5 Steps to Free Your Mind of Negativity Once and For All
Negative thoughts do much more than stress us out and send us through spirals of endless (and often pointless) worry, it can be bad for our health too. Much research has focused on the potentially dangerous effects of too much stress on our minds and bodies, but freeing your mind from negative thought is much easier said than done.
What follows are five things you can do to begin to free your mind of negative thought and reap the benefits of a positive outlook.
One of the best ways you can free yourself from endless streams of negative thought is to begin to cultivate and practice mindfulness. Real scientific research is showing what many of us have long understood: changing perspective and being more conscious in our lives has a profoundly positive impact on our mental and emotional wellbeing.
Mindfulness is the practice of really being aware of something. Rather than reacting to a situation or feeling, the mindful individual calmly examines the situation or feeling, accepts it for what it is, and seeks to remove judgment from our view of our world and ourselves.
When you have a negative thought, rather than react, you simply view the thought for what it is and what physical sensations the thought produces, which takes the power away from the thought, making it much easier to release it.
It is hard to be negative if you are focusing on the positive. Positive psychology has shown us just how powerful an attitute of gratitude can be on our mental health and wellbeing. When we consciously focus our thoughts on the things that are good in our life, the things or people that we have to be grateful or thankful for, negative thought begins to take a much lesser spot in your thoughts, and, eventually, those thoughts won’t find a welcome space in your head at all.
A gratitude journal and regular, conscious efforts to tell those around you how grateful you are for their presence in your life, will help this type of thinking become a healthy habit.
Being grateful does not just mean giving thanks to the positive elements and people in our lives. It requires a shift in overall perception and perspective. Grateful thoughts allow us to look at our past, even painful events, through a different lens or light. When we can find even the smallest scrap of good in the sea of bad, we can grab hold and not let go. We have that choice, so choose to be thankful, choose to be grateful.
Be Free to Be You
One of the biggest problems we face in this life is self-acceptance. We give so much credence to what other people think, or more commonly, what we think other people think. These assumptions and outside opinions can cause all sorts of issues internally. However, in the end, you are the one you have to live with day in and day out, isn’t it about time that you start to accept that you are who you are? This doesn’t mean that you should not bother to try to improve bad habits, but that you should begin to view yourself through the grateful lens as well. Non-judgment is powerful here too.
Distractions Can Be Good
Distractions are a double-edged sword. It is important that we not become so distracted that we lose sight of our goals in life, but we can also distract ourselves, positively, from negative thoughts. We have the power to change the way we think and healthful distractions can be a proverbial tool in our arsenal against negative thought.
When you feel negative thoughts creeping in, read your gratitude journal, take a walk outside, work on deep breathing, pet your cat or dog, or stop and try to quietly reflect, even just for five minutes. You can, in a way, break the spell that negative thoughts can have over you by distracting yourself from them, even just briefly.
Learn to Release Your Thoughts
One of the hardest things for humans in modern times to understand is that we are not our thoughts. I will say this again because it is true and incredibly important: we are NOT our thoughts. Our thoughts are just one functional element of what makes up who we are. Thoughts are not our values, our soul, or our goodness, they are mental processes for sorting out information and sometimes, these processes become maladaptive.
So often we fight our thoughts, which ends up being counterproductive, as it causes us to expend more energy on our negative thoughts that we should. One of the biggest parts of mindfulness, honest acceptance, will be really helpful here. Rather than trying to push our thoughts away, we need to learn how to assess them, accept that they are there, and them allow them to go on their way out of our heads. We actually halt the escape process, if you will, when we try to fight our negative thoughts.
We are one of the biggest obstacles to our own happiness. Negative thoughts are exhausting, they interfere with our happiness, and they can limit our potential. There are many ways to remove this element from your life, but it takes constant and conscious effort. Without this effort, negative thoughts will easily creep back in to your mind and quickly take over again. Whether you practice mindfulness, always remind yourself to be grateful, become okay with who and what you are, learn healthy distractions, how to release your thoughts, or a combination of any of these, you gain valuable tools that allow you to eliminate negative thoughts from your life.
Without negative thought, barriers and limitations that are self-imposed will begin to disappear. Being burdened by negative thoughts is physically and emotionally exhausting and it can severely hamper our ability to be happy and enjoy life. Take back control from your negative thoughts and use these techniques to banish them from your head once and for all, so you can begin to live life to it’s fullest.
Get Help With Your Stress and Happiness Levels
If you’re having trouble unwinding, try our guided meditation: Relax and Be Happy. In this 17 minute audio file, you will be gently guided down a winding path in your imagination and onto a relaxing beach where you will be encouraged to breathe stress away, learn to relax your body and begin to tap into those wonderful internal resources we all have.
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