Dislodge Negative Thoughts

Like cancer, negative thinking can kill! It can kill and destroy our whole future. Negative thoughts affect the mind, body, and emotions and impede our efforts to find happiness.

Our belief affects the way we feel. We get angry by having angry thoughts. It is impossible to feel sad without sad thoughts. Unhappiness does not and cannot exist on its own. Unhappiness is the feeling that accompanies negative thinking.

So how do we overcome negative thoughts? Stop thinking about them! Our negative feelings are results of our own negative thinking. Apart from refraining to think about negative thoughts, we can turn negative thoughts into positive ones.

One effective technique is to learn a whole new set of happy words. These are words that make you feel positive. Other studies refer to these as “Positive Adjectives List” from The Apache Method (The Antidotal Positive Adjectives Character and Happiness Enhancement Method)

According to this particular study, which is based on Emmet Velton’s classic paper, “There has been a body of research empirically validating our ability to positively or negatively change our moods by reading phrases like “I feel very good” or “I am afraid.”

So, how do we go about dislodging thoughts of unhappiness?

1. Be aware. We have to catch ourselves when we are about to indulge in negative thinking. In the first few days, we have to be very vigilant.

2. As soon as we feel the onset of an unpleasant emotion, we have to identify it as precisely as possible. Is it hatred? Hurt? Fear? Anxiety? Discontent? This is a very critical component of the process as related to the next step.

3. Search for the exact opposite of the negative emotion. Think of its antonym. For example, the moment we catch ourselves feeling “lazy,” we would call to mind an opposite adjective like “energetic.” We would then say to ourselves, “I feel energetic.”

If we view ourselves as “pessimistic”, we say “I am hopeful.” If we feel we are “incompetent’, we say “I feel ingenious.” What do we say if we see ourselves as “unmindful”? We say, “I am grateful.”

Can we use the same strategy even if we do not feel any unpleasant feelings? Of course! We are encouraged to think and say to ourselves statements like “I feel fabulous” to reinforce our mood, or statements like “I feel strong” or “I feel friendly” in order to enhance our character.

Other people have introduced variations to the said technique. Others say it aloud in front of the mirror every morning for ten minutes for twenty-one days. Saying it aloud increases its effectiveness as it represents emotional involvement. This is the same as expressing positive affirmations and doing self-talk. Others find it more effective by writing the statements on paper, as they become more “physically” involved.

Try it out. It doesn’t matter which way you choose to use. What’s important is that you are aware of the direction your thoughts are going and change it. You’ll see a brighter, more positive you emerge and that is the secret to happiness.

We also have a self improvement blog where Patric Chan shares his personal success secrets and strategies regularly.

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