I’m a super positive person, but even I occasionally find myself in a negative loop after an event that doesn’t go so well. That’s part of being human, right? Maybe not. I found two articles and simple techniques that have helped me to leave negativity behind for good.
A few years ago, I attended a Wanderlust Yoga Retreat in Whistler. Several classes focused on how to let go of negative thinking. I learned that repetitive negativity wastes a ton of time that could be used in positive and creative ways. They still seeped into my subconscious sometimes and I would catch myself in a negative loop.
Pretty cool astrological clock in Prague, right?
Last week, I read an article from Inc. Magazine by New York Times best selling author, Nate Klemp.
Nate suggests a 30-second technique to stop negative thinking for good. His article is based on the work of Rick Hanson, who wrote Buddha’s Brain, and the early work of Donald Hebb. He included a video by Srikumar Rau.
30 seconds? I figured it was worth a try.
I didn’t want to bring all of my heavy baggage with me into the new decade.
No one wants to carry around the same old negative thoughts like this poor gal.
This was my mind blown moment:
Hanson describes positive thoughts as slipping from our memories like Teflon while everything negative attaches to us like Velcro.
That is so true, right?
This reaction comes from being hardwired to react with fight or flight to keep us alive. Well, most of us don’t need to worry about being attacked by predators or live in war-torn countries where these reactions are necessary to survive.
Instead, we hear an unkind word and BAM! Our hearts race like we’re being hunted by a ferocious and starving pterodactyl. Afterward, we regurgitate the nasty moment over and over again until it clings to us, well, like Velcro.
The opposite is true of positive thoughts. Since we don’t need attaboys, awards, or achievements to survive another day, we let all of the fabulous moments we experience in our lives slip from our memories.
I totally forgot to mention several writing awards when I introduced myself to a new critique group. The funny thing? I was under the impression it was a try-out. Duh!
There are three steps to changing your hardwired, but pliable plastic brain. I’m paraphrasing these steps, so be sure to check out Nate’s article.
Once a day:
- Recognize that you are having a negative thought. For me, this is usually needless worry, a look back at a conversation that went sideways, or some kind of humiliation.
- Replace it with something for which you are grateful. This is a totally different thought: Amazing times shared with friends and family, my good health, the good health of others…
- Ruminate on your positive thought for 15 seconds.
I know I didn’t sit and ponder for fifteen seconds. That would be waaaay too long for me, but on that first day, whenever I had a negative thought, ANY negative thought, I recognized it as negative and replaced it with something very positive; something I was grateful for.
My contribution to the technique:
4. I let the feeling of being grateful replace my anxiety. I could actually feel the negativity release.
I was feeling very grateful in Berlin!
I ran through these three steps at least six or seven times the first day. Every day after that, negative thoughts have popped into my head less and less.
I’m becoming Teflon-coated. Cool!
Thank you, Nate, for sharing your article on Mix. It works!
This short video by Srikumar Rau sums up why this 30-second technique works: Your mindset is your choice.
Then, I came upon this article about Letting Go by life coach Diana Frajman.
Diana suggests engaging in a few physical exercises to get rid of our heavy baggage before starting the New Year and Decade.
1. Write about everything that dragged you down in the last year or decade; anything you don’t want to pack up and take with you.
2. Scrub negative thoughts and memories away while in the shower. Imagine them being sucked down the drain.
3. Inhale clean deep breaths outdoors and then exhale negativity.
They pair well with Nate’s article, don’t you think?
Be sure to click to Diana’s blog for more a lot more detail about this technique. Thanks, Diana!
Let me know if these techniques work for you. They worked for me! I’m sprinting into the New Year with all kinds of enthusiasm, a fresh outlook, and lots of new ideas. Get ready Wild Riders!
Would you be willing to take 30 seconds to change your mindset? How about a good scrub?
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