Flip-thinking; from negative to positive

27 March 2018

Positive thinking; a very popular term nowadays. Daily you see a quote similar to this one passing by; ‘Just think more positive thoughts.’ You see it on your neighbor girl’s t-shirt, your friend’s Phone case, at least once a day on Instagram and your uncle even Benny has a tattoo of it. Because of this positive thinking hype, it is not very surprising you think you are the one who comes up with your thoughts and therefore think you should just simply not think negative thoughts anymore. Daily we have around 60.000 thoughts. Can you imagine that they would all be positive? Most thoughts happen unconsciously. They just pop up. So if we hear ‘just think more positive thoughts’ we feel like it is our fault when we think negative thoughts. The thing is though, negative thoughts are inevitable, they just pop up. Trust me; even Oprah Winfrey has them. The point is; what do we do with those negative thoughts and how can we transform them? That is what this blog post is all about.

How thoughts arise

Before I start the practical part, I would like to tell you a bit more about the way thoughts arise. We all view ourselves and the world in a particular way. These views are formed by our thought patterns. Our whole life we’ve heard and watched the behavior, norms, values, and opinions of our parents, teachers, friends, religion, you name it. You listened to these things, had countless positive, but also challenging experiences in life and slowly developed your own thought patterns. All these experiences influence your subconscious where after thought patterns arise. Therefore once a thought comes up, it is not you who chooses the thought to pop up, it is your subconscious. So although we don’t choose to think these thoughts, we often expect those thoughts to be real and therefore identify with these thoughts. We simply forget to question them… Besides that many of us even try to suppress negative thoughts. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work. Your thoughts will stay and will even invite all their friends, family and acquaintances! Yeap, that’s gonna be a party at your expense. Result: you will feel more frustrated/irritated/anxious/or angry. So…what should you do then?

Step 1: Get aware of your negative thoughts

Which negative thoughts are your biggest bullies? Mostly we are not even aware of the constant battles in our head. Want to know some simple and effective tricks to become more aware of your thoughts? Check our blog post to find out some very handy ones.

Step 2: get curious

So now you are aware of your thoughts it is time to get curious about the validity of those thoughts. Let me give you an example:

Situation: Imagine you see a slim and fit woman, living a healthy lifestyle.
Thought: I will never be able to be slim and fit and live a healthy lifestyle the way she does.
Feelings and behavior: Feeling frustrated that this woman can do it and you can’t (at least, that’s what your thought says). Hence you continue to live an unhealthy lifestyle which causes you to indeed not lose any weight or even gain weight.

So, you saw a slim woman where after you thought you would never be able to be as slim and fit like her.
Time to ask some objective, non-judging (very important!) questions.

How come you think you won’t be able to be as fit and slim as she is?
I’ve been overweight my whole life and never had any discipline.

Oh really, you never ever had any self-discipline? You never said no to any kind of snack in your life? And you never ever arrived on time at work? (counts as self-discipline as well!) Besides that, do you think that all people who have been overweight for their whole life, won’t be able to lose weight?
Ok, you might be right, I did say no to some foods and probably there will be some people who will lose weight even after they have been overweight for their whole life.

So why you won’t be able to lose weight too?
Because I tried everything but never lost any weight.

Ok, I tried three programs but they didn’t work out.

Could you try something more than those 3 programs?
Yes, I guess I could.

Step 3: formulate the thought in a different way

Now you’ve analysed the thought in an objective way, it is time to formulate the thought in a different way. After analyzing you’ve become aware why you think the way you think. Time to flip the thought around. A way to flip around the ‘example thought’ can be:

‘I know that in the past it has been hard for me to lose weight, but this doesn’t need to define my future. I can try new things and see how it works. I’m going with the flow and will see how things work out, I’m not going to judge the situation before I’ve even tried something’.

This way you don’t deny that the past was challenging, and at the same time you give a positive hopeful twist to the thought.

This is the trick; get curious about your thoughts, try to find out where your thoughts are coming from and then flip them. Do this for one month one thought a day. By doing so, you will make this technique your own. You will see that you will start to do it more and more and eventually it will even feel natural. Trust me; when you try this, you will see that 99 out of 100 times your thoughts are just like little kids trying to get your attention. They are here because they think they can protect you from the big, evil world or can somehow save you from doing un-useful work (trying to lose weight without succeeding). Reality is that you don’t need those thoughts and that they can leave in peace again, but only when you acknowledge them and show them the other side of the coin.  Let me know one of your negative thoughts in the comments down below so we can flip it together!

Bonus: I know it can be hard sometimes to get out of your head and see things objectively. Whenever you get swept away by your thoughts I have some questions for you to ask yourself:

  • Is this thought real? If yes why, and who says so? Who says what this person says is a reflection of the reality… (even if it is you who says it… think deeply) ?
  • How would a person I look up to tackle this situation?
  • What could I say to myself to support myself?
  • How would the best version or even upgrade version of me think about this situation?
  • If I would need to choose between changing my perspective on the situation/thought in question, or taking a tattoo of the quote ‘fries before guys’ on my forehead, what would my new perspective be then? Ok, I know this might be a bit, or perhaps a very silly question, and I hope you never end up in this situation;)… The point that I try to show you is; when you really need to change something, you can.

These questions push you to see your situation from a different perspective. Are you going to use any of these questions? Or do you know any other questions you can ask yourself to get out of your head? Inspire other BodieBoosters by placing your personal ‘insight questions’ down below. Never forget; we’re all in this together!

P.s. Don’t hesitate to share this blog post with your friends! From time to time we all get stuck in our head, we are human… Everybody needs a reminder every now and then. Who knows you and your friend can even help each other flip the thought!

With love,

Your BodieBoost Coach,

Elles Ottens






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