I believe this is an area that many people question. The simple answer to how do we stop negative thoughts is we don’t.
I am sure that you realize that the more you try to stop something the more persistent it becomes; this is especially true when we try “not” to think about something. If I tell you to not think about a pink elephant what happens, you are now thinking about a pink elephant and the more you try not to think about a pink elephant the more you think about it. The same is true with negative thoughts. If I walk around all day saying to myself stop that negative thinking than I will actually create more and more negative thoughts. What we focus on grows. If we focus on our negative thinking than that too will grow. The key is to allow the negative thoughts to be, acknowledge the negative thought and let it flow through your mind and it will dissipate through your awareness.
I ask you for a moment to envision this coming weekend, you have a backyard barbecue planned, friends and family are invited and you are anticipating a great day spent outside enjoying the summer weather. The weekend comes and you awaken to a rainy day. The rain puts a bullet in your plans for your outdoor gathering of friends, family and fun in the sun. You are not happy about the rain. You may even curse the rain, however you know that the rain serves a greater purpose and that it will not rain forever, the Sun will return and you will enjoy the benefits of the rain in the flowers that it feeds as well as the bountiful harvest from your garden that the rain enables. When you step back from your disappointment over the rain changing your plans you can appreciate the greater purpose of the rain and what it does for you. Now consider what we call negative thoughts to be the proverbial rain in our life.
It is important that we acknowledge what we consider to be negative thoughts and why we are having what we consider to be negative thoughts. Most negative thoughts our born of fear. We may have experienced some recent loss, be it loss of a loved one through death or divorce or be it loss of our career though downsizing, be it loss of our home due to changes in our economic situation. When we experience major losses in our life it is common for us to begin to fear the next possible loss and our minds become flooded with negative and fearful thoughts. These thoughts are empowered by the fact that we now feel like we are missing something in our life. In fact, we may be missing something that was there that will never be there again. When we focus on what we are missing it is as if we become hypnotized by staring into an abyss and there is nothing in our peripheral vision.
We simply come to a point where we cannot see anything except that which is missing and this in turn drives our fear of losing something else in our life and we focus on that possible loss which if done long enough will create the loss to happen that we fear.
When we step back and examine our negative thoughts we can often see that we are simply worrying about something that has not yet happened and in most cases won’t happen and if it does will not have the impact that we dread.
There are two things to worry about, that which we can’t control and that which we can control. If you are worrying about that which you can’t control you must ask yourself why? You can’t control it so worrying about it won’t change anything. If you are worrying about that which you can control than why worry, you have control, you can take the appropriate actions and therefore the worry goes away. In the end there is nothing to worry about and nothing to fear.
The other thing about removing some negative thoughts from your mind is to limit your exposure to things that induce fear and negative thoughts. The media thrives on negative news. Negative news is often salacious and compelling to listen to however it also opens up channels of negative thought patterns for us. We are impacted by what we see and hear in the mass media. We are impacted by watching shows on the possible ends of the world, weapons of mass destruction, war, and realty shows that highlights and exaggerates the negative aspects of people. While it is important to be informed about the world, we do not need to bombard ourselves with twenty-four-hour news coverage or expose ourselves to drama as form of entertainment or distraction from our own life.
Sometimes what we consider to be negative thoughts are like the unexpected rain in that our negative thoughts have purpose, they serve as warnings, they serve as a reminder to increase our awareness or maybe as a sign to remember to listen to our intuition. It is important that we don’t simply dismiss a negative thought because we view it as negative.
One last thought on this subject is that we must be careful when labeling our thoughts as positive or negative, good or bad, etc. Thoughts are thoughts, they are part or our process and it is through our awareness that we learn to channel our thoughts in ways that serve us. Remember you are in control of your thoughts, you are the creator of your thoughts and it is your thoughts which create your journey.
“He who would be useful, strong, and happy must cease to be a passive receptacle for the negative, beggarly, and impure streams of thought, as a wise householder commands his servants and invites his guests, so must he learn to command his desires and to say, wsith authority, what thoughts he shall admit into the mansion of his soul”
– James Allen – New Zealander Statesman