Thinking negatively is normal. Who doesn’t have negative thoughts now and then? Not even Tony Robbins is immune from negative thinking. Granted, he does deal with it pretty quickly and effectively. But what if you had negative thoughts that were pervasive and constant? Do you understand the impact that could have on your life? Would you know how to get rid of it? And what would it mean to you if you had a step-by-step process to banish negative thoughts? Well, now you do.
The good news is, there are many methods available to get rid of incessant negative chatter in our heads. The bad news is, changing the HABIT of negative mind chatter (and that’s what it is) to positive mind chatter isn’t always easy because you’re dealing with a habit. And we know that habits can sometimes be quite “sticky” and persistent.
But, today I will give you a few practical steps you can follow to deal with negative thinking, IF you apply them religiously. This effective step-by-step process will work if you use it regularly.
To make this easy, we will use a specific ongoing example in this process; we’ll use the negative thought, “I’m too dumb to do anything right.”
You can replace this with any negative thought(s) you typically struggle with as it work for most examples.
Step-by-step for turning a negative thought into a positive thought:
Turn the thought into a mental image.
You want to remove the “power” from the negative thought by turning it into a “powerless” image. And the best way to do that is “mess” with the image. A good way to think about it is scratching a CD. When a CD is scratched bad enough the original songs or tracks can’t play properly anymore.
And the best way to “scratch” a mental image is by messing with what NLP experts call: submodalities. I don’t have time to go into that here but if you want to know more you can go here. The basic premise of submodalities is that people represent images in their minds in a certain way that creates certain emotive reactions or feelings (positive or negative). And you can change those reactions by altering or modifying the original mental image.
For example, when having the negative thought (“I’m too dumb to do anything right.”), imagine looking and acting completely silly. Create the most exaggerated image of yourself you can. Start by envisioning yourself in ridiculous clothes that don’t match. Something that will alter your state and make you laugh is good. The more ridiculous the better.
Maybe you’re also banging your head against the wall, or you have a penis swinging around in place of your nose, or doing other foolish things. You could also be shouting silly phrases that don’t make any sense while naked on a table. Absurd works best. The image should be clearly visible on your mental screen. Include sounds, smells, and physical sensations as well. Keep at this until the original thought brings up this new image whenever you’re trying to think the old negative thought.
Choose an alternative thought.
For our example, a good replacement thought would be, “I’m so intelligent I can do anything.” Choose something that is the opposite of the original negative thought. But, select a phrase that feels right to you, through your whole body. If you don’t feel it resonate chances are your unconscious will reject it. So come up with something you can believe still counters the original negative thought.
Turn the new, positive thought into a mental image.
Staying with the example in the previous step, you might imagine yourself dressed like Albert Einstein, shouting, “I’m brilliant. I can do anything.” Again, make the image outrageous. Keep at it until the positive thought automatically brings up that image.
Link the two images together.
Now, imagine a way to get from your negative image to your positive image. Like a bridge. This is almost like you’re the director of a movie, and you want to find a way to connect the opening and the closing scenes.
Perhaps in the first scene, you could imagine the image of the “dumb” version of yourself being struck by lightning and catching on fire. Then the new, Albert Einstein version of you rises from the ashes and goes into his “I’m brilliant. I can do anything”
Keep practicing until you run the entire scene in your mind quickly, with no hitches. This should take fewer than 2 seconds from start to finish.
Test out your new mental connections.
When you now think the original negative thought, the entire scene should flash through your mind. Your mental process should end with the moment where you’re thinking, “I’m so brilliant. I can do anything.” If you’re not there yet, repeat Step 4 until you are.
Although this may seem silly to you now, this is a common mnemonic technique and is very effective.
The key is that the imagery must be outrageous or shocking. This makes your memory’s work much easier.
Just give it a try and see how it works. What do you have to lose?
So, make a list of your “go-to” negative thoughts and run them through this process and see what comes of it.
Then let us know in the comments section below.
Something else you can do in addition to this is play around with the perspective.
Most people find it helpful to view everything in the third person, as if they were spectators watching themselves in a movie. This is called detachment and can help remove the negative feelings created by the original negative thought. Detaching makes it less impactful since you’re distancing yourself from it. This strategy is typically used to overcome phobias or trauma.
But, you may prefer imagining things from a first-person perspective, in which everything happens to you, as it would in everyday life. If you do, then simply follow the same process of “messing” with the memory (since it’s a mental representation of the real event in the past anyway and can’t harm you anymore in the present, unless you allow it to by the way you’re representing it in your mind).
If you want to know more about this, just contact me here.
But for now, try both perspectives to determine which works better for you.
I have found that if you systematically deal with all your negative thoughts, you’ll eventually find that you have very few left.
Imagine how your life could change should that ever happen!
What might you do that you’ve always been too afraid to try?
Well, I gave the tool which means now you can do just that.
If you have any thoughts or questions, please leave them in the comments section below or I might miss them.
To your success,