Well, here’s the thing, I might have boasted in the heading about how you can stop negative thinking, you are never actually gonna get rid of negative thoughts as long as you are a human who’s alive and sentient. So, if you were looking for a quick fix to instantly help you bid goodbye to negative thoughts, well you are at the wrong goddamn place.
There are a ton of other articles on the internet telling you how you can magically eliminate negative thoughts from the core as if they are some alien force that has wrongfully taken something from you. That’s just a bunch of nonsense and immatureness.
Here, we are gonna talk about all the circus revolving around negative thinking and understand the whole picture completely in a more pragmatic and realistic way and see what’s the right approach towards this particular situation.
The Problem with Negative Thinking
Let’s hammer this nail before we begin anything else. It goes without saying, the problem is real. There’s no sugar coating it or undermining it or playing it down. We gotta look at it the way it is. Negative thinking is indeed a problem.
Something bad or unanticipated happened to you in the past, and now you are drowning in a sea of negative thoughts. You wanna try something else, you put your head into doing something meaningful, you try to move on with your life, but the ‘negative thinking’ acts like an anchor that ensures that you never leave rock bottom.
One bad experience in your life often leaves a lasting impact in every other arena of your life for quite some time. The pain, all it needs is just one single stimulus, and the whole film that happened in the past flashes in front of your eyes at a lightning speed, making you relive those horrific memories over and over again.
The advent of negative thinking is a lot like dominos, once it starts, it keeps on going on and on and on, and it feels like we are falling into a bottomless pit and have no clue as to how to stop it and come out of the trap.
You kinda start swinging like a pendulum, sometimes you regret what you did in the past, sometimes you get super anxious about what’s gonna happen in the future, and you no longer can focus on the present. So yes, negative thinking is indeed a predicament that needs some attention and can’t be overlooked.
Forgetting is not the Solution
Probably this is the kind of advice that we get to hear time and time again from our friends and families: “Oh, simply forget about it, son.”
But what they don’t realize is that the more one tries to forget about it, the more these negative thoughts pester us. The more you try to run away from it, distract yourself from it, the more profound those negative feelings become and the heavier the impact of those negative thinking gets.
Currently, you are trying to fight negative thinking in the outside world. You might go for a short vacation, meet with your friends and relatives, watch movies or read books to help you forget about it, but the main thing to understand here is that your memory resides inside you.
So, it’s a no-brainer that in order to stop the toxicity of negative thinking, you gotta look and act inwards instead of temporarily trying to make things right on the outside. Whatever you do on the outside might only give you a temporary achievement, but if you want to remove things right from the root, you gotta look inside.
If negative thinking was something that existed in the outer world, then you could have pretty easily gotten rid of it by simply maintaining your physical distance, but what to do when your own thinking is the crux of the issue?
No matter where you go, you can’t possibly leave your ‘thinking’ behind now, can you? You can’t beat your thinking, you can’t hide from your thinking, you can’t even quarrel with it. The more you do any of that, the more fear it will instill in you.
And the funny part is that no one really taught us how to deal with this whole paradigm in the first place, which is why we are scared shitless with the whole notion of negative thinking.
What are you without your Memory?
Let’s try to get to the crux of the whole negative thinking issue. So, we understood so far that the current way of how we deal with negative thinking isn’t the solution. Then what is the solution? Well, before we jump directly onto that, let’s talk about memories.
If one removes all your memories, then whatever your perceived sense of self was, it is gonna vaporize into thin air, isn’t it? Essentially, all your problems and challenges and hardships you are currently facing in life will suddenly go out the window if your memories cease to exist. Makes sense, right?
It’s pretty transparent to us that we are nothing but a bundle of memories only. Without memories, your “I, me, and myself” would cease to exist. Without memories, you wouldn’t have the faintest clue as to what’s a language all about, and you would simply be dumbstruck watching things like a newborn baby.
Your thoughts would come to an end if one wipes your entire memory, including the negative ones as well. Whatever you call your mind, it’s actually nothing but your thoughts(including feelings and emotions). And if your thoughts are no more, you would essentially be a mindless creature, pretty much like other animals who don’t have the luxury to think as homosapiens do.
As you understand it deeply, you will conclude that you are not different from your memories, you are your memories themselves.
And when you start acknowledging it, not just for show but actually from deep within, then there’s nothing more left for you to do and your entire struggle of trying to get rid of those negative thoughts and negative thinking comes to an end.
Memories are not the Problem
The real problem is not the memory, the real problem is our understanding, and the way we deal with memories.
Basically, we want to get rid of those painful and toxic memories that cause the advent of negative thinking in us, but at the same time, we also don’t want to lose the happy and cheerful memories that we love to reminisce over and over again.
Isn’t that an issue?
The funny part is, even if you are ready to give up those good memories, there is no practical way of achieving that and still upholding your sanity. So, it doesn’t really matter what you want or not. This is how it is, and you can either get on board with it or be miserable for the rest of your lives.
Can you Get rid of Yourself?
You can’t really do anything to get rid of yourself now, can you? The negative thinking that keeps hindering your growth in life is based upon your memories and memories are what define who you are. In a way, you want to get rid of yourself but you can’t.
And the funny thing is that once you deeply understand it, then those memories too would stop getting the better of you automatically. That’s the beauty of it. Consequently, all your efforts to stop the harmful effects of negative thinking would come to an end too,
It’s no rocket science. You can’t fight yourself now. You need someone apart from you, a separate entity, for you to try to fight it off. One can’t possibly fight where there is only one entity.
And this goes the other way too. If you can’t fight off your memories because your memories are what define who you are, then even the memories can’t malign you or cause you any harm unlike what you perceive.
Water can’t destroy water itself, fire can’t burn fire itself, wind can’t blow away wind itself. Just like that, your negative thoughts don’t actually bring any harm to your life. It’s your own miscalculations that make you believe that negative thinking is actually gonna compromise your life.
Following this path, you kinda become impervious to both, even the worst of memories and also your best of memories. If they stay, well and good, and if they don’t then even better. This is the only permanent way to control your negative thinking once and for all: by understanding its true nature.
Do thoughts really affect you?
Let me ask you something.
If you look at the most beautiful scenery in the world, does it somehow enhance the ability of your eyes? Also, if you look at the ugliest and the grossest sight in the world, does it somehow hamper your vision?
Well, of course not. Your eyes don’t give a damn to what you are looking at. Their job is to showcase whatever comes in front of it. It doesn’t differentiate between the good and the bad. It’s only our own perception, a label that we put, that makes things good or bad.
You see, it’s the small things like these that can help us resolve the issue of negative thinking once and for all. One need not take any actions in the inside world to sort things out. Understanding is the only way.
So, applying the same analogy, it’s not the negative thoughts that actually pose a problem by deteriorating our mental capabilities or something. For your mind, a thought is a thought, a piece of information, that’s it. Your brain isn’t gonna be affected in any way whatsoever.
We ourselves hammer down this belief that if you are thinking negatively then you are bound to screw up sooner than later. But what actually happens is that this very belief, and not the negative thought itself, becomes the underlying reason for your debacle.
Stop Fearing Negative Thinking
If you actually grasped the concept of the previous section completely, then you would stop getting scared from negative thinking. So many people fear negative thinking to such an extent, that their very fear turns against them and gets the better of them
But hey, when you have seen this truth that your eyes don’t mind what they see, they are gonna remain the same, so how does it matter what you see?
Similarly, your brain too portrays what’s already stored inside it. So how does it matter what it shows? At the end of the day, your brain is gonna remain untouched with both the positive and the negative thoughts. Hence, it’s a no-brainer that you stop pissing in your pants due to the negative thoughts.
Come to think of it, if you are going through those painful memories because of which you are spawning negative thoughts, then it’s actually a sign that your brain is still healthy and working perfectly. That’s what a brain does, it’s doing its job.
If a memory is not getting stored, then that’s a problem. Now, why on Earth would anybody want its brain to not function properly? The irony is, the majority of people want their brains to not function normally! Isn’t that insane now?
Normal VS Abnormal
Letting your brain replay those memories which are in turn causing you to have negative thoughts is normal. Considering that this is abnormal is what’s actually abnormal.
Negative thoughts are normal. Making your mind dull by indulging in all kinds of petty pleasures and running away from them, is what’s abnormal.
Being ok with negative thoughts and not feeling the need to do something about them is normal. Thinking that something is wrong with you and getting negative thoughts is what’s abnormal.
And the fun fact is that the majority of the population considers the ‘normal’ as ‘abnormal’ which is really abnormal. No medicine or doctor can probably cure this abnormality but your own understanding.
Nobody can cure your wrong understanding of a particular thing but yourself. And it’s this kind of wrong and limiting understanding that the world is where it is.
Treat Your Body Like an Instrument
When you start treating your body like an instrument, that’s where you can start enjoying each and every moment of your life to its fullest.
Now you would do everything to take care of your body in the best way possible. If you sense any danger that can cause potential harm to your body, then you would take action to ensure your safety.
You would know what actually affects you and what doesn’t.
If your brain is just playing memories, some of which are good and some not so good, then one need not do anything there. Your brain is just doing its job.
You need to see a doctor if your brain is not showing you your memories. That’s an issue.
Stop Living a Limited Life
People are living a really confined life. If life is a piano, then they just want the white keys to be played and don’t want the black ones on their board.
And that’s where they need to expand their horizons and see the fact that it takes both the white and the black keys to play a soothing tune.
A good musician is someone who has mastered all the keys of the keyboard and isn’t just stuck playing a couple of keys over and over again.
Keep in mind that both the positive and negative thoughts simply trigger a kind of sensation in your body and your body is more than capable of enduring both of them.
Hence, you don’t have to be fearful of your negative thoughts. Don’t underestimate your potential. You can’t even imagine the kind of feats people are pulling off in day-to-day life.
The Highs and Lows
When we were kids, we used to love the feeling of standing up after falling down.
The thing is, we are still kind of kids in one way. Even after supposedly growing up, we purposefully at times, put ourselves down, because we know subconsciously that we are gonna get a high when we stand back up again.
The worse you make yourself feel because of the negative thoughts, the sweeter the positive thoughts will be.
You are simply playing this game of contraction and expansion, where the release of energy makes you feel good. The hungrier you are, the tastier will be the food; the more thirsty you are, the more valuable water becomes.
When you forcefully contract yourself, you will feel much better when you expand. This is the reason why so many people love to watch horror movies because there is a thrill in it and they can’t get enough of it.
People with boring daily routines will enjoy a vacation more than people who enjoy their daily routines to their fullest.
Essentially, the more pain you go through, the more meaningful your happiness will become.
So, don’t look at it as two distinct things. Both the positive and negative are two sides of the same goddamn coin. Without tails, the coin becomes worthless, and so will your life if you completely black out the negative thoughts.
A life without any lows will become tedious, monotonous, and insanely boring. Any wise person can pretty easily see this truth, and once you do, you too won’t run away from those lows, instead, you are gonna take full advantage of it.
The point is if you want to give up the memories that haunt you or make you feel bad, then you are also giving up on those good feelings and moments that might also come in your life in the same proportion or magnitude as the negative ones. And that’s not a very wise thing to do. You’d be as good as dead.
See how bad can your negative thoughts get
Instead of running away from negative thinking, try challenging yourself and see how bad it can really get, how haunting it can become, how worse it can regress into.
Once you see the worst, you destroy its hype and become okay with it. You are no longer in the dark, and you get to know that you are stronger than your most negative thoughts and in the long run, they won’t be able to overpower you.
It’s exactly like fighting a ghost. Once you see it for a fact, they don’t really exist in the first place, you stop fearing them. Similarly, once you see how bad your negative thoughts can get, you become ever ready to face them in any situation.
Just to make it clear, you are not actually wanting it to happen, you are simply making yourself ready by inviting them on your own. What would be better? For a robber to rob your house and you are busy sleeping, or for you to be ready as soon as he strikes?
Well, obviously the latter is right. Especially when this is the kind of robber that has to attack one day or the other, so it might as well be on the day when you are well prepared in advance. That’s how life is. Everyone will have to face it one day or the other.
Whatever that’s appearing in your mind, positive or negative, good feeling or bad feeling, you simply have to watch it. Don’t suppress it, run away from it, accept it, reject it, or anything. Just observe it peacefully.
A simple hack
And if all of that feels overwhelming, try this experiment and see what happens with any kind of negative thinking that is hampering your growth.
Set a timer for 10 min on your mobile and whenever any negative thought strikes, you have to try to elongate the time period those negative thoughts stick in your mind for 10 mins. Seems simple enough?
Try it with your worst memories and see if you can hold it on for 10min straight. The memory should stay on your mind without any distraction. Do let me know what happens next. You will notice a rather interesting thing about your mind, something that will help you overcome even the most deteriorating memories and the most gruesome thoughts.
I know I didn’t directly layout a ‘plan’ to help you counter your negative thoughts, I just simply told you more about the unknown element associated with the whole paradigm of negative thinking, and that in itself should make all the difference.