Exercise for Changing Negative Thoughts

Most of us experience being on a negative thought train. Learning to be a compassionate and kind conductor can help shift your mindset.

In this exercise, you will be writing out a few things,  to simply bring them to your awareness.  The best place to start with mindfulness is learning to be more aware and less on auto-pilot.

You will be writing 5 negative things you say about yourself. These things can become habitual if we have not been practicing awareness.  Things like:

  • I will never be good enough
  • How can I be so stupid?
  • Things are so unfair
  • Life sucks

These are neither kind nor truthful.  They do not encompass the full truth, which contains a lot more positive things about you. More often than not, these thoughts are triggered by some event or memory.

More than likely these thoughts have become a habit; built and reinforced by years of conditioning.

By bringing them into your awareness, it opens the door to compassionately and mindfully shift them

Let’s start……….

Take 3 normal breaths

feel” the air as it comes in through your nose and out through your mouth

Grab your pen and…….

List 5 negative things you say to yourself

List 5 emotions or body sensations that occur when you write each thought

What are the next 5 things that pop into your mind?

Write 5 things you would say to someone you love if you heard them say these things out loud.

NOW… Ask Yourself

Is there a different way to see this within me?

What is my current perspective hiding from me?

To move forward, what are the 5 things that could replace the original thoughts?

Focus Away from the Pain

Focus Away from the Pain

The power of the mind and its focus can be both a blessing or a curse. Without our conscious effort, we can become fixed on the “thoughts” that re-affirm the pain or discomfort we are having.

On the other hand, focusing on things that bring you joy, peace, and comfort help to tune out the thoughts that do not serve our well-being.

Turning our focus away from the pain is not the same as suppression or denial. It is a way to help us cope when we start to feel overwhelmed. It empowers us to shift gears for that moment.

Let’s start…….

Grab your piece of paper, notebook, or journal and your favorite pen.

Sit comfortably.  Firmly place both feet on the floor.  Take 3 natural breaths.

Now, take a deep belly breath.

(where you fill your belly with air and feel the exhale travel up from the belly, past your lungs, and out of your mouth).


Write 7 things that would help support you when you are feeling overwhelmed.  Things that bring you comfort, peace, joy, or support.

For example:

  1. Going for a walk
  2. Watching a funny video
  3. Petting your fur baby
  4. Writing in your journal
  5. Watching/listening to a “mindful minute”
  6. Looking at a picture of a loved one (mine is my grandbaby)
  7. Sitting in the sun (if possible)

Now, write three things you can do to get grounded.

For example:

  1. Touch each of your fingers with your thumb
  2. Count the number of pictures on the wall
  3. Firmly plant your feet. Try to push them through the floor.


What are some other activities or practices you could learn or use to help you re-focus?  Are there any barriers? How might you start to breakdown some of those barriers?

De-Personalize the Pain

De-Personalize the Pain

As we move through life, external focus on our circumstances occurs.  Things like:

I got caught in traffic.  He/She made me so mad.  If they just would…….

Learning to embrace and understand our personal, physical self is a big part of well-being. The experience of pain is the area we will explore today. Try to remain curious and open as you go through this exercise.

Think about an everyday chore or tasks that you have to do.   Laundry, planning or preparing meals, feeding the animals, going to work….You get the idea.

Write a quick story from your perspective.  What you did; how you felt about it.

Use words like I, me, my, or mine to describe the story.

NOW, tell the same story without any personalization.  You cannot use the words I, me, my, or mine (or your name) in the re-write.

  • How difficult was it to write it without placing yourself in the story?
  • How did it feel to see it from the second point of view?
  • What was the major difference between the two stories?

Next, repeat the practice of personalized and non-personalized stories with a painful experience.  Remember, this can be physical or emotional pain.  For this exercise though, choose a pain level around 2, 3, or 4. (on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being lowest, 10 being extreme)

With the repeat of this exercise in regards to pain, ask yourself the same 3 questions above.

Close the exercise with this final question.

How might this experience support you in the future?

Support and Peace for your pain

Support and peace for your pain


Get comfortable.

Place both feet on the floor.

Feel your feet planted solidly on the ground.

Take 3 slow, natural breaths.

Now, take 1 deep belly breath.

(where you fill your belly with air and feel the exhale travel up from the belly, past your lungs, and out of your mouth).


Imagine you are in a serene setting.  Your favorite place to be.  The beach, the park, near a lake, in a grove of trees, outdoors in the warm sunshine, indoors near the air conditioner, you choose.


Now, imagine you are surrounded by loving family, friends, imaginary strangers, even your fur babies, that have nothing but love, kindness, support, and adoration for you.


Imagine the warmth you feel knowing that they are all here to support you, comfort you, and gently help to alleviate the pain you are feeling.


Imagine you are wrapped in a warm circle of light, gently touching any area of pain, discomfort, or tension.


Settle into the emotional feeling of some of the discomfort and tension leaving your body.  Feel that, truly feel what that would be like.


When your ready, slowly switch your thoughts back to the present moment and focus on your feet.  Feel the sturdy support of the ground under your feet. Visualize the warm circle of light now leaving through your feet and attaching to the ground.


Grab your pen and paper and answer these questions.


What was this like for you?

Did you notice any shifts in your emotions or physical senses?

Was any part of this difficult for you?

How was it to openly accept the love and support?

What did you learn about yourself?



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