You allow your mind to wander to the worst-case scenario for just a second, and you end up in a negativity-fueled spiral that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and defeated.
It’s totally normal to let your nerves and worries get the best of you—but it shouldn’t be (and doesn’t have to be) something that gets in the way of your work.
That’s where the Choose Again Method comes in.
Coined by Gabrielle Bernstein, a motivational speaker, life coach, and New York Times Bestselling author, this practice will help pull you out of your negative spiral and foster a much more positive and accepting mindset—both in the workplace and in your personal life.
The Choose Again Method
This deceptively simple way of thinking that Bernstein swears by was made to be put into place any time you’re feeling uncomfortable, stressed, anxious, or frustrated. The goal is to stop the spiral of negativity dead in its tracks while helping you shift naturally to a more positive state—without discounting your feelings of anxiety.
In her book Super Attractor: Methods for Manifesting a Life Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, Bernstein writes, “You may be wondering how you can just shift out of negative thoughts that may have plagued you for years. I assure you that choosing to shift your thoughts doesn’t have to be difficult. It does not matter whether these negative thoughts have been with you for two weeks or twenty years. The simple choice to feel better is enough to put you on a path to what you desire.”
Here, the three simple steps to shifting out of a negative spiral and into a positive mindset. Keep in mind that if your negative thoughts go deeper than a surface-level workplace worry, you don’t have to come out the other side feeling free and ready to take on the world. This practice is designed to help you lift yourself into a more positive place, one step at a time.
1. Notice the thought
The first step in improving your mood and shifting away from the negative hold is to notice the thought in the first place. Taking a step back and consciously taking note of what’s bothering you will help you out of your head and rationally evaluate the problem.
After asking yourself, ‘how do I feel right now?’ Bernstein suggests taking the time to grab a pen and paper and write down whatever is running through your head—especially if you’ve noticed the issue to be more complex than you had initially bargained for. It could be something as simple as, “I have an upcoming meeting with my bosses and I don’t want to mess it up. I’m feeling the pressure to perform and it’s making me feel anxious.”
2. Forgive the thought
Once you’ve narrowed down what’s bothering you and acknowledged that your worries are totally normal, Bernstein suggests actively forgiving yourself for being misaligned and focus on your desire to shed those negative feelings. The negative feelings have allowed you to zero in on exactly what you don’t want (whether it’s to mess up a presentation, to get performance anxiety, etc), and will help you visualize and work on achieving the opposite effect instead (nailing the presentation with confidence).
3. Choose again
Once you’ve come to terms with what’s bothering you, and you’ve made the decision to shift away from the negative spiral, ask yourself, “What is the best-feeling thought I can find right now?” This can be a list of reasons why whatever negative thoughts you have are untrue, or why they can be perceived as a good thing.
For example, if you’re nervous for a presentation, you can remind yourself that your bosses value what you have to share, and therefore value your contributions to the company. Your nervousness may be a sign of the pressure you’re feeling to express your learnings with the company, which shows your committed and engaged with your job. If you felt nothing before a big presentation, that would be another type of worry.
According to Bernstein, our fear often speaks louder than our intuition, so being able to take a step back and acknowledge what’s going on behind the scenes will not only help to pull yourself out of a negative cloud but also pull the curtains on what your larger desires or goals may be.