The Petals On Your Flower

Today I'm delighted to share this Texas wildflower
that begs the inquiry: What's blooming in your garden?

A second-grade friend drew this purple beauty for me,
and she added words that she thought I'd connect with and like.
The connection it made for me is that all of our behaviors
begin with words. You've probably seen this maxim before,
on a poster maybe, but Sylvia Duckworth's illustration
really hits it home for me.

And I'm reminded of a technique I learned years ago in counseling classes called Thought Switching. Its original intent is to help people exchange their anxiety-producing thoughts of failure with hope-filled thoughts of confidence, but I've learned that we can use Thought Switching as a way to monitor pretty much 
any of our thoughts. 

Because thoughts become words. 

If I'm thinking I'm a failure, it's not long before words like I can't do this or This is impossible come out of my mouth. If we're mindful of the unhealthy negativity behind this thought, we'll switch our thinking to something positive before it can become words, words that could hurt us or someone else.

Because words become actions. 

The six steps to effective Thought Switching. 

1. List as many negative {I'm a failure} thoughts as you can think of.
2. For each of these thoughts, write a coping counter-thought directly related to the area of negativity {I can do this, maybe just not yet!}. By doing so, you are setting up the habit of changing negative thoughts to positive ones. 
3. Write down your new coping thoughts on small cards you'll carry with you.
4. Choose several activities that you do every day, like washing your hands, brushing your teeth, or combing your hair; each time, just before you do one of these activities, read the top card carefully and say the positive reframe to yourself. Preferably out loud. A few times. Then carry on with the activity.
5. When you are in a real-life scenario in which you're about to think negative thoughts, deliberately repeat and follow your positive coping instructions.
6. Give your positive replacement thoughts time to take hold and work, then go ahead and switch them out with new ones to keep your reframes fresh.

Because actions become habits. And you know the rest.

Click {here} for a more technical neuroscience explanation behind changing toxic thoughts before they become negative behaviors.

Give Thought Switching a try and let us know if it changes 
the petals on your flower. 

1 comment:

  1. I really needed to be reminded today to not allow negative thoughts to intrude. Thanks, Barb!


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