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A new way to challenge your negative thoughts

Today’s tip: When you’re having negative thoughts, ask yourself, “What would a happy person do?”

The one question that helps the writer Janine Davis shift her vantage point instantly: Whenever she’s having negative thoughts, she asks herself, “What would a happy person do?” And then she makes the same choice.

It sounds almost too simple to work, but there’s a scientific reason why it’s effective: You’re interrupting thoughts in the part of your brain that drives habitual behaviors, and moving those thoughts to your prefrontal cortex, where your decision-making happens.

Try your own version of the question for whatever perspective you’re hoping to gain. Ask yourself: What would a brave person do? What would a productive person do? What would a calm person do? Then do the same. Eventually, you’ll stop asking the question, because the person you’re imagining will be you.

📚 More from Forge on taking control of your emotions:

Strategies to Pull Yourself Out of a Bad Mood
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Preparing for the Worst Makes Things Worse
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How to Strengthen Your Emotional Immune System
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