Last week I shared a story about a girl I was coaching around self-doubt and limiting beliefs and how even the best in the world still struggle with those same concerns.
When I initially began writing that article, I had intended to mention 4 ways to handle those kinds of thoughts, but (as they so often do) the article took a slightly different direction.
Side note: I love this about writing – sit down to do the work and the ideas start flowing.
Nevertheless, I didn’t want these 4 ideas to disappear into the abyss, never having come out of my
pen fingers and into your consciousness.
I originally picked up these 4 tactics at a personal growth seminar I attended called Mind Power, a tool (or set of tools) taught by Robin Banks and first developed by John Kehoe.
The next time you find yourself thinking a less-than-ideal thought, try using one or more of these solutions.
4 Powerful Ways To Remove Negative Thoughts
1. Cut it off. The first technique involves stopping the negative thought before it has a chance to finish. As soon as you notice yourself beginning to think the thought, interrupt it with a not-so-polite “Shut Up!”. Don’t even entertain the thoughts, especially after you’ve cut it off. Then, once you’ve cut it off, replace that thought with a different one.
Example: “You’ll never b- SHUT UP!”
2. Observe it. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from my many teachers over the last few years is that we are not our thoughts. And, just because we have certain negative thoughts, doesn’t mean they’re true. Rather, we’re just observers of those thoughts. Know that a negative thought only has power if you give power to it. A useful exercise here is to set an alarm on your phone for every two hours (I use my Apple Watch) and just observe what thoughts are going through your head.
Example: “Oh look, I’m thinking that thing again. Interesting. Moving along…”
3. Exaggerate into ridiculousness. The third tool is the most fun of all. It involves noticing a negative thought when it arises and then keeping the thought going by creating the most ridiculous possible outcome. It should be so ridiculous that you realize there’s no way it could happen and you see that your worst case scenario is not that bad.
Example: “If I get up on stage, I might forget my words, then people will laugh at me, then I will start melting, then I’d flood the whole venue!”. You get the idea.
4. Counteract it with the exact opposite. This fourth and final approach is probably my favorite. As I’ve said before, it’s impossible to be angry and grateful at the same time. Similarly, your mind can’t think two thoughts at the same time. With that in mind, this tool involves noticing the negative thought and then immediately replacing it with a thought you want. Think of it like changing channels on the TV or radio when that annoying ad comes on again. And, forgive yourself for thinking the negative thought, knowing that, just like a bungee rope made up of dozens of tiny bands, one negative doesn’t mean the entire thing breaks.
Example: “Who are you to achieve this awesome goal? Well, actually, I’m a badass who wants this with my whole being, who takes focused action every day and who never quits. Why would I NOT achieve this goal?”
So there you have it. The next time you’re experiencing a negative thought or limiting belief, try out one or more of these tools and have fun seeing how fast you can turn things around.
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