Successful Thinking and Overcoming Negativity
Some people suffer from chronic depression or anxiety and require more intensive psychotherapy and/or medications. For many people who face performance-based conflicts, however, cognitive work can be a rapid and powerful means for self-change.
Our lives are so tense that our sympathetic nervous systems are stuck in overdrive for much of the day. We feel like rubber bands stretched to their limit until they snap. Evolution has predisposed us to The Four Great Restrictors.
Fear is an unpleasant feeling or anxiety, derived from our belief that someone or something can hurt us, is dangerous, or threatens us. We must face fear to conquer our limitations.
Ego is our sense of self-identity, which mediates our reality. Loss of identity occurs when we are stressed, overwhelmed, or prone to be ruled by what occurs around us. Ego limits ourcharacters and we lose touch with our awareness or have ill-founded beliefs, especially of whom or what we are.
Ignorance means that we are lacking knowledge or information. Ignorance can be very limiting when we form opinions not based on facts, but rather on prejudice. We can see it in illness when finding health strategies are too much effort and being sick is easier.
Self-deception is one result of the first three great restrictors when we fall into the unproductive practice of believing that a false idea, feeling, or situation is true. We see self-deception easily in relationships when we are on the outside of the situation.
Here Are Some Concepts to Consider
5. Be Aware Of Your Thoughts
Daily monitoring of one’s thoughts with a cognitive journal is helpful in targeting specific thought patterns for change. The process helps a person recognize the connection between thoughts and actions.
Being aware of how you empower the four great restrictors (fear, ego, ignorance and self-deception) enables your shift to optimism, confidence, or whatever positive factor moves you toward an exceptional mind.
6. Educate Yourself
One of the great restrictors, ignorance, means we are not educated on a topic. When we don’t now, we can fall prey to fear. Research a topic, make notes, and let new information spark insight into how to handle the problem at hand.
The idea is to develop new, positive thought patterns, which can only be accomplished through education and consistency of effort.
7. Emotional Stimulation
Research has found that if you take exception to and challenge your negative thought patterns in an emotionally charged fashion, you will be more likely to get over them.
Being emotionally charged translates into, “Negative thinking is my enemy.” “It helps to look at a situation impersonally, even if it involves family,” “I can’t let my emotions get in the way.” The secret to emotional intelligence is as follows:
- Recognize that the issue is emotionally based
- Design a plan for overcoming the issues
- Understand that even if you can’t immediately adopt the plan, do persist in your attempts
8. Disrupting Negative Thought Patterns
a. Change the Energy: Most negative thought patterns are accompanied by distinctive emotional and physical manifestations. As soon as you notice these manifestations, it is useful to shiftemotional gears by discontinuing whatever you are doing and engaging in an alternate activity.
For example, you might leave your desk and perform some vigorous physical exercise. By interrupting the flow of negative thoughts and placing yourself in a different state, you can often return to the situation in a different mode.
b. Keep Notes: One purpose of a journal is to remind you of thepotential consequences of negative thought patterns. Often, an emotional reminder is enough to halt negativity. Notes kept handy during work can serve as a mental "pre-flight checklist" to ensure that we are in the right mindset for our world.
c. Generate Energy Blocks: People use this technique to mentally rehearse and combat their negative tendencies. Invoking and coping with these patterns in advance is a psychological inoculation, making it easier to deal with problematic schemas when they emerge in real time.
d. MakePatterns Your Enemy: How can we recognize a problematic schema when it first arises? The pioneer of cognitive therapy, Dr. Aaron Beck, found that one hallmark of negative schemasis automatic thinking. (We call it common mind.)
Once theseschemas are activated by life events, a cascade of automatic, negative thoughts generate anxious, depressed, and angry feelings. These thoughts have a scripted quality, almost as if a tape playsinside our heads.
Very often, the same thoughts will emerge forvery different situations, suggesting that this is not true independent reasoning, but a by-product of schemas derived from previous life experience.
One must be open to change, new ideas, and concepts in order to enhance their comprehension capabilities. An open, flexible mind is a wonderful thing to a happy, healthy, fulfilled life.
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