How to Eliminate Negative Thoughts and Decrease Anxiety

Who doesn’t have negative thoughts now and then? But what if your negative thoughts were constant and generalizing to different areas of your life? How would you get rid of them? Fortunately, there are many methods available to get rid of incessant negative thinking and their resulting anxieties.

Here is an effective step-by-step process that will work if you use it regularly.
As our ongoing example in this process, we’ll use the negative thought, “I’m too dumb to do anything right.”

  1. Turn the thought into a mental image. (Make the negative thought silly)
    Imagine looking and acting completely silly. Create the most exaggerated image of yourself you can. Start by envisioning yourself in ridiculous clothes that don’t match.
    • Be as vivid as possible. Maybe you’re also banging your head against the wall or doing other foolish things. You could also be shouting silly phrases that don’t make any sense. The image should be clearly visible on your mental screen. Include sounds, smells, and physical sensations as well. Keep at this until the original thought brings up this new image.
  2. Choose an alternative thought. (Create a happy thought)
    For our example, an appropriate replacement thought would be, “I’m so intelligent I can do anything.” Choose something that is the OPPOSITE of the original negative thought. Select a phrase that feels right to you.
  3. Turn the new, positive thought into a mental image. (Visualize the happy thought)
    You might imagine yourself dressed like Albert Einstein, shouting, “I’m brilliant. I can do anything.” Again, make this image vivid and outrageous. Keep at it until the positive thought automatically brings up that image.
  4. Link the two images together. (Connect the bad to the good)
    Now, imagine a way to get from your negative image to your positive image. Similar to the director of a movie, you want to find a functional way to connect the opening and the closing scenes.
    • Perhaps in the first scene, you could imagine the image of the “dumb” version of yourself being struck by lightning and catching on fire. Then the new, “Einstein” version of you rises from the ashes and goes into his “I’m brilliant. I can do anything” routine.
    • Practice, Practice, Practice!!! Keep practicing until you run the entire scene in your mind quickly, with no hitches. You’ll know you’re ready once this process takes fewer than 2-3 seconds from start to finish.
  5. Test out your new mental connections.
    When you think the original negative thought, the entire scene should flash through your mind. Your mental process should end with the moment where you’re thinking, “I’m so brilliant. I can do anything.” If you’re not there yet, repeat Step 4 until you are.

Final Tips

Although this may seem silly to you, this is a common mnemonic technique. The imagery must be outrageous. This makes your memories easier to recall and implement when needed.

Also, play around with the perspective. Most people find it helpful to view everything in the third person, like watching a movie of yourself. But you may prefer imagining things from a first-person perspective, which is just imagining it happening as it would in everyday life. Try both perspectives to determine which works better for you.

If you regularly and systematically deal with your negative thoughts, you’ll eventually have very few left. Imagine how life-changing that would be! Imagine what you could accomplish if you didn’t let fear and doubts stop you!!!


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