Energy flows where attention goes
Negative thoughts have no power over us unless we choose otherwise. However, negative (toxic) thoughts don’t define who we are. It has absolutely nothing to do with our character and what we are as a person.
Negative thoughts catalyze the drama and unprecedented problems in your life because when you think negative your actions somehow will follow, ‘energy flows where attention goes.’ Granting too much power to negative thoughts is bound to cause damage.
Your thoughts can make you your worst enemy. Luckily, we are granted the power to choose one thought over another and it is true that the Negative thoughts can hang around for a long time, we can still reframe them or change them by adopting some ‘healthy for mind’ habits.
Ways to get rid of negative thoughts
1. Watch your thoughts
When negative thoughts start clouding your mind just take a seat in the far back of your mind and observe the thought. Just like you would sit on a chair on your balcony in the month of June and watch the clouds as they display different shapes.
According to psychologists and psychiatrists, negative thoughts are results of irrational thought patterns. You need medication or some therapy for this but you just need to sit back and observe as these thoughts unfold, when you do this, you won’t allow them any room.
2. Avoid over thinking.
Thinking over and over about a problem won’t solve it. Unless you put some effort your problems will remain and just over thinking about it will make you panic and lose hold of the situation.
How to get rid of this?
Whenever such thoughts appear in your mind, observe it and note it down on a paper, adjacent to it write down the solution for it, do this every time such ruminations occur in your mind and at the end of the week or month count the iteration of the problem and look at the solution.
Now ask yourself is the problem worth your stress?
If you answer ‘no’, go and read the first point again.
3. Erase the hypothetical problems
In the early 2000’s we had a joke ‘I have 99 problems and 95 of them don’t even exist’. This is what over thinking and negative thoughts do to you, you worry about problems that don’t even exist, you imagine hypothetical situations in your brain and start stressing over it.
For example, if you are always thinking “I am ugly” you should first assess the evidence and seek a solution (if the problem even exists in the first place.)
Once again you will observe and note, create two columns (A) write supporting proof that you’re ugly, e.g., No one approaches you, no one wants to be friends with you, etc. in column (B) write evidence contrary to the problem, e.g., compliments from your friends and family, etc.
So after completion of the chart can you say with confidence that you’re ugly? Maybe you never approached anyone or didn’t allow them to. If you lock yourself in a room you will obviously be alone. And if you’re dark or fat or too thin, that doesn’t make you ugly. You’re beautiful the way you are.
4. Mindfulness to avoid negative thoughts.
Mindfulness in defined as the state of being conscious or aware of something. Consciousness can be the worst enemy of negative thoughts. Mindfulness is not something associated with the meditation gurus, it is common and should be common. We need to be more mindful in our day to day to life, not just to avoid negative thoughts but also to be optimistic, calm and focused.
How to practice mindfulness? One simple technique suggested by Christopher Bergland, a three-time champion of the Triple Ironman triathlon and scientist- “Stop, take a deep breath and think about your thinking.”
For people seeking proper practice, structured mindfulness meditations techniques exist such as Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MSBR).
The goal is to observe your thoughts before turning them into actions or words.
5. Don’t react quickly, be patient.
Thoughts like temporary and negative thoughts are no exception. Moreover, they are powerless unless you want to provide them with the power to harm you.
Don’t let the thoughts take over you, no matter how negative the thought is, understand that it is temporary and powerless without your action.
Remind yourself that these are negative thought and you won’t empower them.
Another way to realize the power of your brain is exercising the power to choose one though over another.