There is no doubt that negative thoughts can harm your health. They can cause anxiety and depression and many other problems, and can even shorten your life. So obviously they are something you want to get rid of as quickly as possible. Furthermore, studies have shown that up to three quarters of people’s thoughts are negative.
One of the main problems with them is how they form in the brain. We know that we learn by reviewing material over and over again. By doing this, we are setting up neural patterns in our brain. What this does is build and reinforce patterns so that they stay better in our brain. This is great for learning something new, but unfortunately it applies to all of our thoughts. In particular, it applies to negative thoughts. As they pass through our minds over and over again, they are reinforced until it becomes difficult to forget them. As a result, they start to “eat” us and cause us anxiety, depression and other problems. Because of this, when a negative thought forms, it is in our best interest to get rid of it as quickly as possible. But you have to do this the right way. It is well known that if you want to break a bad habit it is not a good idea to spend a lot of time thinking about it. In fact, the best strategy is to avoid thinking about it as much as possible.
So with this in mind, what is the best way to get rid of negative thoughts? The best strategy is to immediately replace them with positive thoughts. And there are, in fact, several types of positive thoughts that you can use. Four of the best are:
- Things you enjoy doing. In my case, I enjoy music, in particular, I love playing the piano and I always feel good when I play it, and even when I think about it. I also enjoy writing, and unlike most people, I enjoy working out or working out, and I enjoy thinking about them.
- Friends and people you like, including your family, always generate positive thoughts. Think about the good times you’ve had with them.
- Your goals, or things you look forward to. Everyone has something they look forward to, or at least they should. Think of them.
- Also, when you have just suffered some type of failure, it is a good idea to think about your achievements.
A good way to remember this is to use the mnemonic EFGG, where the letter E means “enjoy”, F means friends and fun, G means goals, and can also mean “gratitude”. Gratitude is, in fact, one of the most important things to have if you want to avoid negative thoughts. Sit down and make a list of all the things you are grateful for. It may surprise you. You should be grateful for your health (assuming you have it), your family, all your possessions, your talents and abilities, and your life in general.
In many ways, the most important of the above is your health. You may not be in perfect health, but you could certainly be much worse. If you are older, you just have to look around at some of your friends and acquaintances. How many of them are in worse shape than you? I’m willing to bet a large number are.
Now let’s move on to other things that can help you avoid negative thoughts. One of the best is mindfulness. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s similar to meditation, but different in several ways. You start by forgetting about the past and the future and concentrating on the present. You do this by focusing on your breath. Feel how it goes in and out of your nose, think about it and nothing else.
Several other things are also useful. I am going to list them and discuss each of them briefly.
- Sing. Singing almost always makes you feel good. You don’t have to be a great singer, but put your heart into it and you’ll be amazed at what it can do.
- Write in a diary or diary. What should you write? No matter; just let yourself go and write whatever comes to mind. In particular, let your feelings show.
- Exercise. The simplest exercise is just walking. But weights, stretching, etc., are also good.
- Smile. Put a big smile on your face. You’ll be surprised how it lifts your spirits.
- Stay busy socially. Go out as much as you can and mingle with other people. Also take short vacations.
- Images and visualization. Try to remember and imagine some of the best moments of your life. Visualize yourself lying on a beach or walking along a scenic trail.
- Statements. They are phrases like “I am happy”, I am successful.” Repeat them to yourself.