These Hacks for Challenging Negative Thoughts (While Working a Job You Hate) Will Change Your Life
Challenging negative thoughts so that you can overcome them and enjoy peace of mind is a lot easier than you think. The issue is just that most of us weren’t taught how to.
Today, I’m sharing the mindfulness journal prompts and mindset tips that I used to eliminate my own repetitive cycle of feeling stuck and depressed in a job that I found soul crushing and draining.
And whether you’re trying to cultivate inner peace within a miserable work situation, or you’re dealing with a different kind of negative mindset loop, this article will give you the tools you need for challenging negative thoughts.
Because let’s face it, bad experiences, stress, and agitation are normal parts of life. But you can choose to accept your daily stressors as temporary experiences that will quickly pass instead of becoming attached.
My mindfulness journaling prompts can stop you from falling into a funk where unpleasant experiences pile up and become bad days, weeks, months, or even years.
Your life is way too precious to spend repeating negative mindset loops, don't you think?
With the right mindset shifts, you can make it so that you’re at peace, even when something has upset you.
Are you ready to add some new tools to your arsenal for challenging negative thoughts? Keep reading!
Why Do Mindfulness and Mindset Matter?
I decided to go on a 24 hour fast today. It's something I do from time to time to center myself and give my body a reset.
But while I was going about my busy day, I noticed that I was getting agitated and my fuse was shorter than normal.
This set off alarm bells in my mind that told me I had been so caught up in the day's tasks that I forgot a couple of the biggest reasons I'd been fasting in the first place.
The goal was to be mindful and feel centered and I had been doing the opposite. Oops!
From practicing yoga, I learned to remain present and find calmness in uncomfortable and challenging poses by quieting my mind, taking deep breaths, and focusing on relaxing the parts of my body that are being challenged.
Instead of resisting discomfort by letting my body tense up or distracting myself by letting my thoughts run wild, I learned to just be there without judgment.
You can use this practice to remain present during challenging times and build your mental and emotional agility in your own life, even if you aren't a yogi.
So, I took a moment to sit in meditation, relaxing my mind and focusing on deep cleansing breaths.
It only took about 30 seconds, (which is all I had to spare) and I was able to return to my day feeling energized, happy, and present. My mind remained calm and my agitated never returned either.
This is a great example of why mindset and mindfulness are so important.
If you don't learn to control your mindset, you won't ever feel like you have control over your life.
Instead, you will feel stuck and miserable because all these different things suck and life is working against you. You will blame circumstances, things, and people instead of taking responsibility for the things you can control- your negative mindset.
It's natural. Most of us do this on autopilot. But like with my example from this afternoon, you can train yourself to pause and hush your inner chaos so that you can have peace within.
Don't look for anyone or anything to blame. Don't focus on reasons to complain.
Without those things, you're left with your own thoughts and feelings, which are within your control. And they are exactly what shapes your experience, not the person who was rude to you or the job you hate.
Your thoughts shape your feelings and your reality. So, choose them wisely. Choose mindfully.
Mindfulness Journal Prompts for Challenging Negative Thoughts
I texted my cousin a couple of days ago to check in or her and see how she was doing. Not for any particular reason, I guess she just popped in my mind or something.
You know, those texts you send when you haven’t spoken to someone in a while and you just want to say “Hi,” make sure they’re alright, and send good vibes? It was one of those.
In her reply, she told me that she wasn’t happy with her job. It doesn’t resonate with what she wants to do with her life. But she needs the income, so she’s been feeling miserable, defeated, and drained in the situation.
I knew what she meant right away because I’ve been there countless times. In fact, I was just there a couple of months ago!
Most of us need the jobs we have for basic survival. We need to work in order to provide ourselves with food, shelter, and a gazillion other things.
So, when you hate the work you're doing, your commute, or the environment you're working in, it's natural to get sucked into a negative mindset because work is such a huge part of your life.
I felt trapped and wondered if my dreams would ever truly pan out the way I'd imagined and hoped they would. I felt depressed and like my cousin, felt driven to quit although, it wasn't realistic for my situation.
Mindset is everything.
And even when it feels like your world has fallen apart and your life sucks, changing your mindset can help you out of a funk.
The mindfulness journal prompts for challenging negative thoughts below are from my personal journey and the advice I just gave my cousin.
They will help you make the changes you need so that you can feel at peace in a work situation that you aren't yet fully prepared to leave.
What's triggering my unhappiness?
When you ask yourself this question, you can get down to the root of your issue.
The problem might not even be your job at all. It could be that your job represents something else for you like your fear of failure or dreams you've suppressed.
Think about a time when someone lashed out on you because they were having a bad day and you just happened to be there. Well, you might be wrongfully attacking your job in a similar way.
Okay. Maybe it'll sound less weird after I tell my story as an example.
Whenever I’d feel triggered at work, I would add it to my ever-growing sad list of reasons I hated my job.
Then, I would let those thoughts snowball and hating my job would shift into hating my life. I would end up picking my “flaws” apart and using them as reasons I'd never be successful at what I truly wanted.
Then one day, I saw the truth. I was having my annual review with my boss, during which he praised me for my hard work and told me that I'd be receiving both a raise and a bonus.
Sounds great, right?
Nope. The good things didn't register for me.
I was so angry that he called me a "good employee" that I couldn’t focus on anything else.
I was fully triggered.
In this compliments, I heard, "You will never make it in your own business as your own boss."
He didn't say that. He wasn't hinting at that.
He doesn't even know that my business exists and that I've been repeating the mantra: Kevin Stevens (not his real name) is the last boss I'll ever have.
A lightbulb went off in my mind once we ended that call and I realized that I was furious after getting extra money and being told that I was amazing.
When I explored my thoughts and feelings, I realized that I was making myself miserable at work. It was all my fault.
I didn't feel bad about it though because knowing that I was at fault and in control remined me that I possessed the power to clean up my mess.
Fixing your mindset is easy. Figuring out what's wrong with your mindset can be a little tough.
Truth: I wouldn't perform as well as I do if I hated my job.
I learned that the source of my negative mindset was that I was focusing on complaining about working for another person and their dream.
When I would focus on the limited time I have available to work on my own business, I'd replay the loop of "I hate this job" in my mind.
This made my days become more and more miserable as my inner bully told me that I was stuck there and failing at my own business.
My boss is a nice guy, my coworkers mind their businesses, and the work I do feeds the nerdy analytical part of my mind. It isn’t hell on earth at all.
Furthermore, while I would love to have more time to work on my own biz, I am extremely productive within it. I can't remember the last time I didn't get to something that was on my to-do list for the day.
Bottom line, I had been doing A LOT better than I'd realized.
I was able to find gratitude here. Gratitude is extremely important for challenging negative thoughts.
The simple realization that I didn't truly hate my work and that I am still more productive than most new entrepreneurs helped me to let go of my anger and stuckness and I began to celebrate.
So, yes, I encourage you to dig deep and get very real with yourself about why you're unhappy.
What's changed since I got into this position?
Simply put, I grew. I outgrew my job. I think that's common.
Whether you're an entrepreneur like myself or someone who is sick and tired of getting overlooked for promotions, or you're bored and the job doesn't resonate with you. I don’t think humans were meant to remain stagnant.
We are meant to grow and learn. At the end of the day, life is an accumulation of lessons from learning your ABCs to figuring out what you do and don’t like in a spouse, or if you even want a spouse at all.
We’re set up to constantly learn and evolve with our experiences.
You're most likely feeling like you're at your wits end because you outgrew your job in some way.
Explore your feelings in your journal.
How have you changed since getting hired? How has your life changed? How has the job itself changed? What do these changes awaken within you?
Don't focus on what you can't do or what you don't have. Open your mind to new possibilities. Allow yourself to explore your inner world in a way you never have.
What do I really want to do with my life?
Ok, you know what you don't want, but do you know what you do want? I want to be my own boss, do work that challenges my creativity, and enables me to help people heal.
I also want more free time to enjoy my life and the people I love.
Be real with yourself about what you really want here. You're not allowed to complain if you aren't willing to come up with plans and solutions to the things you're complaining about.
You don't need to have a big organized dream or a crystal clear vision of your perfect life, per se. But the only way to get unstuck is to let yourself think and explore beyond your comfort zone.
So really, what do you want?
What’s holding me back?
Once you’ve figured out what you really want, you now have a goal. What’s keeping you from achieving it?
Even if you are doing your absolute best to build your new business, finish school, or work toward another goal that will enable you to leave your dissatisfying job, there could still be something holding you back.
Try to focus your attention on positivity and gratitude for the things you have in your life and your ability to create the things you want, but have yet to receive.
Practicing affirmations can help you a lot with this.
And if you haven’t made any moves toward changing your situation, why not? Identify limiting beliefs that are keeping you stuck and then refuse to continue carrying them with you.
Remember that you are in control here, not your fears. Refuse to allow the word “can’t” and anything like it to take up space in your mind.
Take Your Power Back
Whenever someone tells me about a life situation they’re unhappy with or feel stuck within, I ask them what they plan on doing about it. They usually don’t have an answer.
Somewhere along the line, most of us were programmed into thinking that we just have to deal with being miserable. This makes us seek out ways to cope and numb our pain instead of taking productive measures to stop it and move on.
If we want to see a difference in our lives, we first need to understand that we have the power to make any type of change we want without approval or permission from anyone else.
With that empowerment, we can move on and start figuring out what will truly make us happy.
If you’re feeling stuck at a job that makes you feel like crap, what are you building so that you don’t have to remain dependent on it for the rest of your life?
Are you building a business? Are you taking a course to qualify for another position?
Here’s an affirmation for you to repeat: “I am strong. I am intelligent. I am in control of my life.”
Now, make it real.
If these mindfulness journal prompts for challenging negative thoughts helped with your situation, make sure you come back next week. I publish a new blog post with tips and inspiration like this every Wednesday!