Posted by: thaiyogacenter | 02/12/2012

Nine Steps to Work with Negative Thoughts

Nine Steps to Work with Negative
Thoughts

by Dr. Anthony James DM(P), ND, MD(AM) ©2012

The SomaVeda™ System offers in depth understanding of Human Evolutionary Psychology.

As a human species, we are wrought with negative emotions, behaviors and physical states as evidenced in the war-torn world of relationships, ravaged lands and misguided communities we live in today. So what do we do? Because negative thinking is a natural part of the “Human Biological Stress Adaptive Transformational Machine’s” way of being, we must make dedicated and conscious efforts to not be helpless in front of it. We need a plan. Otherwise, we constantly allow negative thoughts to run wild in our heads, like leaves in a dark wind blown this way and that.

The key word above is “allow” our negative thoughts to run wild. This is both a pro and a con. The bad news is that we give space to the continuous liturgy of negative thoughts. Because of their consistency and constancy we believe them to be inevitable and true. This is a misconception. The good news is that because we “allow” them to remain and become the causative factors for depression, fear, anger, and anxiety, we can also “UN-allow” them or replace and substitute other kinds of thinking for them.

So what’s the plan? Here are nine basic principles to follow on a regular basis to work with negative thinking:

1) Ask your self, “Self, do you want to be happy or sad?”

As conscious beings we want to understand that thoughts come from the mind. The mind is an organ just like any other organ. It generates thoughts mechanically and constantly just like the other organs (read Candace Pert’s, PhD., “The Molecules of Emotions”). Most thinking is unconscious and mechanical and can be considered white noise. Thoughts come and go without effort, direction and are usually unrelated to circumstances of life or our actual being. For example, they might be a result of communication from the lining of the stomach stating whether it’s full, empty or a bit too acidic.

When we “give in” to negative thoughts and mindsets, we make a choice to do so. When we notice we are thinking negatively and do not make efforts to control, overcome or detach from them, we choose to submit to them and to the attitudes that reflect their dominance. When we don’t make efforts or make feeble and inconsistent attempts to control or direct them, we set ourselves up to be victims of them. The longer we hold onto, wallow in, and allow the thoughts to continue, the less control we have over their effects until no outside agency or person can help us. Outside help might prove a short intermission, but we always come back to the patterns and habits we practice most.

If we actually want to be happy, we must make efforts every day to choose to good thoughts and to develop good thought habits. Think good thoughts on purpose even when you don’t feel like it. Think good thoughts especially when you don’t feel like it.

The positive elevating emotional experience is on the other side of the generation of a more positive thought life. We cannot wait to work on our thoughts contingent on feeling positive or motivated to do so. That may come later. Observe your thoughts as they arise, literally from the beginning. When you see the negative thoughts remember to ask yourself, “do I want to be happy or sad? Do I want to be angry or depressed? Do I want to be fearful or anxious?” If the answer is no, then right then is the time to let go or to begin the conscious effort of substitution of the positive for the negative. Once you let them take over, there is a negative self-reinforcing momentum of thought, which can take place, where every similar negative thought you have ever had in your life reinforces and justifies it. You can be in charge of your thoughts. Ask your self again, “do you want to be happy or sad?”

2) Don’t justify negative thoughts

We love negative thinking patterns and the individual negative thoughts themselves. We nurture them and hold them dearly as we come to realize either consciously or unconsciously that they define us and give us our character and personality. They create space around us. To a great extent, they define the manifestation of our public persona and personality. They are such constant companions that we rely on them to act as buffers between our inner selves and the outer world so we don’t have to busy ourselves with the whole “paying attention” part of life. Our inner negative thoughts are reflexive and give us reaction in real time to almost everything that happens. The problem is that the reactions and reflexes are skewed, twisted and negative! We are the source of our own self-fulfilling negative karma. Our negative thoughts contribute to all of the other negativities within us and generate together negative emotional states and negative behaviors, which in their own way support further negative consequences to the karma we generate for our selves and for others.

Instead of justifying and defending negative and especially repetitive negative thoughts we must see the thought loops we are tangled up in and start to see the negative thoughts for what they are, unreal and not supportive of living a life with intention and of well-being. We need to consider the power of not acknowledging negativity and allow the thoughts to move on and let go of them. They are not valuable.  In fact they may be perfect impediments to having new and more positive thinking.

3) Let go of attachment to thoughts

See thoughts on the screen of your mind like clouds crossing the sky. They come and go and constantly shift and change. Sometimes they appear to be more real than others. Some are closer and some are further away, but they are always transient. Your true mind is not the clouds. It is the tableau in the background; the clear blue sky we sometimes see peeking between the clouds. This is one of the teachings of meditation in Vipassana, Samatha, and Tratak. Find the still quiet place where there is no thought, yet there is fullness of being. Learn and practice meditation. There are so many types and schools both traditional and modern. If they teach you the art of controlling the mind and finding the between, transition and empty places, that’s a good thing. Those inner spaces by definition are not negative.

4) Spend time with positive people

In the Calssical Indian Ayurveda text, the Charaka Samhita, there is a reference that states in order to balance Kapha Dosha; you need to spend time in the company of agreeable men and women. The primary negative characterization or fault of imbalance in Kapha (Prakruti/Humour or Body Type in Ayurveda) is called the defilement of “ignorance.” Sometimes the very best way to break a descent into ignorant, negative and or disagreeable states is to physically get up and move to a more positive place, in the company of more positive people. Simply trying to work through our issues mentally does not work because we are trying to use the part of us causing the problem to fix it! You cannot use a broken or faulty tool to fix the problem the broken faulty tool caused. You have to introduce another element. Call it “distraction therapy”. Since most thoughts are impermanent, sometimes even what seem to be the most negative ones will go away if you can change your focus for a few minutes. Often having fun or simply placing your self in the middle of people enjoying life and sharing joy can do this. Joy is powerful medicine.

5) Spend less time with negative people

Negative thinking is not only self-reflective and looping, but can also be reflective of a common mind-set of the people you’re with. Others help to reinforce the negative mental loops. If you’re in the company of people constantly expressing negative thoughts, words and deeds, peer pressure alone will persuade you to copy and mimic the group’s (or person’s) negativity. Run for the hills! Get out of there if you want a happy thought life. By this I literally mean change your physical location. For example, Jimmy Buffet sings, “changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes”. I read it to mean changes in latitudes can support changes in attitudes. When you find your self with someone constantly expressing negativity, ask your self “Why am I here with this person?” Ask your self, “what can I do right now to change the track of conversation or the direction on to a more positive one?” There is no elevation based on climbing on top of the faults of others. We cannot make ourselves better by making others bad. You are not a helpless victim of other people’s negative thoughts. Simply move away from them.

6) Don’t waste time not working on your self

What are you doing? My mother used to say, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop”. She was right! Nature ‘abhors’ a vacuum. If you don’t work on your self every day by doing something to elevate and bring realization to your life, then your ego (false personality or unconscious mechanical expression of unresolved negative emotion and thought patterns) will drive you. If you can define a person as a “Human Biological Stress-Adaptive Transformational Machine”, then consider that mal-adaptation to internal and external stress is how we became the poster children of negativity and expression of negative emotions.

You might also consider that you can organize positive stress to become the origination of new and future ways of being within your self, which are entirely different than those you experience today. How much of your typical day do you spend collecting ammo for inner negativity? Ask your self, “What do I watch? What do I read? Who do I listen to everyday?” If you were to determine a percentage of your average daily negative input to positive from external sources what would that percentage be? 100% to 0%? 90/10? 80/20? Rightfully use your mind for a moment. If you are a stress-adaptive organism (organized system), then what stresses are you consciously adapting too? Is it any wonder you feel helpless in front of your negative thoughts?

7) Think positive thoughts on purpose

“If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” If you can’t think a single positive thought, then think someone else’s. Genius, right? This is one of the values of having a small library of uplifting, inspiring, positive books, sacred literature, poems, mantra and songs, art, and sculpture. If you’re stuck in a negative thought loop, then reset the programming with some Mantra medicine. Memorize mantras, poems, and wise sayings. Create a repertoire of positive archetypal thoughts and sentiments to draw on when in need.

Being locked into a train of negative thinking is the “valley of death” and leads to despair. The “Lord’s Prayer” and the Metta Sutra are both antidotes for negative thoughts. Repeat either or both as often as necessary. “What if I have to do this all the time to stay positive,” you might ask. So be it! Some sacred traditions say one of the tools or techniques of enlightenment is to pray without ceasing. As long as the fire of negativity smolders, then keep pouring on the water. When the negative thoughts move on and release you from their repetitive burdens, continue your self-work and efforts. How about working on negative emotions?

8) Don’t think anything you would not say in front of people

Whenever you see a train of repetitive thoughts about a specific person or group, ask your self, would you share those thoughts or actually say them face to face with that person? Then ask your self, would the consequence of saying those thoughts/words be positive or negative? If the answer is negative, then check those thoughts. If you hear yourself actually expressing those negative thoughts in words, then check you behavior. At the least find the control to the mouth and close the lips until your able to make progress with the thoughts. Simply expressing negative thoughts or as we like to say “venting” is creating karma. People tend to respond to our negative expressions and that can cause damage. The Tibetans are famous for saying that karma results from all three: thought, action and deed. To restore equilibrium and reduce harmful causation or like my old Vipassana teacher, venerable Aachan Chaa used to say, “thinking right is a precursor to being right”.

9) Move into the heart space

The mind organ quantifies, calculates, weighs and measures, recognizes patterns, compares and contrasts, critiques pros and cons and imagines. The heart is a different organ and has a different center of influence. The heart is concerned with connection, transformation, movement and emotional realizations. It is the seat of our conscience, our emotional realizations of truth and the feelings of connection that stem from them. When the heart sees from essence, it realizes the true nature of things, situations and of others in a less critical way. The heart knows that we all struggle, we are all finding our way, and we all want and need love. When we look at others and the situations of life from the perspective of the heart, we bond with them and experience more of a sense of oneness and common experience with less or no judgment and criticism. The mind of the heart is empathetic and compassionate. When we see our own lives and those of others through empathy, negativity barriers and boundaries dissolve

SomaVeda™ Thai Yoga and Thai Massage incorporates elements of mindfulness, gentle rocking, deep stretching and rhythmic compression and focus to create a singular healing experience.

The SomaVeda™ Integrated Traditional Therapies life and livelihood is about securing the necessities of Love, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity for ourselves and all mankind. It is a way of working that’s as good for the person doing it as for those receiving. This work does not cause you harm and makes you stronger and healthier the longer you do it. This is unlike other forms of “healing” which may cause repetitive stress and occupational disability the longer you do them.  You can be completely yourself in every way while you do this work. SomaVeda™ is a genuine spiritually based healing system preparing practitioners for real life clinical practice.

If your interested in learning more about Ayurveda Yoga Therapy based Science and Healing while developing a Thai Yoga practice visit us today!

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4715 Bruton Rd. Plant City, Florida 33565
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