When it comes to managing anxiety, we don’t realize how many thoughts run through our minds each day. This is, in part, due to our subconscious, which is responsible for up to 90% of our thoughts and actions. And the shocking part? We don’t even realize how much goes in there—beneath the surface. So, to combat anxiety, I want to give you a few simple, practical tools to help you gain control of anxiety instead of the other way around. Keep reading to learn more.
The 3 to 1 Ratio
The principle of the 3 to 1 ratio means you want to use 3 positive thoughts for one negative thought. Now, I’m going to be here… I’m not one of those (cue the cheesy, high-pitched tone of voice) “Positive-thinking people.” I’m not thinking positively about everything. In fact, I’m kind of a realist when it comes to emotions. But regarding this 3 to 1 ratio, I’m going to give you a reframe.
Don’t just try to think positively, but instead, look for something real. Search for the evidence, the proof that what you’re thinking is actually true, tangible, and doesn’t just ignore the problem. But to do this, we first need to…
Address The Problem
I want you to think about one toxic thought that might be ruminating in your mind. What has your resting emotional state been? Have you been feeling overwhelmed? Stressed? And then consider: If that emotion was a sentence, what would it sound like in your mind? This exercise can help you to frame that thought. You may discover you thinking thoughts such as:
- I can’t do this
- I want to quit my job
- I wish my children would behave better
- It feels hopeless
- I don’t know what to do next
At this point, I want to encourage you to do a little brain dump. Get a journal and write down every thought that you can think of; give yourself 5 minutes to write it all down. And then circle the thought (or thoughts) that are causing the most overwhelm in your mind.
This brings awareness to your thinking. Why is this important? Because you need to understand what negative thought is there before you can actually combat it.
Think And Reframe It Into the 3 To 1 Ratio
Remember our 3 to 1 ratio? For every negative thought, you want to counter it with 3 positive thoughts. I remember being a kid and hearing adults always saying, “For every negative put-down you give to somebody, you need to give 3 positive put-ups.” This is NOT that; this is not you using any self-affirming platitudes to make you feel good.
What I’m going to give you with these 3 positive thoughts are specific ways you can reframe your negative thoughts. So here are the 3 positive thought exercises for you to consider:
- The reframe: For example, if you have the thought, “I can’t do this,” in your mind, you can reframe it as “I don’t have the skills right now to do this but I can go on YouTube or Google, I could read a book, listen to a podcast, or I could even go back to school!” That’s reframing it!
- Inner strength: You’ve been through tough times. We all have. And as a result of those difficulties, you’ve undoubtedly gained inner strength. Look back at a time in your life when you really had to persevere. Then, remember the strength that you’ve gleaned due to that experience. This exercise to help you realize the internal strength that’s already within you from the hardships you’ve already overcome in the past.
- Who are you: Sometimes we just need to remember who we are. What’s the foundation of our character; we all have this. I remember during one of the hardest moments of my life, I wrote over myself: I am brave. And it reframed all of the negativity in my life. All of that negative self-talk began to drown when I reminded myself of how brave I am. I remembered what I’ve overcome to get to this point and who I became as a result of those triumphs. And that reconnected me to the inner winner that has been there all along. As a result, I was able to work through my anxiety and take back control of my emotional well-being.
Negative thoughts will always be ruminating in the back of our minds. However, we don’t have to let them control us. We can turn the tables and combat anxiety. And all it takes it the right strategy to begin this process. At Certified Flourishing Coach, we are a team of evidence-based coaches and facilitators. Moreover, our combined experience and diverse backgrounds come together to create an all-encompassing curriculum for coach training.
So if you’re ready to flourish in your business, your finances, and your life, contact us today to learn more!
About The Author
Connie Jakab has been working in resilience and flourishing for over 20 years. Starting with youth at risk and gangs in East Vancouver, Connie has been researching how community creates resilience and mental wellness her entire career through a sociological lens. Connie is the Director of Community Engagement for the Certified Flourishing Coaching™, and is excited to facilitate our trainings in Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria, B.C.