Raise your hand if you suffer from stinking thinking. 

We’ve all been there and wondered how to deal with negative thoughts. They pop up unexpectedly to take over your life. They drive us towards toxic behavior that leaves behind chaos and destruction in its wake.

And what’s worse is that the more you try to control them, the more uncontrollable they get!

Stinking thinking leads to a series of unfortunate events. You start beating yourself up over everything and anything that goes wrong in life. Then you gradually feel a pull towards things that offer instant gratification.

Everything from drugs, alcohol, and gambling to binge eating becomes a shield against your fears. 

How long can you stay in this situation?

The good news is that you can get out of the situation if you decide to take ownership of your life. The difficult (notice how I use the word difficult and not bad) news is that it can be challenging to show yourself some love, when love is the last thing you feel for yourself.

But you only get one life and being kind to yourself in this lifetime should be a bargain that simply cannot be compromised upon.

This is where coaching and therapy become immensely valuable. This expert guidance helps you learn how to deal with negative thoughts and live a more positive life.

Here’s everything you need to know about stinking thinking:

The Premises: What Is Stinking Thinking?

Stinking thinking is a thought process where negative emotions and fears consume you. They convince you that all your worries, anxiety, and insecurities will come true.

When you feed these fears, they begin to grow. They start blurring the line between reality and assumptions. This leads to uncertainty and lower self-esteem.  When you feel these emotions constantly, each day can become a struggle. You are never content with yourself, the relationships you have, or life in general.

The truth is that these thoughts are human nature. You can’t restrain them because it is a knee-jerk reaction to our life. What matters more is what you do after they cross your mind. Do you let these intrusive thoughts rule your life?

Or, do you fight back?

You can squash and toss away these fears with our two-step process:

  1. Know thy enemy
  2. Practice coping strategies to stay positive

We can break these steps down to identify the pain points and learn how to raise our spirits.

3 Different Types of Stinking Thinking & How to Deal with Them

a board with a quote on positivity

One of the best ways to counterbalance negativity is to flip the switch. That means training your mind to think positive thoughts despite the situation. The only way to achieve this is by identifying the thought process.

You need to realize when you’re unintentionally putting yourself down because of your negative mindset. This self-awareness activates your positive mode.  That way, you can block out stinking thinking and pursue happiness.

Here are three common faces of stinking thinking:

1. The Inner Critic

Imagine going through a bad breakup or never hearing back after an interview. These moments are heartbreaking. This is where your inner critic chimes in to crush your self-esteem.

Negative self-talk leads you to believe that you are worthless. You obsess over the insignificant things because it amplifies your flaws and imperfections. There comes the point where you stop making an effort and doing something constructive.

Whether it is a new career opportunity or a relationship, you feel anxious about taking the next step. All because somewhere inside you, a voice is saying that everything you do is pointless. You don’t realize that something spectacular could be waiting for you on the other side.

How Do You Flip the Switch?

Replace negative chatter by substituting it with positive affirmations. You can do this by giving yourself a pep talk in front of the mirror. Tell yourself that past incidents do not define your life. You are worthy of bigger and greater things.  Surround yourself with people who uplift you and appreciate your presence.

All you have to do is believe in yourself and keep moving forward.

Another tactic is to maintain a gratitude journal or a simple list. Count your blessings, good qualities, and achievements while making this list. Then stick them in plain sight or flip through your gratitude journal whenever you are feeling low.

They will act as a reminder that things are never as bad as they seem and you have a life worth living.

2. Living in the Past

Do you spend an hour before bedtime mulling over the past?

Stinking thinking forces us to go on a guilt trip. You begin to wonder about things you ‘should have done’, ‘could have done’, or ‘would have done’ if you get another chance. This unhealthy thought process fills your mind with regrets and shame.

Often you start fixating on the past to the extent that you forget about your present. It puts your future in jeopardy.  When the next day comes, you keep going back to the day before and think of alternative scenarios where you ‘could have’ reacted/acted differently.

You play the same moments in your mind repeatedly. If you aren’t careful, you may also end up taking drastic measures to break this vicious cycle. This includes everything from numbing your mind with alcohol and drugs to indulging in other unhealthy life choices.

How Do You Flip the Switch?

Trust God’s wisdom and let bygones be bygones. Realize that everything happens for a reason, even if it is unfair. Past mistakes and their consequences are life lessons. They make us stronger and better when we make a change in our life to rectify those incidents and avoid repeating them.

Besides, there is no shame in failure. You need to forgive yourself and the past mistakes for securing a better present and future.

3. The Lies the Devil Weaves

‘An empty mind is a devil’s workshop’

Do you jump to conclusions?

Our overactive imagination and fears have a way of conjuring the worst when there is a hint of foul play. If your child misses curfew, you start ringing them up until they are safe at home. Even if they are only five minutes late, your mind ends up conjuring worst-case scenarios.

You go through a similar sense of distrust and doom when you’re in a relationship. You start getting testy when your significant other avoids you or starts coming in late. These assumptions lead can quickly cause your relationship to deteriorate and end in heartbreak.

Our ego doesn’t let us accept this habit. It plays mind tricks, allowing us to believe in the lies we weave. It causes us to trip over and topple everything in our life. 

How Do You Flip the Switch?

Think of your ego as a process that Edges God Out. You can overcome this mindset through prayers and meditation. This is a battle between our fears vs. faith. Flick the devil off your shoulder by asking God to turn things around you. Have a conversation with Him to stop yourself from embarking on the sinister roads of devilish acts and destruction.

His divine power can provide you with superhuman strength that will keep stinking thinking at bay.

In a Nutshell

In the end, keep an open mind and learn how to deal with negative thoughts through self-love, compassion, and God’s guidance. You need to reflect and look within yourself to discover the positive side of life.

If you ever need professional assistance, then go online. There are ample amount of resources (i.e. podcasts, articles, and webisodes) that can give you a sense of direction.

As a life coach, I am always here to guide you through the process. I can help you set actionable goals and reform your lifestyle choices to master the art of being positive.

So are you ready to kick stinking thinking to the curb?

Let’s go!

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