It’s hard not to get caught up in the insta-worthy, motivational language of goal-setting, productivity, and ambition. Our brains are hardwired to respond with excitement and enthusiasm to inspiration. Sometimes it just feels GOOD.
Other times, we aren’t feelin’ it. We don’t want to be positive. Or we’re in a situation that makes it REALLY difficult to be. Our heart isn’t in it, our attempts at affirmations fall flat, and no amount of pretty inspo seems to save us.
In those moments, people with good intentions will advise you to “Be positive!”. Truth be told: that is often the LAST thing we want to hear. They’re not wrong, but there is ANOTHER method for those moments where you struggle getting from worst-case-scenario thoughts to uplifting, centered ones.
Instead of trying to make the leap from feeling awful to feeling amazing (let’s be real, sometimes that leap is just TOO far)–try this instead: go neutral.
The words you use when talking to yourself matter. If your initial thought is “Today is the worst day of my life”, it’s a big jump to get your mind to believe “Today is a gift!”. Let that sentiment still be the end goal, but go NEUTRAL first.
“Today is a day.”
That is a fact. It is indisputably true and it reminds you that your awful day is temporary. Your mind will accept this thought with MUCH more ease.
Here are some more examples of how to hack those moments:
- “My stomach looks awful since having kids.” becomes “This is a human stomach. A lot of people have a stomach like this.”
- “I’ll never get over this.” becomes “It’s possible I’ll be okay someday.”
- “I don’t have what it takes to succeed” becomes “I have a lot to learn. I don't have what it takes YET.”
The key is to give yourself a gentle nudge towards thinking, “Hey, there’s a chance my brain isn’t being truthful to me at this moment.” Offer a neutral substitute instead. It works wonders for me, and it can for you too.