Episode 42: Reframing Negative Thoughts

by | Sep 1, 2022


Really didn’t mean to start crying there, but I think we should probably leave it in.

(Censored). Still gets me.

Seriously, if people could actually read our minds, they’d probably think we were nuts. And if you’re anything like me, you probably think yourself a bit bonkers some days. Our mind is our most powerful tool, yet we aren’t taught how to manage it. Now that is crazy. So this month on the Samantha Leith Show, we’re going to take a squeeze at the chaos and learn some ways to manage our minds.

How are you going looking at your thoughts? It’s fascinating, isn’t it? Okay. That’s my thought about this stuff. You, my friend, may be thinking that this is all way too deep and meaningful or a complete waste of time. See, just another thought. What we’re doing is still the same. Everything is subjective. There is no one definition of perfection because we will all think something different. But if you don’t agree that JLo and Beyonce are examples of perfection, then we need to have a chat.

Change your thoughts, and you change your world. Norman Vincent Peale said that and the Buddha is quoted as saying, “We are shaped by our thoughts. We become what we think.” Both of these statements are true. Everything in the universe is at first a thought. This dress, the camera, the car I drive, the energy that I have today. I thought about that first. Every moment of our lives includes and is influenced by our thoughts. So isn’t it our duty to make them as extraordinary as possible?

If we can reframe our negative thoughts into more positive ones, surely we will in turn be more positive. Yep, even our ANTs, or our automatic negative thoughts, can be worked on. I’m not talking toxic positivity here. There are some circumstances that are crap and negative and if you Pollyana them, it’s false. It’s a bit like trying to make that dog crap you stood on covered in glitter. You can dress it up all you like, but it’s still shit.

Back in Episode 41, we looked at knowing if a thought was true. So go back and watch it if you missed it. Even if a thought is true, if it’s negative, we can work on it. The magic is that what we think more of becomes more powerful. So giving power to negative thoughts will make you think more negatively. We’ve all had that day. It was cold and you had a late night. You lay there thinking, “I don’t want to get out of bed,” because you’re too tired and you’re an idiot for going out last night. And to top it all off, see, life would’ve been much better if you worked for yourself and you could just decide to sleep in. You force yourself up. Over breakfast you remember that your friend kept you up later, chatting more than you wanted. And that was mean. Now you’re thinking of all the times they’ve pissed you off. Your kids wake up and, God, they’re noisy. You think doesn’t anybody care about you. They send you on a huff all morning, searching for evidence in your mind of times people haven’t cared. Next thing you know, it’s bad traffic, followed by breaking a heel in the pavement. Your boss gives you a crazy deadline. And burning the dinner when you finally get home in that messy kitchen, because yep, your family clearly don’t love you enough to tidy up.

Wowser. If in that second, you were thinking you were too tired and an idiot, et cetera, you had instead thought how great it was to catch up with your friend. They talked so much and they clearly needed it. And they’re important to you, so you’re glad you could be there, and hey, it’s only sleep. You’ll take it a bit easier today, grab takeout, and make it a fun early movie night with the kids. Imagine what a different day you would have had.

Flipping a thought is a four stage process. When the negative thought is taking up that precious space, ask yourself, “Is this thought true? Is this thought important? Is this thought helpful?” If the thought is negative but helpful or important, how can you use this new understanding to improve your thinking? If the thought is negative or not important, can you simply ditch the thought? Yes, this may sound oversimplified, but sometimes it really is actually all it takes. A lot of the time, though, you do need to do a wee bit of work to flip it. All you need to do is ask yourself, “What would be a better thought for me to have right now?” That list you’ve been working on of your common thoughts, grab it and give it a go. It’s your brain. So make it a place for all the good and exciting and positive in your world. Don’t leave it dark and growing mushrooms. Here are some simple flips for you.

This is too hard. This is a good challenge for me. I can’t cook. I’m getting better in the kitchen. The traffic is always bad. Maybe I could talk to my boss about a better start time. My kids never listen to me. How can I help my kids to communicate better? Sometimes you need to flip in stages. And if you’ve got kids, I’d actually suggest doing this with them and make it a bit of fun. The earlier we can teach our kids to create better thoughts, the, huh, better. Maybe grab some paper, Post-it Notes, or the worksheet and write out some of your most common, negative thoughts.

Then on another color, or with another color, write a softer thought. See like going step, step, step. Then on another one, so we’ve got three bits here. What is the dreamiest most positive thought? It’s a bit like the mirror exercise way back in episode seven. It’s pretty impossible to go from, “I hate my body,” to, “I love my body.” But you can probably go to loving or appreciating a part of your body. “I love my eyes because they get to see the world and help me to connect with people.”

I got to be honest. I had to do some major flipping myself this month. I’ve put on a bit of weight and I don’t like it. My thought was, “I can’t film the show because I’ve put on weight and who would listen to a life coach that’s put on weight? If I can’t get my own shit together, how on earth can I help other people?” I know, bonkers. People did not stop listening to Oprah when she went up and down the scales. What’s crazy is the thoughts had nothing to do with what I looked like.

They were all based on how I’d let myself, and by some strange connection, others down, by taking my eye off the ball. Yeah, it’s true. I have put on weight. Is it true that people will stop paying attention? No. Okay, some might, but that probably has more to do with their thinking than the size of my ass. Can I get my shit together? Hell, yes. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. And finally me showing up and being honest about my journey and how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking is a great thing for anyone watching this. I’m real.

This year has had many negative circumstances for me. Some have caused thoughts I’ve been able to flip and others have been harder, or, well, I haven’t been able to. Earlier this year I was lifting weights, I was running up stairs, doing 5Ks, and feeling fabulous. I loved exercise, finally at 47. Then I got COVID and it really knocked me and sent my heart rate soaring. Then we had all the rains, and my house got damaged, and more rain and more rain. These things in combination led to me not sticking to my routine, which you get the picture, led to me standing here. Yep, put on weight. And I’ll sort that out.

I tell you all of this because my thoughts of the time were, I’m being lazy. See, I’ll always be fat. I don’t deserve success. I’m a failure.” Then I went to the cardiologist because of my resting tachycardia. She did every test under the sun and gave me a clean bill of health to start exercising again, which I have done. I burst into tears in her office. The words, “I was so scared I was going to have a heart attack and leave my daughter,” shit, poured out of my mouth.

That was my underlying thought and I didn’t even know it. That’s why it’s so important to do this work. Dig, find the truth in your thoughts, and create better ones, ones that will support you to live the extraordinary life that I know that you can.

Thank you for watching this week’s episode of the Samantha Leith Show with me, Samantha Leith. If you’ve liked any of these episodes, I’d love it if you subscribed, shared, or commented because it really helps. And if you want some more support with managing your mind, tag me on social media @SamanthaLeith and let’s have a chat. Remember those thoughts that take up that space between our ears are capable of supporting our fabulousness or bringing us crashing down. And you, my dear, are in the driver’s seat.


Produced by Rebecca Saunders and Pyrmont Studios

If you could read my mind
Songwriters: Gordon Lightfoot
© Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Produced by Samantha Leith / Michael Tan
Vocals by Samantha Leith

blond woman in a black sequined jumpsuit singing and dancing on a cabaret stage
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