6 Quick Tricks For Dealing With Negative Thoughts

Negative thoughts overtaking your mind and your life? Here are six quick hacks for keeping them at bay.

1. Challenge Them.

When we are stressed out or sad, we project our inner state onto the outer world. Everything around us starts to seem joyless and gloomy. We read the worst of people and misinterpret positive or neutral situations as bad ones. Luckily, all you have to do to end this flow of negativity is challenge your assumptions.

Are things really as bad as you think they are? What went right today? Is that person really insulting you, or are you just choosing to see negativity where there is none? Make your negative thoughts stand up to your questioning. Chances are, they won’t be able to.

2. Reframe Them.

Things are rarely as bad as they seem at first. Avoid jumping to conclusions. Look at the big picture. Will this situation or problem matter in a week? What about in a month? Or a year? Is it really worth getting so upset and stressed out over it? If your answer is “no” there is no point in getting yourself worked up over it. Use the energy to find solutions, not to mull over of what has gone wrong. Reframing takes practice, but getting good at it is a great way to live a happier life.

3. Segregate Them.

Negative thoughts have an ability to drag more negative thoughts around with them. After a while you might feel overwhelmed, helpless and depressed. That is why it is crucial to keep separate issues separate rather than allowing them to become a big jumble.  For example, your current fight with your partner and your slip-up at work aren’t related and shouldn’t be treated as such.

4. Look for the Positive.

Often, if we calm our minds and reflect on the current negative situation, we discover opportunities to turn the situation around. While only some problems become positive opportunities, most problems become valuable lessons that we can learn from.

5. Express Your Feelings Instead of Bottling Them up.

If something or someone is bothering you, don’t be afraid to voice your concerns. This doesn’t mean that you have to be rude, overly critical or sarcastic about it. Always communicate your problems or concerns in an open and respectful way.

For example, if your friend is making jokes about you being overweight, you might feel reluctant to address them directly and ask them to stop doing that. But on the other hand, if you do not do anything about changing this situation your resentment will most likely build up and it will definitely weaken your friendship.

6. Understand the Reasons.

If someone is being rude to you or is treating you badly, you can spend all day wondering why they’re doing it, and this might actually help you deal with the situation at hand. For example, maybe they have had an argument with their spouse, or have had a stressful day at work, or something really bad happened in their life that has made them behave this way. Hurt people hurt people, and understanding this can go a long way toward helping you maintain your center and build your compassion.

TFT Team

Our team at The Fitness Tribe often collaborates together to produce content. When you see “TFT Team” this is because the content was not written by a single author, but rather a team effort.

21 Strategies to Improve Emotional Intelligence

Most people have heard of an IQ quiz to test how smart someone might be, but what about "emotional intelligence"? Find out more about emotional intelligence and how you can work on improving your own.

Have you heard of emotional intelligence? Different from our IQs, emotional intelligence is defined as “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”

While emotional intelligence might sound like some crunchy bunch of woo-woo, it’s an increasingly important metric by which companies evaluate new hires. In many ways, it’s become a skill people want to develop.

Fortunately, that’s very possible. Qualities associated with high EQ (such as self-awareness, inner motivation, empathy and ability to recognize and manage our own feelings and those of others) account for about 90% of our professional effectiveness. they also enhance our intellectual performance, and can be developed like a muscle.

If you’re interested in improving your EQ, here are 21 actionable strategies to get you started right now.

21 Strategies to Improve Emotional Intelligence

Want to boost your EQ and start leading your life with your heart? Here are a few smart tips to begin the process:

1. Learn to trust your intuition

Your intuition is one of your greatest tools, and it shouldn’t be ignored.

For a long time intuition and rational thinking were considered two mutually exclusive concepts. Only now have scientists started to realize that our intuitive emotions serve as an efficient mechanism that improves our ability to make better, sounder decisions.

With this in mind, learn to trust your intuition and start relying on it more often!

2. Learn to quiet your mind

When we are under stress, we lose the ability to accurately “read” a situation, hear what someone else is saying, think rationally, and communicate clearly.

One skill that can improve our emotional intelligence is to find a way to manage stress and quiet the mind during times of great emotional turmoil. Mindfulness meditation is a great tool for this, and using something like the Headspace app is a simple way to get started.

3. Realize that you are not your emotions

Many people waste time thinking they “ought” to feel a certain way. Usually we are brought up to believe that it is wrong to express and even feel certain emotions, as if it somehow makes us a “bad person.”  In reality, it’s not the feeling that matters, but how you choose to act on it. You’re not your emotions, and the sooner you learn to see that, the better.

4. Talk about your feelings

Some people associate feelings with weakness.

While we were learning to smile politely and keep our thoughts and feelings to ourselves, we should have been practicing to express those feelings. This is what people with high EQ do. They are not afraid to expose their feelings, vulnerabilities and thoughts.

With this in mind, practice being more vulnerable and open about your feelings and see how the world reacts.

5. Practice “learned optimism”

Notice how you explain events to yourself, both good and bad. Do you take credit for your achievements or do you dismiss them as pure luck? Do you take responsibility for your missteps or does it seem more natural for you to shift the blame on something or someone else? Practice being more optimistic to make more room in your emotional and spiritual life.

6. Start with your ego

Ego plays a huge role in how we perceive and react to different situations. You can’t feel unappreciated, offended or hurt unless you let yourself feel that way. And the fact that you are feeling that way almost always means that your ego has been rubbed the wrong way. But you are not your ego. You are a spiritual human being and your natural state is happiness, not anger, resentment, or envy.

7. Acknowledge your emotions

Another way to improve emotional intelligence lies in developing understanding that denying, ignoring or numbing our feelings will not make them go away. Acknowledging our emotions, both good and bad, allows us to get in touch with our own motivations and needs, and to communicate effectively with others.

8. Think about how you think

You may not always choose the situation or people you work with, but you CAN always choose the way you frame it in your mind. Spend more time thinking about how you react to situations and why. This will provide the clarity you need to start choosing new patterns.

9. Choose your words carefully

The words we use carry emotional baggage with them and evoke certain associations in your mind. One way of changing your thoughts and getting negative emotions under control is to choose positively-charged words and be more mindful of your speech. Need some inspiration? Consider this Master Class video with Maya Angelou:

10. Step into their shoes

Being able to see a situation or a point of view from another person’s perspective is a skill that most of us develop at the age of 5. In some settings, though, we get overcome by negative emotions and start acting like we are 4, acknowledging only our thoughts, emotions and arguments.

The next time you are in the middle of a heated argument, try to put yourself into the other person’s shoes really understand where they are coming from. You might discover that they have a valid point! No matter what, this approach will soften you and enhance your understanding the other person.

11. Think Law of Attraction

If you believe that “What goes around comes around” think of what may come back to you every time you send negative emotions and thoughts into the Universe. The Universe does not care about the reason for your negativity – only that it exists. Other people’s deeds are their karma. Take care of yours!

12. Breathe anger out

Anger is a powerful emotion, but it has equally powerful ‘side-effects’. After it dies down we are left feeling exhausted, drained and often foolish.

A great way to keep anger at bay is to put some distance between you and the object of your irritation.

Take a few deep breaths, imagining your breath shooting the anger and tension away and cool air calming your mind and slowing your heart rate down. Do not tackle the problem that pushed you off your balance until you will feel completely calm and composed.

13. Listen

Mahatma Gandhi used to say, “Speak only if it improves upon the silence.” We would add, speak only if it objectively improves the conversation. Otherwise, listen!

14. Give yourself some love

If you do something well – celebrate. If you fail – learn from the experience and improve next time. There is no sense in dragging yourself down for every little mistake. Judging and criticizing yourself will not make you a better person. Self-awareness, understanding and compassion, on the other hand, will.

15. Give positive feedback to others

Train your mind to see things that are worth complimenting, rather than focusing on cherry-picking little things that can be criticized or judged in others. When you learn to compliment with ease and refrain from judging, your EQ will sky-rocket and your relationships will flourish.

16. Pick your battles

Arguments take time and energy, especially if you want to resolve them in a positive way. Before getting yourself into one, consider what is worth arguing about and what is best left alone.

17. Forgive

People with high EQ have less emotional ‘baggage,’ while people with low EQ tend to have more unresolved personal issues which act as triggers for conflicts. The best way to deal with these issues is to forgive those who have wronged you in the past. Not for their sake, but for your own.

18. Understand your buttons

Pay attention to the times when you let other people push your buttons. What are your triggers? What are the specific conditions that make you likely to let your guard down? Try to avoid putting yourself in these situations where you aren’t able to choose a graceful response.

19. Look out for sarcasm

Sarcasm is usually an indication that someone is being defensive. When you hear sarcasm or are the one using it, ask yourself why. What is the underlying emotion? Why are you or the other person being defensive?

20. Pay attention to people’s nonverbal communication

Often the key to successful relationships at work and harmony in your family lies in your ability to understand non-verbal cues communicated through gestures and body language. Being able to read these cues makes you more empathetic and helps enhance your relationships.

21. Practice empathy

You have the power not only to improve your emotional intelligence, but to become a good influence on others, improving their creativity and intellectual performance. Robert Rosenthal, a Harvard expert on empathy, has demonstrated that when people administering IQ tests treated their subjects warmly, the test scores were higher.

Want more info to improve your Emotional Intelligence?  These 3 books are must reads:

TFT Team

Our team at The Fitness Tribe often collaborates together to produce content. When you see “TFT Team” this is because the content was not written by a single author, but rather a team effort.

5 Things to Stop Caring About Today

It's easy to get wrapped up in negative thoughts when there is a thousand things running through your head each day. Take a step back and realize these are five things you should stop spending energy thinking about.

A Zen student once asked his teacher, “Master, what is enlightenment?” The master replied, “When hungry, eat. When tired, sleep. When it is time, let go.”

Unfortunately, lots of us are shockingly bad at that last part. We hold onto things – physical, spiritual, and emotional – that have long since stopped serving us, and our lives decrease in quality as a result.

Are you sick of being dragged by baggage you no longer need?

Here are five things to stop caring about today to feel happier tomorrow!

1. Stop Caring If You Are Enough

How much time do you spend worrying about whether you’re attractive enough? Rich enough? Fit enough? Smart enough? Good enough? Funny enough?

It’s exhausting, and it’s one of the main things we could all stand to let go of.

The main idea behind it is pretty simple: You Are Enough. No matter what.

So often we let other people or situations convince us that this is not true, that we lack something. And that this ‘something’ is preventing us from being happy. If we could just be a little taller, thinner, smarter, richer or more attractive, everything would be great. Our problems would magically disappear. Our life would be much easier and more satisfying.

If you believe that you are not enough, you will act out of place of fear, of doubt and you will always hold yourself back. There is no immediate cure for negative beliefs. Learning to love and appreciate yourself takes time, but this is a battle worth fighting.

Looking for tools? Affirmations and meditation are both excellent tools on the path to self-acceptance.

2. Stop Caring What Other People Think About Your Goals

Here’s a fun experiment: tell ten people that you want to lose 10 pounds by limiting your weekly red meat intake and see what happens.

Most likely you will get ten completely different pieces of advice about what you should and should not do. It’s normal. Everyone is different, has different experiences and different opinions about eating habits.

If you let these differences get inside your head, though, all that external input can start to affect your internal voice and goal-setting process.

For every goal that you set for yourself, there will be someone trying to talk you out of it. If you listen to every single opinion, you won’t ever start anything. With this in mind, be sure you’re only sharing your goals with people who can inspire you, contribute to your personal growth, and give you a hand!

3. Stop Caring About Showing Your Vulnerability

Are you embarrassed to cry at movies? Are you worried that if you show people your true emotions, they may take advantage and hurt you in some way? In Western culture, being vulnerable is often associated with weakness.

Luckily, this isn’t remotely true.

Vulnerability is a base for love, compassion, trust, creativity, and self-acceptance. If you have come to believe that it is not okay to feel or demonstrate certain emotions, you deny yourself the pleasure of experiencing life.

4. Stop Caring About What Other People Have

It’s one of the headiest temptations of human life – comparing ourselves to other people.

How much does this guy make a month? Who is that new girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife/date? Why are they buying a new TV when they already have one? Why can’t I go on a vacation like that? How’d they afford that house?

When you think about it, though, focusing on these things only sets us up to feel inadequate and less-than. If you’re sick of chasing things you don’t need or feeling like you’re failing to “keep up with the Joneses,” do yourself a favor – put on your blinders and run your race.

If you’re struggling to do this, taking a break from social media can be a great boost.

5. Stop Caring About the Illusion of Perfection

“Good is better than perfect.”

While this can be applied to many things, it’s especially relevant as a motto for life.

If you’re always wrapped up with the idea of perfection, it’s unlikely that you’re ever going to get much of anything done.

The harsh truth is that perfectionism does not pay off. The real world rewards people who get things done, not ones who strive to do things perfectly. And the only way to get anything done is to make peace with your best efforts and know when it’s time to let something go.

Don’t let your perfectionist tendencies turn into an excuse for not finishing things. It is much easier to learn from the outcome and improve than to get something ‘perfect’ the first time.

TFT Team

Our team at The Fitness Tribe often collaborates together to produce content. When you see “TFT Team” this is because the content was not written by a single author, but rather a team effort.

20 Surprising Benefits of Meditation Everyone Should Know

Never tried meditation before? Well, you should. And here are 20 reasons why that might help motivate you to get started.

For decades, meditation has been viewed with suspicion and been labeled “esoteric,” along with crystals, astrology, and palm readings.

As more people turn to meditation practice, though, its ability to create silence, inner peace and tranquility is becoming mainstream. If you’ve never meditated, below are some convincing reasons to consider giving it a try.

If you are practicing meditation regularly (or want to attempt it), keep reading to discover the physiological, psychological and spiritual benefits that you get while meditating!

20 Amazing Benefits of Meditation

Great for your mind, body, and soul, here are 20 stunning benefits of meditation.

1. A Strong Heart

Meditation is not just for the brain. It has numerous physical health benefits, as well. Recent studies have found that meditation can protect us against heart disease and stroke (both leading causes of death in the Western world).

Meditation also lowers blood pressure, improves circulation, and reduces cholesterol and atherosclerosis (the buildup of plaque in the arteries that can cause heart problems).

2. A Slimmer Body

It sounds too good to be true, but you can shed pounds without sweating in the gym!

Today, many of us gain weight through poor eating habits and mindless eating. Meditation increases mindfulness and promotes more conscious. This allows us to eat healthier and, consequently, stay thinner.

3. Slower Aging

Biological age measures how old a person is physiologically, taking into consideration the functioning of the major organ systems.

As it turns out, long-term meditators (those who have been practicing meditation for more than five years) are physiologically 12 years younger than their chronological age. Short-term meditators, meanwhile, reverse physiological signs of aging by five years!

4. Reduced Stress and Anxiety

Neurology shows that meditation boosts the intensity of alpha waves – brain waves associated with a quiet, receptive mind state. This relaxed state decreases worry and stress by efficiently lowering “stress” hormones in the body and shifting brain activity to a calmer place.

5. A Stronger Immune System and Improved Mood

Meditation can help your body fight illness and lift your spirits when you feel frustrated or sad. The most remarkable thing, however, is that these positive biological effects can last up to four months after the end of meditation.

6. Decreased Muscle Tension

Had a long day at work? As little as 15 minutes of meditation can increase circulation, oxygenate your muscles, and help you cope with tension and fatigue much better.

7. Better Sleep

Bedtime meditation is a great natural sleep aid.

Not only does meditation promote deeper and more restful sleep, but it may also make falling asleep easier.

Struggling with insomnia? Meditation might be able to help A recent study published by The American Journal of Medicine reported that insomnia patients improved sleep through meditation and 91% either fully eliminated or reduced sleeping medication use.

8. Fewer Headaches

If you struggle with headaches or migraines, meditation can be a complementary practice. Because meditation offers positive, relaxing effects on your body and your mind, it eliminates the main causes of headaches (stress, muscle tension, and anxiety).

9. Increased Focus

Contrary to what many people believe, meditation does not mean “zoning out.”

In fact, regular practice will make your mind sharper and quicker. A vast body of research shows that meditation enhances our ability to stay focused and enter a state of “flow” at work or during play.

10. Improved Memory

For years, scientists have been studying whether meditation could improve memory.

As it turns out, it can! According to one study, people who participated in a 40-day meditation program did four times better on memory tests than a group of people who did not meditate.

So, if you can’t remember your spouse’s phone number or have a hard time remembering where you last saw your keys start meditating!

11. Greater Control Over Thoughts

We may have conquered space and developed nano-technologies, but most of us still struggle to conquer our minds. Negative thoughts and self-doubt keep coming back, stealing our focus and draining our energy. Luckily, meditation is the most effective technique to help us calm our minds and keep the flow of negative thoughts under control.

12. Improved Creativity

If your work depends on creativity, your most valuable piece of equipment is not your laptop – it’s your mind’s ability to generate new ideas.

In a world of constant distractions and worries, though, it’s not always easy to access our creativity. Meditation helps calm our overly-agitated minds and improve focus. It also promotes the cooperation of our creative (right) brain and rational (left) brain, creating perfect conditions for brainstorming million-dollar ideas.

13. Greater Intelligence

Scientists have discovered that meditation can improve brain development and boost intelligence. Just like regular workouts make our body stronger by building muscle, regular meditation can increase IQ by increasing the thickness of the cortex in areas involved in attention, awareness, and thought!

14. Higher Self-Confidence

Meditation can help us to overcome moments of self-doubt and boost our self-esteem. Because meditation helps us stop the flow of negative thoughts, get in touch with our inner selves, and care less about other people’s opinions and criticism, it can be a great way to perceive the world more positively and holistically.

15. Enhanced Emotional Resilience

Regular practitioners of meditation say they feel greater emotional equilibrium. Just by taking a small amount of your daily time to meditate, you can find an escape from your everyday worries, become more relaxed, more patient, and more peaceful.

16. Improved Decision-Making Skills

When we feel overtired, overwhelmed or stressed out, the brain bypasses rational thinking and starts using more primitive stimuli-response pathways, which are responsible for emotions like fear, anger, and anxiety.

Consequently, we respond to daily demands without thinking, making impulsive, short sighted decisions.

Meditation practice provides the experience of “restful alertness,” while helping us regain purposeful thinking and farsighted decision-making.

17. Enhanced Productivity

This probably doesn’t come as a shock to you – if meditation improves focus, creativity, decision-making skills and intelligence, it increases our performance at work, allowing us to express our talents and abilities fully.

18. Better Relationships

Research shows that we can improve our relationship with managers and co-workers after just 11 months of meditation. People who meditate frequently also feel less anxiety about promotions and their fellow employees tend to perceive them as productive and upwardly-mobile.

19. More Happiness

Is there anybody who doesn’t want happiness?

Meditation is the fastest way to learn that happiness is not dependent on outer circumstances, but on attitude. When we still our minds and accept every moment of our life (without judgment or regret), we discover a source of happiness, tranquility, and love within us.

The more we meditate, the better and happier our lives become, not because people around us change, not because circumstances change – but because we change.

20. A Sense of Purpose

Usually, we search for meaning in life through external events and other people, instead of looking deep inside our heart for the answers to the questions “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?”

When we meditate, we let go of our egos and false expectations. We start to live a life of purpose and the doubts slowly disappear.

The Case for Meditation

If you still have doubts about whether meditation is right for you, consider this – it can be practiced anywhere, at any moment, by people of all religions, ages, and traditions. It is free, requires no special equipment, is easy to learn, and takes only 15-20 minutes per day!

If you are not meditating yet, the one question you should ask yourself is “Why not?”

TFT Team

Our team at The Fitness Tribe often collaborates together to produce content. When you see “TFT Team” this is because the content was not written by a single author, but rather a team effort.