Turn Your Negatives into Neutrals




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Negatives, neutrals, and garbage labels...?


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Leading behavoral researches have told us that as much as 75% of everything we think is negative, counter-productive and works against us. - Shad Helmstetter

This is a very scary thought, but not surprising. Most of our thoughts are automatic. They are based solely on our past experiences and the core beliefs that support them. That annoying voice in your head that jabbers incessantly while you're engaged in routine tasks is usually not a friend. But it can be.

Our negative thoughts create our emotions, which, in turn, govern our behaviors. These behaviors subsequently serve to reinforce the original negative thought. It's a vicious circle. And it will continue unless we do something about it.
You must not allow yourself to dwell for a single moment on any kind of negative thought.
- Emmet Fox






It can be a very difficult task trying to figure out what negative beliefs lurk in our brains. And if we do find something, we still have the lengthy job of repeatedly affirming the opposite. Just the sheer number of negative beliefs that are part of our mental programming can make the whole idea seem beyond daunting.

However, we could start by downgrading our negative thoughts into neutral ones. Neutral thoughts are relatively powerless. We have many neutral thoughts. What to eat for lunch, which tie to wear with which shirt, noticing small changes in our environment, etc. These thoughts are not disempowering, as we allow them to stay neutral. It's only when we attach emotional baggage to them, such as "I really shouldn't be eating this", "These ties are all so worn out", or, "Why did they have to start new road work this week!", that they become negatives.

So how do we neutralize negative thoughts?

For a start, we can stop giving negative thoughts our conscious attention. Secondly, we can give our subconscious mind simple directives such as:

      I'm no longer interested in that old story. Tell me something positive.

      That kind of thinking is a waste of time. Come up with something better.


      I've got much more positive things to do than waste time worrying about...


I've used all the above and come up with many others as well. They do help to reduce negative thinking, as long as one is vigilant. But my favorite way to shift negatives into neutral is a mental exercise I created years ago.

The Garbage Label Method


Every time I have a negative thought, I assign it a 'garbage' label. It's a game I play with my subconscious mind. Whenever a negative thought arises, I say, "That's a banana peel", or, "What an old shoelace!" Then I visualize throwing this labeled piece of junk into the trash. My sub-mind seems to love this game, probably because it involves mental imagery, which is a language it understands. I like the game because:

  1. It immediately puts things into proper perspective (negative thoughts ARE garbage)
  2. I enjoy using my right brain to come up with creative garbage 'labels'
  3. I almost always end up smiling or laughing afterwards. 
So in affect, I discovered a way to neutralize the negative, and end up positive. It didn't involve trying to determine and change my core beliefs. It just stopped the negatives. I now realize, however, that my core beliefs actually have been changed, as most of the older negative thoughts no longer appear.

Try the Garbage Label method for turning your negatives into neutrals. It's creative, fun, and stops negative thinking dead in it's tracks. It also leaves you feeling happier and lighter. Go ahead. Trash your negatives :)


 

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