Say Goodbye to Negative Thoughts!
Erika Krull believes that “When negative thoughts hit your brain, it’s tempting to struggle with them and try to shove a more positive thought in there. In the day-to-day reality of someone’s thinking, this doesn’t really work. Your emotions have a tough grip on these negative thoughts, so you’ll have the best results if you imagine yourself emotionally “letting go” of them. The letting go approach is used in yoga and meditation to help a person stay focused on the present moment.”
When we focus on the negative thoughts, it prevents us from solving the problem. We get trapped in an endless cycle of negativity, which then creates stress, anxiety and depression. These negative feelings hinder our ability to create and act on a plan to resolve the issue. Negative thoughts can actually keep us in the situation that is causing all these feelings. Krull goes on to explain that “The constant stream of negative thoughts in your mind has prevented you from doing any creative problem-solving. Since you’ve now identified your worries about not being in control, however, you are now in the position to take the power out of your negativity.”
Release Negative Thoughts
When we are confronted with negative thoughts it's expected that the first response is to try to push them out of our mind. It's common to want to get rid of the negativity, but Krull suggests that you try something different such as the types of techniques taught in meditation. The idea is that it's actually harder to fight against something, and easier to release and “let go” - Releasing is a far more valuable use of energy and effort. Instead of pushing and fighting with your negative thoughts, you can simply acknowledge them and then let them go.
Krull suggests that you imagine a sheriff in an old Western town who sees a known outlaw calmly stroll the main street. The sheriff remains polite but firmly encourages the outlaw to keep on walking, right out of town. He projects confidence and stays calm. That’s you, acknowledging those negative thoughts while calmly telling them to keep moving along out of your mind.
When we have persistent negative thoughts, it often stems from feeling a loss of control. However, Krull points out that once you can acknowledge the negative thoughts and the feeling of being powerless, you can then let the negative thoughts go. You can release it. Thoughts such as “I should have had this fixed by now,” and “We’re never going to get out of this mess,” don’t have the same power anymore once you learn to let go. When you don’t hang on tightly to each thought, they don’t have much influence over you. They can come in and go out. You may still be concerned about your lack of control, but now the negative thoughts don’t clog up your mind so much.”
By letting go instead, we are not exhausting ourselves with pushing or fighting a negative thought, which will relieve stress. Letting go allows us to be more relaxed, which can allow us to focus on positive thoughts or a solution. Krull explains that “Your mind opens up and stays more relaxed. This also keeps your mind open to receive different thoughts. In fact, it may take a little while for a newer, more positive thought to take root, especially if you have a long-standing habit with negative thinking. Have some patience as you gradually introduce your brain to more positive thinking.” Thought awareness and letting go can help us to focus on the present, allow positive thoughts to grow and for the problem-solving parts of the mind to create solutions.
- Kim B.
I believe that living an existence with a prevailing attitude and practice of negativity is one of the greatest impediments to personal growth and advancement in all of society today.
Negative thoughts hinder our ability to increase our self-confidence and/or self-esteem. A low self-confidence is a prominent characteristic for most everyone that is plagued with anxiety, depression, and the other common disorders. Therefore, I am sure that as many people who suffer from troubling anxiety and depression, that negativity could perhaps be classified, if it hasn’t been already, a disorder all its own. At a very minimum, negativity would be considered a block to our progression on the path of successful personal growth.
I have often encountered people who are very positive, upbeat, cheerful, chipper, or even just plain old happy. I call them perpetual cheerleaders. If you are like me, it is sometimes overwhelmingly disgusting how happy these people are. It sometimes appears as if they never have a bad day, a bad experience, or even one day where things don’t go their way.
However, in my experiences most people fall into the negative category. Living in a world of negativity can do little to encourage personal growth, advancement, or self-confidence. I recently had a conversation with a woman, I will call her ‘Mom’. ‘Mom’ is someone I consider a very negative person. ‘Mom’ was talking about herself and a close personal friend, and she described her friend, in her own words, as a ”glass half-empty” type of person. This was describing her friend as a more negative influence or attitude. ‘Mom’ described herself as a ”glass half-full” kind of gal. ‘Mom’s’ personal description being that she is a positive person of influence or attitude.
However, I know both of the women personally, and my perspective would be that they are both negative. I would personally describe the ”glass half empty” woman as a “glass totally empty” type of personality. I would also describe the self-proclaimed optimistic, positive ‘Mom’, with the ”glass half full” attitude, as a “drop in the glass” type of person or attitude. I did not want to destroy in attempts at recognizing the value of positive thinking for ‘Mom’, so I kept my thoughts to myself.
As for me, I do not claim to be one of the cheerleaders as I described. However, I do not live in perpetual negativity. I, like many others, live with periods, sometimes brief and sometimes not, of negativity. That is, I do not live with the daily mentality of the “sky is falling”. I would love to discover and understand how we can overcome our own negativity. I would love to be able to help others live more positively and promote their personal growth through enlightenment. It always amazes me that most negative people in society believe they are some of the most positive. I wish I were able to explain that, however I have not reached that level of enlightenment as of yet.
Krull, E. (n.d.). Depression and Letting Go of Negative Thoughts. Retrieved January 8, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/depression-and-letting-go-of-negative-thoughts/0003764
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