How can we make the perfect balance between positive and negative thoughts?

That was a trick question. The way to a healthy mental experience is not to control our thoughts. If we try to manipulate our thoughts, we’re being dishonest with ourselves. Not only that but we’d also be fighting an exhausting battle, since the mind has a pretty strong will of its own.

Trying to put all of our inner experiences in rose-colored boxes often either doesn’t work or doesn’t last very long. The truth is, our thoughts are not always positive, and they shouldn’t be. To help us navigate the world and make sound decisions, we need a variety of thoughts, not just positive ones. Right next to the peppy “I can totally do a triathlon!” we also need the sobering “I won’t be able to unless I start training.”

The mind likes to worry, criticize, complain, doubt, regret, downplay, and generally bring us back down to earth. It sometimes even goes too far and keeps us mired in muddy, unhelpful swamps, and in those moments, we could use a positive lift.

Here's a better question to ask yourself: How can I gain better awareness of the tricks my thoughts play, and how do I get out of unhelpful thinking traps for better mental health and more successful living?

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