How to Break a Negative Thought Pattern

The power button on my flat screen monitor broke yesterday.

  • My first thought was – How stupid, a little #%#@! plastic button has ruined my monitor.
  • My second thought was – I am such an idiot. I know better than to keep turning the monitor on and off. I know I should leave my monitor on. I know the most common problem with a monitor is the power button. I work in IT for crying out loud.
  • My third thought was – What kind of manufacturer makes junk like this? They should be ashamed to make this garbage.
  • My fourth thought was – I bet Chris (my wife) screwed up the power button. If she was more careful this crap wouldn’t happen.
  • After learning the monitor was just days out of warranty, I thought – Jerks, I bet they built it so it breaks after a year, then they can sell me a new one.
  • My last negative thought was – Why do I buy all this stuff? It all breaks anyway. I’m a slave to my stuff. I should sell it all and go live in a tee-pee.

You can see where this was going. My first thought attracted similar thoughts – all negative. My thoughts were not leading me to a solution, they were leading me away from one. So how did I break the spiral?

  1. The first step (also the hardest step when you are caught up in the emotion of the moment) is to identify that you are in a negative thought spiral. My first clue I was in a negative thought spiral was my use of profanities and words like idiot, stupid, jerks, and disgusting. My second clue was I was blaming. Name calling and blame never lead to a solution. I consciously thought – I have identified I am in a negative thought spiral and I need to break it.
  2. I Interrupted my negative thought spiral by consciously forcing a positive thought into my mind. Any positive thought would work. I looked around the room for something positive, saw my son and thought – I love you. Then I said it out loud.
  3. I took a deep breath and waited for more positive thoughts so I could build a positive thought pattern. I expected more positive thoughts. The next one came – Those area rugs make this room look great. That one wasn’t forced – it floated up from my sub-conscious. More and more positive thoughts followed.
  4. Once I felt I had established a positive thought pattern, I focused back on the monitor – my problem at hand.

My sub-conscious handed me these thoughts about the monitor:

  • A monitor isn’t that important. Don’t fret. It’ll be fine
  • Get the old monitor you have in the basement and use it until the broken one is fixed
  • Bring the broken one to work tomorrow and ask your hardware savvy friends if they have any idea how to fix it

Today I fixed the monitor with help from my smart friends.

19 thoughts on “How to Break a Negative Thought Pattern”

  1. I don’t understand what’s wrong with negative thinking. Some things really suck and should treated or thought of as such.

  2. I agree, somethings do suck, like War, Rape, Murder, Cancer, etc. But sitting around thinking about how bad they suck and who’s to blame doesn’t do you or anyone else any good. Positive thoughts about how to end a war, prevent rape, reduce murder, or curing cancer, are productive. Simply thinking about how bad they suck is a waste of time and energy. And believe it or not, as awful as all these things are, there are things we can learn because they exist. Pretending they don’t exist is denial, dwelling on them is depression.

  3. The tendency to react to any given situation by internalizing it and considering it from a ‘how does this effect me’ or a ‘how do I feel about this’, perspective is a popular trait of our western society. Approaching most any topic from this angle is counter productive. As it does little to promote understanding of why an event occurred, what conditions brought a situation into existence. In a word it is ‘reactionary’ and only serves to delay and exacerbate, rather than understand core cause(s). All things have a cause and and effect. If both are understood, the underlying reasons become apparent.

    Granted, when seemingly caught at the center of a storm, it is difficult to discern the shortest path to calmness. Without logic and reason one is akin to flotsam or jetsam tossed about by the whim of the waves.

    Approaching anything from a viewpoint of ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ does so with a childlike understanding and can not be considered rational, thoughtful or interesting with devising a solution.

  4. I believe that what we think is what we get. Change your thoughts and any thing is possible. It’s the law of attraction. If we think negatively we attract more negativity. If we think happy, positive, life-affirming thoughts, dream of what we want, we will attract them to us too. 🙂

  5. Great post!
    kudo’s to you!
    I love how you showed the normal what most of us do! blame others,, name calling,,
    and your right! you put this into words that just make it easy to understand!
    I did this well in the summer time very simular to this at least!
    and people where asking me why i don’t want to stay negivtive for lack of words!
    I just say i don’t want that neggo stuff attracked to me!
    ever sence i have been positive even on crappy days! they always turn out good anyway!
    the more positive we are the more good comes our way!
    so i’m not saying ignore the neggo
    accept the thought but move on redirect that thought to be positive!
    anyway thanks for sharing!

  6. I agree that egative attracts more negative and positive attracts more positive. If you allow a negative thought to take root and grow, it will attract more negative thoughts and then negative results. Nip negativity in the bud and replace it with positive thoughts and energy, to create a positive, upward spiral in your life.

  7. This is a great post. It reminds me of a method i attempt to repetitively employ when at work, home or anywhere. I drive alot and it works wonders for road rage.

    I call it “focus flipping”. Whenever I encounter something i feel negative about I flip it. Deliberately think the opposite of whatever it is. Yesterday the toilet gave out. Just when we are taking care of two extra kids for a friend. I flipped this into, hmm, now I guess I get to go out and see which hardware stores are open on a Saturday night and try to get it repaired.

    Its amazing how much lighter I feel after flipping.

    Now you can give it a try.

    Great posting friends.

  8. just had to stop back on by I saved this page and I still think it is a great post!
    Thanks again for sharing!
    keep an eye for the power point presentation or text called
    two choices! it goes hand and hand with this!
    you have 2 choices 1 to have a good day 2 to have a bad day…
    the choice is only your!!!
    I’m off to enjoy the rest of my good day! 🙂
    hope yours is good too!

  9. I totally agree with Todd Lloyd’s comment. I do that flipping too when the opposite of something that is bothering me would bother me too. The weather is a great example. I stopped nagging about heat or cold. Because when it’s too cold outside, I say to myself if it was summer, it would be too hot and I would start nagging about it too. So I stopped. When you change your point of view the world around you changes accordingly. 🙂

  10. Yes, by seeing the same thing at a different angle create a different experience.

    The Law of Attraction says “You are the only one who creates your reality”.

    So, you can change your emotion immediately by thinking of something
    joyful, or singing a song, or remembering a happy experience.

    Negative thought sucks away our energy while positive one multiply it many fold.

  11. It takes one negative person to turn a whole group of positive people negative, but a group of positive people cant turn 1 negative person positive. See what I realized is it’s easier to be negative, but being positive takes work.

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  13. Please don’t take this negatively…you shouldn’t, given the topic of this post:

    I think that if I am trying to put a positive “spin” on something, I am denying myself the truth. I may feel better, but I *tricked* myself into feeling better by lying to myself. The lie temporarily masked the truth and also the problem itself. Also, what if positive thinking does not result in a solution; there are elements of life that one cannot change?

    I.e. let’s say I think that I’m pinned down at work and that I’ll never get promoted because my boss doesn’t like me. Let’s say he doesn’t like me because I mumble, and I’ve mumbled all of my life, or he thinks that I’m a loser, or whatever. It is something that I think I cannot, do not want to, and should not change.

    If I tell myself that everything’s OK, that my boss does like me isn’t going to change the truth, and it’s not going to get me promoted. And I went to 50 interviews in the past few months and nothing’s panned out, even though I tried to think happy thoughts all of the time.

    My point is that from experience, and logically I don’t understand why it must be true, that happy thoughts automatically lead to solutions, or automatically cause a better life (than negative thoughts).

    Sometimes, no matter how optimistic you get, that is just not going to magically cause you to think of solutions and sometimes your monitor is going to remain broken. And it might also obscure what you rightly believe to be true, or at least more true than more optimistic thoughts.

    There is definitely some flawed reasoning in this but hopefully I’ve gotten something across.

  14. I think once you can deal with the emotions that become so entwined with an old negative thought pattern we can get on with the job or replacing it with something more positive and constructive.

  15. Hi, Sorry if I seem out of topic… can you please guide via your smart friends whether my problem is a small one or otherwise… I too have monitor problem that made me frustrated..

    1) The monitor suddenly stopped showing red color (Red missed from RGB) so even spiderman-2 on it would show Black spidey. It sometimes rectifies by itself for a an hour or so and again darkens…

    2) By seeing above pattern I though it to be trivial problem and opened up the monitor to rectify myself but of no use…

    so I got frustrated twice once for monitor going bad then for getting myself into serviceing it. Interestingly now I think better buy a notebook than getting it corrected.

  16. Positive thoughts always work, but one has to first accept the “now”. So, accept our negative thoughts and choose to have a positive thought. Only when you accept that, when you surrender to “it is what it is”, then you can free yourself to think something else. You have to relax into that. It always work with me. Also, you can’t fake a positive thought, you really have to feel it and identify with it. You only identify with it when you release the negative one, when you let it go of whatever you were grasping to. When you do that, when one accepts that one is fine with whatever happens, then that’s when the “magic” works. Because the energy completely changes around and inside you. It works every time!

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