3 Techniques for Breaking Negative Patterns

old habits and new habits written on a sandy shore

We all have negative patterns, actions, thoughts, and beliefs that stand between us and the deepest desires and dreams in our hearts.

If you feel like you’re stuck in a negative pattern or habit, I want you to know that you’re not alone and you can be set free. Change is possible for all of us. There are several techniques and habits you can use that are easy, effective, and proven to help you reverse negative patterns and get unstuck once and for all.

Here Are 3 Techniques for Breaking Negative Patterns

  1. EFT

The first is called Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT for short. This is a form of self-acupressure designed to release negative emotions and patterns and reshape your feelings and thoughts based on the experience you want. It will also release past memories, hurts, fears, and resistance that may be the root cause of the negative pattern you find yourself in.

You utilize EFT through tapping by connecting your index and middle finger to gently tap on different points of your body while saying a phrase that you want to reinforce and commit to long-term memory to direct your actions, thoughts, and beliefs.

You’ll start with two fingers tapping on the outside of your palm, right under your pinky, then move to your forehead between your eyebrows. You then tap on the outside of your eyebrow, under your eye, at the base of your nose, move to your chin, your collarbone, tap under your armpit on the side of your body, and then tap on the top of your head. That’s called one round of tapping, you can switch hands each round, or stay in one place that seems more tender than the others.

Think about the negative pattern that you want to change, what is the experience you want instead? I personally use EFT for my self-confidence and self-care as I have a habit of over-giving myself and my time to the point of burnout.

Here’s a concrete example of what I personally tap on every day, “I am strong, I have healthy boundaries, I can say no without guilt, it’s safe for me to ask for help, I take excellent care of myself, I’m doing enough, I’m right where I need to be, I am focused, I respect what my body tells me, and I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”

Create your own script with positive affirmations that counteract your negative patterns to train your mind that what you’re saying is true, possible, and what you want your reality to be.

  1. NLP

The second is called Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP for short, and was co-created by Richard Bandler. This technique provides practical ways in which you can change the way that you think, view past events, and approach your life. It reinforces the idea that you can control your thoughts and beliefs, and change your emotions and feelings to break negative patterns.

Challenge the negative beliefs you have about yourself with a simple question, “How do I know I can’t do that?” Sometimes that belief comes from an outside source, perhaps in the form of bullying as someone reinforced this negative feeling and put that belief on you. The good news is you can ask yourself, “Do I really want to believe that about myself? Do I think that’s true? Does it need to stay in my mind?”

The key to NLP is to ask the right questions and combine it with visualizations to counteract your negative pattern. Ask yourself these three simple questions or better yet write them down. Start with “Why do I want to change?” then visualize “What will life be like when I have changed?” and finally “What do I need to do more or less of in order to change?”

By understanding what you want, declaring what you will get when it has happened, and then being specific about the actions you need to take, you are empowering your feelings and beliefs to break negative patterns.

  1. Anchoring

The third technique is anchoring, placing physical things in your environment to see on a daily basis to reinforce what you want. This is done by simply writing down a phrase that supports the action you need to take in order to get what you want. They can be written down on a piece of paper, placed in a digital calendar, or set up as reminders on your phone.

If you’re feeling stuck, start with something like this or use this exact phrase. “I am confident, I am beautiful, I am capable of easily handling any problem that comes my way, and I am able to create time to take excellent care of myself.” Take your anchors and put them in your home, on your phone, or on your calendar to read and say out loud on a daily basis.

Repeating what you want to feel and think will help you break negative patterns and change your everyday life for the better.

It’s all about knowing what you want and getting that new ideal in front of your eyes and in your mind every single day. Repetition makes it a reality.

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* This article was originally published on September 1, 2018.

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