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Home » Confidence Building, Decision Making, Featured, Headline, Inspirational, Motivation, Problem Solving, Self Esteem

How to Control Negative Thoughts

Submitted by on March 26, 2012 – 12:13 amNo Comment

Author: Tony Fahkry

Like most articles on the internet claiming you can stop negative thinking, my contention and the basis to this article is to suggest otherwise. For trying to stop negative thoughts is like trying to catch water in your hands; the tighter you squeeze, the less water there is to hold.

Understanding how your mind works is the key to understanding the anatomy of thoughts. Our thoughts are part of consciousness and even the collective consciousness (the shared beliefs and attitudes of our collective society).

Many of you reading this are battling your own challenge when it comes to managing negative thinking. You want to break free from the prison in your mind which keeps you locked up, processing the same thought patterns over and over again. You process approximately 70,000 thoughts a day, even during sleep. Many of those thoughts are recycled from the previous day. I use the word pattern to illustrate how your thoughts have a theme to them, much like a play or a movie.

Here are some useful tips and suggestions to improve your ability to recognise and turn down the volume on negative thinking. Some brief background information first of all.

While meditating one night, I noticed my thoughts were similar to having a monkey on my back. That was the image my subconscious mind created when I prompted it to paint a picture of the negative thoughts. It was clinging around my neck; I couldn’t shake it off, no matter how hard I tried. I decided if I can’t get the monkey off my back (negative thoughts), can I live with the monkey and turn down the volume on its incessant chatter? – bingo! Monkey liked that idea and started co-operating.

These days, I imagine the monkey sitting quietly under a tree feeding on bananas, in order to keep it occupied from creating destructive thoughts. Allow your imagination to weave a tapestry of possibilities for you. As Albert Einstein so eloquently stated: “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”

My advice for managing your negative thought patterns:

  • Negative thoughts feed off any stimuli you allow them, much like the monkey in my case. If you entertain thoughts about how fat you look in the mirror, your brain is making neural connections in order to validate that belief. Nerve branches and networks begin firing in order to connect to one another, building a network of thoughts; as the mind believes you will think these thoughts again in the future. Neurologists have a saying which echoes this statement: nerves that fire together wire together.
  • Your thoughts have a theme to them, much like a movie. What would you say is the theme of your thoughts on a daily basis? Is it thinking about the past, present or future? Is it related to your health, career, relationships, sex and money or other? How much time do you spend thinking about these things to the point of exhaustion? Sometimes it feels like you’re stuck in a vortex you can’t break out of – you keep going round and round while being sucked in deeper and deeper. Break the cycle early by not allowing the thoughts to take hold, as mentioned previously. Don’t fuel the thoughts with more of the same thoughts.
  • There is a reason you are having negative thoughts. What is the reason? What are they (the negative thoughts) trying to communicate to you? One of my themed negative thoughts which frighten me into action is: “what if you fail and never fulfill your purpose and dream?” The thought alone sends shivers down my spine, since it means a great deal for me to be living my purpose. The negative thoughts serve to remind me I must continually improve myself and live my purpose NOW, not in the future. The thought is a call to action to get cracking and never give up. What is your negative thought pattern asking you to do or become?
  • Negative thoughts arrive on your mind’s doorstep in batches; much like a virus. They have a mission and that is to infiltrate your mind. They have a policy of ‘whatever it takes.’ So what is the best course of action when a force is advancing in your direction? – work with the force, go with the flow. Being the observer of the thought requires some mental discipline at first. I suggest becoming aware of your thoughts is your best course of action initially. Note the frequency (even keep a diary if it helps). Question the thoughts – is there any truth to the thinking? What is the opposite of that thought? If a bank robber showed up at the teller demanding money, would the teller grab the gun out of his hand? Perhaps not. The teller’s best move would be to hand over the cash (give in to his demand). After the robber’s needs are met then it’s appropriate to take action i.e. call the police (in your case question and challenge the thoughts by bringing them to the forefront of your mind).
  • Here’s an interesting take which involves some Buddhist thinking. Who is doing the thinking? You say “I” am thinking of course. How do you know you are thinking? Prove it! If I asked you to become the observer of the thought, who is observing the observer? Without getting carried away with riddles, you’re challenging the thoughts and in doing so, short circuiting the process. The mind is a tricky one. It loves patterns. It loves to know what’s next, how, when and why. So trick it, like you would a little kid. Given enough practice and patience, it will give up and retreat since you did not fuel the fire by accepting its thought process. By giving up, the mind will continue to bombard you with negative thinking, yet they won’t be so powerfully charged.

So, you cannot stop negative thinking. You may tame your thoughts so they serve you well. You cannot domesticate a wild tiger, since its instinct is to naturally hunt and kill. Your thoughts aren’t as volatile as the tiger of course. Practise patience with tending to your thoughts much like a garden. Identify those weeds (thoughts) which don’t serve you and challenge them. Insert empowering beliefs and thoughts each and every day. Most of all – don’t take yourself or the world too seriously – you are here to learn and grow as a child of the universe.

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About the Author

I am a mind and body health expert as it relates to health & healing, personal growth & self awareness. I lead you to create and maintain lasting health and vitality – more energy to make things happen, create a healthy body to look and feel good permanently, reduce pain and create a NEW health destiny.

I guide and lead you toward achieving your greatest potential. I am beyond a life-coach – I am an integrated mind and body specialist who understands how to remove limitations and obstacles which keep you trapped in the past, feeling unhealthy and uninspired.

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