Thursday, April 18, 2013

How to Deal with Negative Thoughts and Emotions: a Quick, Simple and Effective Technique

Three Steps for Eliminating Negative Thoughts

1.Catch the thought or emotion and mentally say "Cancel."
2.Breathe in to the count of 5 and out to the count of 10 while focusing just above your right eyebrow and mentally saying "Thank you."
3.Repeat a mantra which you have pre-selected that inserts a positive thought.

All emotions are generated by thoughts.
These thoughts may be below the level of your awareness. If so, then the second step is to become aware of the thoughts that are generating the emotions.
Emotions are usually what we are aware of. We feel angry, depressed, irritated, etc. These emotions are the signals that we can use to bring our thoughts to awareness.
The first step, then, is to name the negative emotions. Even if you can't bring the thought to your awareness, the emotion will do. Therefore, whenever you are feeling something you don't want to feel, start the process described below.
That said, we will deal in this hub only with thoughts. What is a negative thought? A negative thought for the purposes of this writing is any thought that is "unwanted" or that causes you to have an "unwanted emotion."

Also, you should know that what we all think of as "our" thoughts are simply thoughts generated by our brains. There is nothing exclusive about your thoughts; everybody has such thoughts.

You are not a "bad" person when such thoughts are generated by your brain. The example I read once was thoughts are like birds, they fly around, they light on a branch, and if you don't entertain them, they will fly off quickly.

Why then do we entertain some thoughts and not others. That's a question for a hub all by itself, but the quick answer is that, according to Jungian psychology, we entertain those thoughts which are magnetically drawn to our complexes. Ridding ourselves of our complexes is a long and difficult, but very rewarding work. But we are not going to deal with that here.

Simply know that all of us have negative thoughts generated by our brains, that they will disappear quickly if we don't engage them with our minds, and that there is a quick, simply, and effective way for not engaging them.

Step 1:

Catching the thought that has generated the negative emotion requires, at first, constant vigilance, but with a little practice it becomes much easier. Like creating any new habit, changing our thoughts seems harder at first and easier once the pathway is created in the brain. Mentally saying "Cancel," uses the ego's "veto" power and engages your mind to override the constant flow of thoughts that is being generated by your brain. The brain is passive, but the mind is active and can override what the brain is generating.

Step 2:

Breathing in to the count of 5 and out to the count of 10 activates the parasympathetic nervous system which slows the heart rate and calms us down. Negative thoughts will generally cause the heart to beat faster, putting us in the "flight or fight" loop and preparing us for an emergency. A negative thought is not a saber-toothed tiger; it's a piece of cheesecake. We can stay relaxed and still deal with it, once we learn to activate the "pause and plan" loop. I'm not sure what focusing above the right eyebrow does, but it works for me, so try it. Saying "Thank you," to ourselves keeps us from beating up on ourselves for having the negative thought. It's a reminder that this is an opportunity for growth, not a cause for a beating.

Step 3:

Have your mantra ready so that you won't have to think of one in the moment and slow down the process. Any short saying that you resonate with positively will do: "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." Or "God's in his heaven; all's right with the world." Or "Infinite intelligence guides and directs me." Doesn't matter, as long as it creates a positive emotion in you. Be aware, however, that mantras eventually lose their power and you may need to switch to a different one, so have a few handy.

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