How to Banish Negative Thoughts

Who doesn’t have negative thoughts now and then? But what if you had a negative thought which was pervasive and constant? Would you know how to get rid of it? Fortunately, there are many methods available to get rid of incessant negative chatter in our heads.

Here is an effective step-by-step process that will work if you use it regularly. As our ongoing example in this process, we’ll use the negative thought, “I’m too dumb to do anything right.”

  1. Turn the thought into a mental image. Imagine looking and acting completely silly. Create the most exaggerated image of yourself you can. Start by envisioning yourself in ridiculous clothes that don’t match.
    • Maybe you’re also banging your head against the wall or doing other foolish things. You could also be shouting silly phrases that don’t make any sense. The image should be clearly visible on your mental screen. Include sounds, smells, and physical sensations as well. Keep at this until the original thought brings up this new image.
  2. Choose an alternative thought. For our example, a good replacement thought would be, “I’m so intelligent I can do anything.”Choose something that is the opposite of the original negative thought. Select a phrase that feels right to you, through your whole body.
  3. Turn the new, positive thought into a mental image.You might imagine yourself dressed like Albert Einstein, shouting, “I’m brilliant. I can do anything.” Again, make the image outrageous. Keep at it until the positive thought automatically brings up that image.
  4. Link the two images together. Now, imagine a way to get from your negative image to your positive image. This is almost like you’re the director of a movie; you want to find a way to connect the opening and the closing scenes.
  • Perhaps in the first scene, you could imagine the image of the “dumb” version of yourself being struck by lightning and catching on fire. Then the new, Albert Einstein version of you rises from the ashes and goes into his “I’m brilliant. I can do anything”routine.
  • Keep practicing until you run the entire scene in your mind quickly, with no hitches. This should take fewer than 2 seconds from start to finish.
  • Test out your new mental connections. When you think the original negative thought, the entire scene should flash through your mind. Your mental process should end with the moment where you’re thinking, “I’m so brilliant. I can do anything.” If you’re not there yet, repeat Step 4 until you are.

Although this may seem silly to you, this is a common mnemonic technique. The imagery must be outrageous. This makes your memory’s work much easier.

Also, play around with the perspective. Most people find it helpful to view everything in the third person, as if they were spectators watching themselves in a movie. But you may prefer imagining things from a first-person perspective, in which everything happens to you, as it would in everyday life. Try both perspectives to determine which works better for you.

If you systematically deal with all your negative thoughts, you’ll eventually find that you have very few left. Imagine how your life could change! What might you do that you’ve always been too afraid to try? Now you’ll have the courage to do just that.

Beat Anxiety Without Medication

When anxiety hits you, it can be terrifying. The panic and frightening thoughts coupled with physical symptoms may lead you to believe that you’re having a heart attack or suffering from a terrible disease, when in reality, you’re perfectly healthy!

Anxiety can often cause you to have an exaggerated nervous system reaction to common stressors that others are able to ignore.

If you’re one of the millions who struggle with anxiety, the good news is that you can feel better, even without medication. You can take positive action on your own to get a handle on your anxiety and feel more in control. Of course, especially if your symptoms are debilitating, please consult your doctor or other health professional for their advice.

Both your mind and body are involved in anxiety. It’s a vicious circle: the constant worrying and negative thoughts can produce physical symptoms, which can cause more anxious thoughts. It becomes a pattern that can be challenging to break free of.

But when you’re able to overcome this challenge, it’s well worth the effort! Tackle your anxiety on both the physical and mental levels today by practicing these 10 strategies.

Physical Ways to Lower Anxiety

Try these tips to physically lower your anxiety levels:

1.      Breathe. If you’re breathing from the top of your chest and not from your abdomen, you might be making yourself more nervous. Breathe from your diaphragm and take full, deep, slow breaths.

2.      Get moving. Use up that extra energy and adrenaline that your body produces. If you don’t, it can build up and make you more nervous. By getting frequent exercise, you’ll prevent your body from storing excess adrenaline.

3.      Sit still. It’s important to exercise, but sometimes it’s more effective to be still. If you usually run from a panic attack or anxiety episode, force yourself to stay where you are and focus on your relaxation techniques, like deep breathing, to help prevent your impending anxiety.

  • The anxiety might get worse for a moment, but you’ll be calmer after a few minutes and you’ll be more prepared the next time you face anxiety.

4.      Distract yourself. It’s hard to think about feeling nervous when you’re actively engaged in other activities. Help others, play a game, or do something else that requires your total concentration as soon as you start to feel anxious.

5.      Get in shape. Being physically fit can help you feel better about your health and reduce anxiety. It’s not a quick fix, but more of a long-term goal that you can actively pursue. Staying in good physical condition goes a long way in preventing anxiety.

Mental Ways to Lower Anxiety

A positive mental attitude is just as important as using physical techniques to help overcome your anxiety. There are many ways you can use your mental resources to find peace and calm amidst the chaos of anxiety.

Follow these techniques to tackle your anxiety on a mental level:

1.      Educate yourself. It’s hard to battle something you don’t understand. Learn about your condition so you have a better understanding of what you’re facing.

2.      Use the stop sign. Imagine a big stop sign in your head when you start to have anxious thoughts. The stop sign technique is a great place to start.

3.      Network. Talking to others with anxiety can help you feel more “normal” and bring you additional strategies that have worked for others in your same situation. Reach out to others!

4.      Set aside a worry time. If you allot a few minutes each day at a set time and give yourself permission to worry only at that time, you’ll soon find that it becomes a chore – making you worry less. By only allowing yourself to worry for a short period, you can program your mind to actually worry less.

5.      Offer yourself affirmations. Say positive statements to yourself each day to help you stay strong and brave. For example: “I am a valuable and worthy person, and I have much to offer to the world.”

No matter how long you’ve had anxiety, you can do something about it. When you apply both mental and physical techniques to getting better, you’ll soon find that you – not your anxiety – are the one in control!

Attracting Positive Relationships

Positive RelationshipsAttracting relationships that are good for you and of course the other person is very important. Have you ever asked yourself the following question? “Do I attract bad relationships or positive ones?” The answer to that question can be very enlightening especially when the ultimate goal is to attract positive relationships.

Here are few steps that could really help you in this process:

Know – Know that you deserve a wonderful and loving relationship. You are worth the time it takes to invest in those that will love and nurture you. Don’t feel that you cannot have what you need. You can!

Positive Thoughts – You’ll be amazed at how your actual thoughts can attract individuals around you. Think positively and you will attract positive people around you. Negative thoughts only drag the negative around you.

Patience – Be patient, love yourself in the meantime. You will not find everything you need in a relationship overnight. You have to spend time getting to know yourself and nurturing yourself in order to be ready to thrive in a relationship with others. When you find a relationship that seems like a great one – don’t rush it – let it unfold naturally. You will not regret it. Pushing can force the person to leave. No one wants to be pushed relax, slow down, and enjoy it.

Transparency – If you are not honest with yourself – others can sense that. They will push away from you because if you are not honest with yourself, how can you be honest with them? Being genuine with others and letting them in your life (your REAL life) will make them want to invest time in you. Who wants to spend time with a fake person?

Cherish – Cherish the relationships you have and let them know that you do. Taking care of each other in this life is so important and makes everything worthwhile. Whatever relationships you have, cherish them!

Cut-Offs - Don’t let the funky stuff hang around. Don’t keep people or items around that makes you go downhill. Get the garbage cleaned out of your life so that you have room for the beautiful things. You wouldn’t paint a beautiful painting only to let someone eat a big messy meal right on top of it would you? Remember you must clear the negative to make way for the positive relationships you need in your life.

Nothing worthwhile comes easily but it always tastes sweeter than the short-cut alternative. Pass up those short-cuts and push through for the golden ones.