get rid of negative thoughts

To get rid of negative thoughts is a thing that a lot of people say they want to do. It makes sense right? Negative thoughts suck. They feel awful.

Have you ever had a wonderful time doing anything while your mind is occupied with unpleasant topics? Highly unlikely.

seeking distraction

In fact, distraction from negative thoughts is often the reason why so many people seek out activities that can temporarily provide an altered mood or perspective.

These activities can be beneficial, such as vigorous exercise, or sometimes less so, like excessive use of alcohol or other substances.

can distraction get rid of negative thoughts?

Whether your preferred method of distraction generally enhances your life or not, one thing is certain. You can’t be either pounding the treadmill, or drunk all the time!

These activities may provide some temporary relief from negative thoughts, but once the high from exercise (or whatever) wears off, your habitual thoughts will be back.

if distraction doesn't work, then what?

There are a few points to keep in mind when you decide that there are some thoughts you keep thinking that you would like to stop thinking.

The first is that you can’t get rid of something by focusing on getting rid of it.

are you kidding me?

If I have a great big bag of garbage that I want to get rid of, I have to focus on it to lift it up, haul it out, and throw it in the dumpster. Right???

Are you telling me that my negative thoughts are different to a bag of garbage?

well the thing is ...

Literal garbage, unlike your thoughts, is something that has already taken on physical shape and form. As such, the physical action of hauling it away does get rid of it. Well, that particular bag, anyway.

However, if you want to get rid of garbage from your home, or at least reduce it, on a more ongoing basis, then your focus needs to be on lifestyle choices, rather than on the trash that you want to avoid.

Throwing out garbage does not eliminate more garbage from being created. On the other hand, focusing on ways that you can reduce the use of certain items, or reuse and recycle more will get rid of some of the garbage that you don’t want. It will also give you the satisfaction of being more in tune with your environment, more conscious in your daily lifestyle choices, and thinking more creatively.

thoughts are energy

Thoughts are energy forms, and at the point of thinking, they have not yet become tangible. Whether or not you have noticed, actively trying to get rid of negative thoughts just doesn’t work. When you are focused on the thought you want to get rid of, your focus Is actually adding more energy to the thought.  

If you have tried to do this, and since you are reading this article I’m guessing you probably have tried, you will likely have discovered that the harder you try to get rid of negative thoughts, the more powerful and persistent they seem to become.

don't fight fire with fire

Have you ever tried to get rid of negative thoughts, and then found yourself on some version of this guaranteed path to a blazing inferno of negativity?

You focus on the negative thoughts and how they make you feel, and you decide you don’t want to think them anymore.

You then notice how long you have been thinking them, and how justified you are in thinking them, because after all, they are based on some proof. You discuss the topic of the thoughts with others, and get confirmation that your negative thoughts are valid, and that there are a whole lot of other people who have similar thoughts.

However, you remember that the thoughts really feel horrible when you think them, and that you want to get rid of them.

You then beat yourself up for thinking them because you know you “should” think positive thoughts. You label yourself as a failure for having the negative thoughts to begin with, and for not being able to get rid of them sooner. Yikes!!

so distraction doesn't work, trying doesn't work.... what the heck does work?

I’m glad you asked. The only way to get rid of negative thoughts is a soft and gentle approach.

Try appreciating the negative thoughts for the clarity they can bring you. This may sound weird, and hard to do, but appreciation softens the negative edge.

Look for the learning that is available in every thought and experience. What are these thoughts helping you to see clearly that you want to move towards in both thought and reality?

Stop pulling against the negative thoughts. All fighting does is to create tension. Acknowledge the thoughts. Accept that they are the thoughts that have been available to you so far. Relax into the thoughts, and feel their grip loosen.

you don't get rid of negative thoughts - you replace them

Reach, little by little, for new thoughts to gradually replace the old. Learn ways of training your thinking to be more aligned with a positive and optimistic outlook. As you practice replacing each thought with a slightly better-feeling alternative, enjoy that better feeling, and appreciate yourself for the work that you are doing. You are on the path to a life where more of your thoughts not only feel good, but also draw circumstances and people that match these good feelings into your reality.

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