by STEVE SISGOLD July 8, 2015
In order to stop negative thinking on demand, I find it wise to step back and remember that you always have a choice when it comes to your thinking—you can catch and change the direction of your negative thoughts or just let them spin around crazy in your head. As Einstein said, "You can't solve a problem with the same thinking that created it."
So in order to catch—much less stop—your negative thoughts, you have to first make a conscious choice to broaden your awareness from just thinking to experiencing what you feel in the rest of your body, too. That's where Whole Body Intelligence comes in.
In our highly interactive, technologically driven culture, many of us err on the side of over thinking or getting so in our heads that we lose perspective of what we are even thinking about. Being aware of your whole body will help you feel and connect with body cues that will signal when you are caught in a negative thought loop. With that heightened self-awareness in the moment, you can then disengage from that negative thinking and steer your mind in a positive direction.
How to Do That?
It's not necessary to try to stop, trick, or silence the mind when you first notice you are having negative thoughts. I find that when I observe those thoughts, and find out why I am having them in the first place, then I can resolve those thoughts and move on to better ones. I do this by listening to what my body is feeling and telling me.
Steps to Changing Negative Thoughts
Imagine that you are sitting in a reception area waiting for an audition or interview. Your mind is shouting, "I won't get this. They won't like me." Instead of drowning in that mantra, trying to ignore it, try this:
1. Acknowledge what's true for you in the moment. You are afraid that you won't get the gig, and all of your insecurities and past losses are running through your head.
2. How does that thought make you feel? When you have that thought, notice any sensations that you feel in your body relating to that thought.
3. Take a few deep belly breaths, breathing in slowly through your nose and breathing out slowly through your mouth.
4. Lightly touch the area that feels the most sensation, tightness, or tension and say your negative thought to yourself. Example: "I won't get this gig."
5. Continue breathing in and out and shake out any feelings, memories, or voices (yours or other people's) that in the past told you that you wouldn't get something, especially when you really desired it. Take deep breaths and shake your arms or shoulders or any place that feels like it's holding on to your negative thought. Shake and rapidly inhale then exhale out your negative thoughts.
6. Go back to the slow breathing, and say the opposite thought several times to your self. Example: "I deserve and will get this."
7. Keep breathing and repeating the positive thought.
Your mind will continue to wander here and there. However, if you continue to reorient yourself in this Whole Body way on a regular basis, your thoughts will slow down and give your body more bandwidth to communicate with you. You'll tap into more information and receive instant feedback. You'll be more aware and in control of catching and directing your thinking. When you worry, get out of your head ASAP, and engage with your whole body.