How to Clear Negative Thinking

“Cogito, ergo sum – I think, therefore I am”

This phrase became a fundamental element of western philosophy and the foundation upon which we built our modern civilisation.

Thinking dominates our daily life. We became so good at it, that even when we need to switch off for a moment, we can’t. For most of the time we are not aware that we are thinking circulating the same thoughts over and over again. Research shows that up to 95% of our daily thoughts are repetitive. perhaps we are not as original as we thought. Of course there’s nothing wrong with thinking. The problem begins when we start obsessing about something that happened to us. This can go for hours and days leaving us depleted and weak. Interestingly enough this almost never happens with happy thoughts. Do you remember last time when you were obsessing about a happy situation?

No need to beat yourself up. This is the way we evolved. For most of the time in our history protecting ourselves from danger was more important than thinking happy thoughts. Happy thoughts did not help us to survive. That’s why part of our biological software is to worry. Daniel Goleman, famous psychologist puts it this way: “Bain is a very sophisticated instrument of survival”. In psychology this is being called a negativity bias. Using a metaphor of Dr Rick Hanson, our brain is like teflon to all positive thoughts and like a velcro to all the bad stuff. Everything negative sticks and positive is forgotten as soon as it happens.

Does it mean that we have no choice? Absolutely not! It’s up to us where we direct our attention.

Typical strategy when we feel overwhelmed with negative thoughts is to suppress them or distract ourselves by watching tv, eating, drinking and other unhealthy habits. Although this may bring a temporary relief, it doesn’t solve the problem. As soon as we stop distracting ourselves the negative thoughts return and we are back to square one.

Remember the saying: what you resit it persists? This opposite is also true what you allow it eventually passes, and this certainly applies to negative thinking. A surprising way of clearing negative thoughts is to let them be, invite them, recognise them for what they really are. A thought patterns.

Try it yourself by listening to this guided meditation.

4 thoughts on “How to Clear Negative Thinking

  1. Marilyn

    You mention that repetitive negative thinking is based on past experiences. I have no problem rationalising past events as I can generally accept that they are unchangeable. However, when it comes to future events It’s a different story. If I have to take a grandchild somewhere or find my way to a new place I agonise over this for days thinking that all kinds of negative situations could arise. The only time this stops is when the event is under way, at which point I know that all will be well. Then of course I am critical of myself for having wasted so much mental energy worrying over it!
    It is said (I don’t know by whom!) that a lot of our anxiety is generated by things that never happen. I couldn’t agree more!

  2. tomek7799 Post author

    Great point Marilyn! There’s a quote by Mark Twain “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” What you are describing is very common and not entirely unjustified. When we plan, we take into account many possible scenarios. Our brain naturally prepares for the worst. This is normal. By bringing awareness to this process, you may turn your attention to scenarios that are positive. You may not get rid of anxiety entirely but at least now you know where this comes from. Thank you for your comment!

  3. Jill

    Our negative thoughts come from past experiences which are associated to the feelings these experiences have given us. By repeatedly thinking these negative thoughts we in turn keep ourselves in repeating the past and prevent our lives from truly changing in the direction we hope for. Only when we reprogram our brain can this pattern change.

    • tomek7799 Post author

      That is very well said Jill. The old pattern often hold us hostage and prevent us from moving on. Awareness is the key to dismantle them! Power of Now!

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