Stopping Bad Thoughts

If putting a stop to negativity is the key to living a more open, creative, and authentic life, it’s hard to imagine people not screaming “Sign me up!” But what does it take to recognize and block negativity? Or better yet, to turn it into positivity?

 

Listen.“We all have this ongoing conversation in our head,” Brown says. “We’re always thinking. We constantly have thoughts churning in our minds. Awareness is a practice of noticing how your mind is on and learning how to go beyond those thoughts,” she says.

 

Be curious. If we can learn to gently notice negative thoughts, and be curious about them, we can notice how they’re affecting us. Brown suggests tuning in to negative thoughts and asking yourself: How can I think about this situation differently? Kindly question your thoughts and ask whether or not they could be altered.

 

Make distinctions. Brown warns that some negativity can be productive, and it’s important to differentiate between the necessary kind and the debilitating kind. “Sometimes our negative thoughts, particularly about danger, can be helpful. There are times when we need to hear ‘No, don’t do that! That could be dangerous!’” she says.

 

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HEALTHY JUDGEMENT OR HABITUAL NEGATIVITY? To explain the difference between the two, Brown gives the example of going for a drive. “If you make the judgment that your car is going too fast and you need to slow down, that’s a self-preserving judgment,” she says “But if you make the decision to stay off the roads in fear that cars are unsafe or you are incapable of driving one, it kills your freedom and is a destructive thought pattern.”
 
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