Monday, June 20, 2016

How # Negative Thinking Enslaves You and What You Can Do to Get Rid of It.

Updated on 15th Sept 2017

It is estimated that an average man(or woman)thinks between 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day,although opinions differ and there is no conclusive proof.Still,it is a huge number. Just imagine,if a majority of our thoughts were negative what would the state of our minds be like. No doubt such thoughts could push us to the brink of anxiety and depression.

The first requirement of a happy life therefore is to jettison negative thoughts.The term negative here denotes those thoughts which have no basis in reality.The cause lies somewhere inside that person.

When we allow such thoughts to dominate our minds for an extended period they engrave a circuit in our brains which reinforces similar thoughts.It becomes a habitual response.

Our mind functions in such a way that when we think a particular thought,associated memories and thoughts come rushing in,so that a negative thought invites more negative thoughts.

Thirdly,negative thinking triggers the release of stress hormones like cortisol and noradrenaline,which in turn causes more stress.

These factors aggravate negativity.If this rings a bell with you here are some tips which will enable you to beat negative thinking:--

1)Neuroplasticity of brain offers us hope.An old channel of thoughts can be changed.We can build new pathways.This requires systematic,consistent,repetitive efforts.For example if you are dogged by a belief that you have cancer,then watch out for the incipience of that thought.The moment this worry begins to rankle your brain tell yourself"It is pure imagination-not true at all".If you do this repeatedly the worry will die down.

Suppose you are afraid of getting hurt in a road accident.Tell yourself that not everybody who goes out on a road gets hurt,you yourself have till now been safe,and that you are not a prophet and so you should not prophetize.

In this way you are giving your brain new channels to think along,replacing a negative thought with a positive one and cautioning your mind against predicting worst case scenarios for yourself.Remember that our minds can only think one thought at a time.When you saturate your mind with positive ones the negative ones automatically disappear.

2)One way of defeating negative thoughts is to talk about them with someone who cares for you,whose acuity you believe in.S/he will sooth your fears and put your mind at rest. 

3)What you can do to beat negative thoughts depends upon where you are at that moment.If you are at your workplace then unknowingly you must have retreated in your shell, slouched and etched a frown on your face.Such a stance is bad for your mental state.Get up,straighten your back put a smile on your lips,greet someone,chat with another and lo,the negativity has subsided!Our emotions are reflected in our posture,but our posture too has the capability of affecting our emotions.

4)Alternately,observe your surroundings mindfully.Look at each object-what it is made of,where it must have come from,how it smells and feels like--you get my point I am sure.Just be mindful of your present surroundings.Soon you will realize that your thoughts have changed track.

5)If the tensions and worries get the better of you while you are at home take up a chore which demands your attention.Doing something worthwhile will leave you happy and satisfied.The energy expended on that chore would have absorbed the surplus harmful chemicals which were released because of your anxiety.

6)Exercise too has peen proved to reverse the secretion of harmful chemicals.Even tearing a rag or paper to bits gives relief.

7)In case you are feeling too weak to do some work indulge yourself with a past time which absorbs you.It could be a brain game,board game,writing,drawing,painting,music,TV,or rummaging through your family albums.Anything which interests you will take your mind off your worries.

8)Some of us have no particular hobby.For such individuals getting out of house,meeting people,chatting with them or simply sitting in a park and communing with nature can be a good antidote.Calling up friends too,is a good idea.

9)It is not the events themselves but the way we perceive them which gives rise to anxiety.This happens because of certain cognitive distortions,more about which you can read at this post.

10)Negative thoughts make us feel weak and lethargic and as a result we skip many essential daily tasks like getting up early,making our bed,taking a bath, maintaining a clean wardrobe and keeping our things in order.All this will ultimately make us shabby and unkempt which will definitely depress us further.Therefore make it a point to religiously follow your daily routine-it keeps you occupied and less likely to ruminate.It is not for nothing that an empty mind has been likened to a devil's workshop.

11)Yoga and meditation are useful tools for soothing the mind and eliminating negative thoughts.

12)Another way out is to consult a psychologist or a counselor who will help you to explore your mind,your attitudes and beliefs to know why you have so many negative thoughts.Do you process your emotions in the right manner?Are you oversensitive?Are your expectations justified?Does your whole attitude need to be changed?.There might be some underlying issues which require closure.Psychotherapy will help you to sort them out.

13)If your negative thoughts are too overwhelming to allow you to take any self help measures,you can take medicines which will correct the chemical imbalance in your brain and curtail negative thoughts to a large extent.But some people suffer harmful side effects from them.It is best to keep it as a short time measure.

Pick up the antidote which works best for you. It is only after you kill those negative thoughts that you will find peace and fulfillment.

26 comments :

  1. I have struggled with depression for years and people who know me are surprised because they say I am a smiling, positive person. Although this is true, it doesn't ensure that I won't struggle with depression. Such a great post, and you have a lovely blog. Thanks so much for sharing, and warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)

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    1. You have given a beautiful start to my day Linda.Thanks a lot.
      I hope your struggle with depression ends conclusively and successfully :)

      Cheers!

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  2. I just wanted to add that doing my blog and spending time in nature and with friends helps me a lot...and my cat does, too. :)

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    1. Thanks for this addition.I am sure many will benefit from your inputs.

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  3. Fantastic post, Indu. I sometimes feel that I overthink things or worry unnecessarily. Mostly as you mentioned, I turn to pleasurable activities like playing with my dog, listening to music and exercise. I think deviating your mind to something more fruitful helps and also reasoning with yourself like you mention is helpful too. I think it is very important to actively handle negative thoughts which lead to stress and depression.

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    1. So happy you liked this post Rachna.You are so right about'active handling'of negative thoughts :)
      Thank you.

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  4. True. I seriously need this. Last year I got all worked up in a nasty project. Had chill time for 6 months after that. Now again back in a tough project - trying hard to keep old patterns of negativity from reemerging.

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    1. Chill time of 6 months--what a fine way to recharge your batteries Karthick.Thanks for coming over.

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  5. A wonderful article. Will keep your tips in my mind :)

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    1. Glad you liked it Purba,thanks for the compliment:)

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  6. Such an uplifting post, Indu. We could all use this when we go through those spells.

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    1. Yes we all have such spells .
      And your comment is very uplifting too!

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  7. Quite an informative post.
    This is one of the reasons for me reading others posts .. there are so much information availble.
    thanks

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  8. such a positive post and we get a scientific understanding which helps the logical sense to keep away from such thoughts...I never go empty handed from here Indu..

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    1. Shweta that was a beautiful thing to say,i hope to come up to your expectations in future too.
      Have a good day:)

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  9. Keeping myself busy, going out and surrounding myself with laughter and chatter always works for me.

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    1. Yea,that's the way!
      Your chatter evokes laughter in many others.

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  10. Thanks lots again, Indu ma'am for this positive and uplifting 'prescription':)
    We all need this:)

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  11. Nice post about negative thoughts and its solution

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  12. The term negative here denotes those thoughts which have no basis in realityWith Due respect Mam Indu,I have hundred & thousand things to share, which you cant differenciate negative or positive.Would you give me time to share.

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    1. As I said in the very beginning,we think thousands of thoughts every day and many may lie in the grey zone;but this post is about those thoughts which harm our mental equilibrium,cause anxiety or depression ,but which are not really true.They stall our progress and evolution.

      Please feel free to share your views,I have the time.

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  13. Morning shows the day....
    Start your daylight pleasent news.Get up with a smile with positive thoughts.

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    1. I was missing your wise words,thanks.

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