In life, what you focus on is what you end up attracting. Focusing on negative thoughts and worries only drains your energy levels and keeps your mind filled with all of the things you don’t want to happen.

What we need to remember is when we’re angry, frustrated, sad, worried or stressed, it doesn’t help to solve any of our problems; in fact, it only aggravates them and ruins our present state of mind. And often we choose to perceive many events in our lives as obstacles that are problematic or negative, when we could choose to flip them upside down and view them in a positive light.

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” – Anais Nin

So how can we banish negative thought patterns and train our minds to focus on what we want, instead of what we don’t want?

Acknowledge the thought

Negative thinking is natural and it’s important to remember it can’t be completely eliminated – so don’t judge yourself when these thoughts do arise.

What we must do is recognize when we are thinking negatively, and acknowledge those thoughts. Maybe you haven’t reached your sales target this month and you’re beating yourself up for it on the inside, but try to release this negativity by making a statement like, “I forgive myself for not reaching my target,” or “It’s okay that I feel frustrated.”

This will help to redirect your energy into something positive that can help to address that negative thought, such as breaking your goals down into more manageable weekly targets, or hiring someone who can help you achieve more sales.

Have perspective

We’re sometimes guilty of making Everest sized mountains out of molehills. A small negative thought can quickly expand into something catastrophic if you’re not careful to confront it early.

Try to zoom out of the situation and look at it objectively (enlist a friend to help with this if needed). Ask yourself, will this matter in a few months? How about a year’s time? And what about five years? Often it will merely be a blip on the radar, and something you barely remember this time next year.

Snap yourself back to the present moment

When we think about something negative, it’s usually something we’re angry or frustrated about that has happened in the past, or we’re worried or stressed about something that may happen in the future. We’re so wrapped up in these thoughts that we’re unable to pay attention to the present moment and what’s happening right now. We end up missing out on the real joy of life.

When you find your mind wandering to the past or future, snap yourself back to the here and now. This will help you to have fewer negative thoughts because you’re not clinging on to anything apart from what’s happening in this moment.

If you struggle being present, it can help to take a quick break and focus on your breathing for a few minutes, or pay attention to what’s going outside on around you.

Take responsibility for your life

This is YOUR life – no one is going to come along and save you. You create your life so it’s important you take full responsibility for everything that happens in it.

Even if your world seems to be falling apart around you and life begins to feel unbearable, remember there’s always a way out – there is always hope. You can sit around feeling sorry for yourself, allowing your pain to drown you, or you can stand up and create the life you dream of living – either way the choice is yours.

Seek out the good

Perhaps you’ve experienced a recent setback or failure in your business, and this has caused negative thoughts to infiltrate your mind, and make you view your situation as far worse than it might be in reality.

To overcome that, ask yourself questions that can help you evaluate your feelings and learn from your mistakes.

What’s one good thing I can take away from this situation?
What can I do differently next time that will help me to have a better outcome?
What can I learn from this?
How would a loved one support and help me in this situation?

Flip the the negative thought into a positive

The great thing about our minds is they can only ever have one thought at a time (which is why multitasking doesn’t work – just don’t do it!). So if you find a negative thought creeping in, try to shift your mind’s focus onto something else – something positive that lifts your spirits and makes you feel good.

If you’re worrying about what might go wrong, try thinking about all the things that could go right instead.

Practice is key

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle.

It is up to us to take control of our minds and our thoughts, and the more we practice doing so, the easier this becomes.

All things we do each day are habits we have learned over time. If we practice changing our focus from a negative thought to a positive one enough times, it will gradually become a natural habit our mind does automatically without us really thinking about it.

Appreciate all that’s good in your life right now

It’s easy to get caught up in everything that’s going wrong in our lives, instead of all the positive things we repeatedly take for granted each day.

Focusing your attention on all that you have to be grateful for when you’re experiencing a negative mood can help shift your mindset.

You might think about the loved ones you’re lucky to have in your life. Limitless, clean running water and three meals a day. A roof over your head each night, and the opportunity to learn and better yourself each day.

Begin each day in a positive way

Did you know that the way you begin your day sets the tone for the rest of it?

A negative start is difficult to wade out of, but a positive start helps you to feel more optimistic throughout the day regardless of what happens next.

You might have an inspirational quote written on a piece of paper on your phone or your bedside table that greets you as soon as you wake. You might read a chapter of an uplifting book, or wake up early to get in a workout. Whatever you know is going to help boost your mood – do it first thing tomorrow, and set yourself up for a positive day.