Learning how to eliminate negativity thinking and replace it with positive thinking is undoubtedly one of the most precious and inspired gifts you can ever give yourself for a happier, more peaceful and fulfilling life. Negative thinking has been linked to anything from chronic depression and anxiety to a decrease in energy levels, fatigue, and even physical illnesses, as it can take a cumulative, debilitating toll on one’s life.
Negative, unwanted thoughts adversely affect your brain, body, and mood with repercussions on all areas of your life. However, it’s a well-known fact that the harder you try to suppress these harmful thoughts or forcibly get them out of your mind, the stronger they are reinforced – it’s almost as if your brain, which is responsible for all cognitive processes (i.e. thoughts, decisions, judgments) works against you.
Harvard University psychology professor Daniel Wegner, PhD who is regarded as the father of thought suppression research, found evidence that whenever someone tries not to think of a particular thing, a part of their brain indeed avoids the unwanted thought, but the other part of the brain checks in every minute or so to ensure the negative thought is not coming up – ironically thus bringing it to mind. So what is the right approach to preventing the rehash of negative thoughts over and over again in your head?
According to a recent theory known as embodied cognition, which claims that the brain-body relationship is a two-way street, the body plays a much greater part in the cognitive processes than it had previously been given credit for. Therefore, your body’s actions/feedback significantly influence your thoughts, including the negative ones. In light of this new scientific evidence, here are 7 tips on how to eliminate negativity thinking in an effective manner.
Evidence suggests that these increasingly popular and multi-beneficial practices can significantly improve mental toughness, strengthen mind control and sharpen mental clarity. Once crystallized, these benefits can facilitate the process of getting rid of the negative thoughts hovering your mind and welcoming positive ones. It’s thus in your best interest to learn how to meditate and to practice meditation on a regular basis, as these can prove to be some of the answers to the question on how to eliminate negativity thinking.
* Physically throw the objectified negative thoughts away
According to a 2012 study conducted by psychology professor Richard Petty, PhD at the Ohio State University, the way people tag their thoughts ( as valuable or trash ) can make a difference in the way these thoughts are being used. If you want to see how to eliminate negativity thinking using this innovative method, all you have to do is to objectify the negative thoughts using either a text document or a piece of paper and then tossing or dragging it into the trash can. Simply visualizing or imagining the process of throwing them away has no effect; you have you physically toss them in the trash.
* Just smile
As corny as this may sound, fake smiling is a body action that has been found to be effective in reducing the physical and emotional effects of negativity and stress. Coupled with the embodied cognition theory, plastering a smile that involves the muscles around the eyes can prove to be a tool that helps you overcome negative, frustrating thoughts.
* Avoid continually negative people and keep positive company
Whenever you feel overwhelmed by negative thoughts snowballing right to the point of taking over your life, it’s wise to reconsider your social circle. Start surrounding yourself with positive people only and stay away from those who feed your negativity thinking.
* Cut back on multi-tasking
A recent study suggests that individuals working under massive mental load can face a significant increase in the magnitude and amount of negative thoughts, including those that involve death.
* Divert your attention to something else
Research suggests that people who choose an absorbing, uplifting distractor to focus on can effectively get rid of those negative thoughts in their minds. A distractor can be anything pleasant that inspires them a sense of well-being, hope, happiness or positivity.
This method on how to eliminate negativity thinking may be quite painful, according to Daniel Wegner, especially when those negative thoughts are stemming from extremely sensitive, traumatic or just heartbreaking life situations. However, exposure to the root cause of these thoughts can work if you are able to think of these life situations or episodes in controlled ways.