when you fight the depression – inclusions for the list include: call my spouse and talk, run, workout, play tennis, take photos, paint, listen to comedians on YouTube, smile, take a hot bath, listen to music, get into the sunlight, do deep breathing, focus on the present moment, be of service to someone.

Realize quickly when you are beginning on a negative track before it fully takes over; then notice if it’s a negative recording from the past – create a new positive recording. Recognize the negative thoughts and reframe to positive; create affirmations.

Get moving – hike, yoga, dance; reading, meditation, exercise and going to church. Read an uplifting book. Definitely do not watch the news.  Take a deep cleansing breath and exhale, release and let go

Act your way into right thinking, don’t think your way into acting; Stay focused on the tasks at hand and know if you keep moving your energy will return.  Positive actions will bring your thoughts with them.  Do something out of the ordinary; gives you a new focus.

Embrace all the successes of the day – applaud even the simple ones throughout your day.  Keep a gratitude journal that acknowledges all the positive things in your life. Give and feel gratitude for all the wonderful things around you

Surround yourself with family and friends that positively recognize you and the good you bring to them.

Keep a journal of inspirational quotes; during the down moments find more quotes to add to the journal. Listen to uplifting people; watch positive videos.  Subscribe to a free email service that sends inspirational sayings.  Turn on Pandora and skip all the way to the store – observe how others look at you.  Laughter will break the blahs – read joke books.