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A technique to stamp out negative thoughts

by Vidya Sury November 14, 2018 16 comments
How to stamp out negative thoughts

Ever wondered how some people always seem to be positive, no matter what? Even when you expect them to sulk and react and rant?

Happy people have a strategy for staying that way. It is called positive thinking and it is powerful.

Also, much easier said than done.

The thing with life is, some days are good and it is easy to stay motivated, stay positive. Other days, not so much, when nothing seems to go right.

So how do we incorporate the practice of positive thinking into our routine when life’s pretty unpredictable most of the time?

How to stamp out negative thoughts?

There’s a fantastic technique for this and it is called reframing your thoughts. Simply put, you pick out those negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.

It is not unusual to nurture negative thoughts and imagine the worst—and find excuses not to do what we want to do.

However, the truth is, most of these pessimistic thoughts play out only in our heads, not in real life. Unfortunately, they do cause a headache, a dull pain.

Of course, you can reframe just about any thought, but let’s focus on those negative ones, the most common being limiting beliefs and FOMO – and maybe even chronic procrastination.

A step by step guide to stamping out negative thoughts #mindfulness #personaldevelopment #lifelessons

How to stamp out negative thoughts

Step 1

The first step in erasing those negative thoughts is to understand this: your thoughts influence your actions—but the same thoughts are also influenced by your own response to them. Basically, it is how you perceive something and act in response. So, when you think something terrible has happened to you, it is only because YOU see it as terrible.

Not undermining any feelings here because I’d be the first to acknowledge that you have every right to react the way you want – but remember everything has a good side to it.

Step 2

The second step is to be aware that each thought comes with its own hidden frame—this frame is composed of your beliefs and your assumptions that your thoughts imply.

Step 3

Third, every negative thought has a positive intention.

We all have that inner voice that’s constantly holds us back with all kinds of excuses—and even if it isn’t always helpful, the intentions are good.

So, be kind to yourself and identify the positive in those negative thoughts to reframe the situation.

How to stamp out negative thoughts.: Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results. #lifelessons #personaldevelopment #mindfulness

Putting these steps into action

Rephrase your thoughts

Use milder words to describe your thoughts. Rather than “I hate this” maybe “This doesn’t appeal to me”. Which of these expressions make you feel worse?

Focus on the solution

When faced with a challenge you are not sure of accomplishing, why not focus on the solution rather than the problem? How about looking at the best ways to do it? It is a positive way to see the problem surrounded by solutions.

Here’s the thing: when you let fear take over, and act in fear, that fear will overpower you.

What if you didn’t let fear push you into fearful actions?

What if you chose courage?

When you do this, you’ll find that your fear transforms into excitement, which is a completely different context.

See, fear and excitement feel pretty much the same. Our reaction to both these emotions is similar: faster heartbeat, faster breathing and a greater physical awareness.

However, there’s a huge difference in the mental state that comes with fear and that which comes with excitement and this frame of mind is influenced by your experiences.

Let’s say you fear rejection and withdraw into your own thoughts. When you do this, you reinforce what you fear through self-rejection. Right?

But what if you decide to approach what you have to do with confidence, with courage—and give that fear a new context?

When you confront your fear by acting with courage, it seems less like fear and more like excitement.

A quiet shift in perspective is what it takes. Also, affirmations help.

What can you learn from this experience?

Think about what you can learn from this experience. Every challenge comes with its own learning points, so focus on that.

What is the hidden frame about?

Understand the hidden frame behind your thought. Maybe you have a limiting belief that has you tuned to negative thinking, based on your assumptions—which may be true or unjustified. Think about why they may be unjustified and consider getting rid of those limiting beliefs.

Reframing is a great method to stamp out those negative thoughts that hold you back in fear.

As I said earlier, what you focus on influences your thoughts and emotions. So, the more you focus on what’s important, the less those thoughts of fear and worry will come in the way of you thinking positively.

And as you practice this, you’ll feel more confident to face your negative thoughts with courage.

So, the next time a negative thought appears, pause.

Think about what that thought is telling you.

When you find the source of your negative thoughts, you will discover that they lose their power over you.

If you try to suppress them, you won’t understand them and their hold over you will seem stronger.

While positive reframing will not change the situation itself, it will certainly give you a different perspective—and often make the difference in how you approach it and take you closer to your desired outcome.

Reframing helps you get rid of your limiting beliefs, and look on the brighter side of life. Also, who wants to be called a Negative Nancy?

Can you practice reframing your thoughts?

Can you stamp out those negative thoughts?

Can you give your inner critic a rest?

Tell me what you think in the comments!

Wednesday Wisdom is a series with short bursts of easy-to-consume wisdom in the form of stories, quotes, anecdotes, and humor

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Nidhi Garg November 15, 2018 at 7:07 pm

beautifully explained in steps. I am trying to do the same as to come out of any thought which can take me to the downward spiral.

Shailaja Vishwanath November 16, 2018 at 7:45 am

Wholly agree. I firmly believe that we attract what we manifest and for me, that is positivity, kindness and compassion. Making that switch is hard for many people but once we do it, the feeling is incredible and heartwarming. Positive thinking can and does change the world, no matter what anyone else can say about it.

Rachna Parmar November 16, 2018 at 8:22 am

Yes negative thoughts do hit us from time to time. Reframing a thought seems interesting. I thought that one has to completely experience the negative thought and then cast it aside. Let me try the method you’ve mentioned. Like you said, it is not easy.
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Esha M Dutta November 16, 2018 at 1:53 pm

Very handy tips to curb the power of negativity from taking over our minds. I think stamping out the negative thoughts and shutting out the inner critic can do wonders for us if only we take the right step at the right time before negativity begins to overwhelm us. Very thought-provoking post, Vidya. The power to wipe out the negative and bring in the positive is within and we do not need to go look for the solution elsewhere. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post, Vidya.

Vasantha Vivek November 16, 2018 at 6:59 pm

Love this Wednesday Wisdom series. I use positive affirmations to replace my negative thoughts. It works the best for me. And your step by step guide is more helpful for that.

shalzmojo November 17, 2018 at 7:41 am

Whoa- you have mad eit sound so so simple Vidya! Reframing a negative thought – now thats a huge exercise not just for my thought process but personality too. Hmmm! I will most definitely work on this and see how it makes me feel!

Birgit November 18, 2018 at 9:52 pm

Ah, yes, negative thoughts which often claim my mind. It is very hard to turn it around but I can do it…sometimes. I miss my mom and wish I could see her but I talk to her and that makes me feel a bit better. I do try my best but sometimes it just doesn’t work so I experience it for that day and usually I am better the next day. I would love to be positive all the time but, when I have those negative thoughts, it just makes me appreciate my happiness all the more.
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Birgit November 18, 2018 at 9:56 pm

Ok I hope this takes as I wrote this and ..nuttin! I do my best to turn my negative thoughts into positive ones by remembering something good. My mom died as you know, this year and I am sad but I think of things she said or done and that puts a smile on my face. Sometimes I am just feeling blue for that day and I let it happen because I feel like I appreciate the good times even more.

Sandra Pawula November 20, 2018 at 3:21 am

I loved this piece, Vidya. I liked how you acknowledge that reframing thoughts is simple but not necessarily easy. Still, it will make a big difference so totally worth. I also appreciate that you acknowledge the deep patterns, which can underly these thoughts. And, of course, the step by step instructions are perfect.

Vinay Kumar Satyanarayan November 20, 2018 at 9:27 pm

It those fears fetched from past experiences that stress us out the most…the outcome of those previous challenges that make us cringe….it has taken time but I have learnt to come out of those ofthose claustrophobic moments……

Debbie L Hampton November 21, 2018 at 3:43 am

Thought reframing is so powerful. I use it every day. Learning how to work with and challenge my thoughts changed my life. Thank you for this very valuable information.

Cathy Taughinbaugh November 21, 2018 at 10:40 am

Positive thinking can make such a difference in our lives. I like your line about focusing on the solution rather than the problem. Otherwise, I have found, you can get stuck in a negative cycle that is not helpful.

Cathy Taughinbaugh November 21, 2018 at 10:42 am

I appreciate positive thinking as well, Vidya. Focusing on the solution rather than the problem has worked for me. Thanks for your insights here.

Parul Thakur November 22, 2018 at 12:20 pm

Great post and you made it look so easy. I believe that once we believe that only we are capable of changing how we feel, these steps become a lot easy. Reframing is important and I will practice this too.
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G Angela November 23, 2018 at 10:51 am

Vidya I am so glad to read this post, this is beautiful and very relevant post for today’s youth. This is what is taught in CBT – Cognitive Behavior Therapy in counseling. I do use these with my students in the campus, as most of the students come with this problem of not being able to handle too much of negative thinking combined with all forms of aches and pains. Negative thinking is very common among the students as they are coming from various backgrounds they develop fear, anxiety and adjustment issues and start thinking negatively about themselves….. as i keep exploring their thoughts i find most of them are coming from false belief or as you say limiting belief… then I encourage them to have a thought record sheet to keep identifying and then help them re frame. Also teach them few affirmations to help them to make choices in choosing empowering thoughts. Thank you for sharing:)

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