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Your thoughts have tremendous power over you. They create your feelings, which in turn create the tenor and productivity of your day. Your emotional feelings also impact your physical feelings. They can make you feel full of energy and creativity. Or they can drag you down, make you lethargic or exhausted. They can even make you sick.

Put a rubber band around your wrist.

Throughout your day, when you notice the rubber band, stop for a moment and examine the thoughts you were just thinking. Were they positive, neutral, or negative?

As you examine your thoughts, also pay attention to how you feel. Are you calm? Agitated? Anxious? Irritated? Energized?

Take a moment to jot down your thoughts and feelings when you do this. For a full week, keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings when you stop to examine them. It will be eye-opening.

Most of us have far more negative or neutral thoughts than positive.

Your thoughts have tremendous power over you. They create your feelings, which in turn create the tenor and productivity of your day. Your emotional feelings also impact your physical feelings. They can make you feel full of energy and creativity. Or they can drag you down, make you lethargic or exhausted. They can even make you sick.

Dozens of studies have proven how obsessive negative ruminating creates a self-defeating cycle that retards the body’s healing process. Even negative thinking about possible negative outcomes can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Take the “nocebo” effect for example. This is the dark side of the placebo effect (in which patients recover or have positive results even when taking a sugar pill). The nocebo effect was evident when patients in double-blinded clinical trials were warned about side effects they may experience with the real drug. Approximately 25% experienced sometimes severe side effects, even when just taking sugar pills.

Your thoughts have the power to create your life. And you have the power to create your thoughts. Knowing how powerful your thoughts are, you must regain control of them and retrain your brain to think differently. Awareness is the first step toward change. That’s why the rubber band exercise is so important. It awakens you to the negative dream you’ve been creating for yourself.

Let’s look at 15 common negative thoughts holding you back from health and happiness.