How to Eliminate Toxic Thoughts and Negative Thinking

toxic thoughts

Have you ever heard of the nocebo effect?

During medication trials, researchers informed patients of possible negative side effects. The results surprised researchers. Many patients receiving the inactive substances acquired some of the side effects mentioned.

The nocebo effect. The wicked step-mother of the placebo effect.

Boiled down, this phenomenon means that negative expectations influence people's minds.

Sound familiar?

The effect occurs in more than just clinical settings. It happens every day. Every time we allow negative and toxic thoughts to dominate our thought processes we become victims of nocebo.

Eliminating negativity requires thinking with intention. It's not something you can whisk under the rug like dust mites. And hope they'll somehow disappear or find their way to the trash can.

Let's look at 4 techniques to help interrupt negative thoughts. This allows you to reframe your mind and focus on positive, empowering ways of thinking.

 

Surround Yourself with Positive People

More than likely you've heard the phrase "Misery loves company."

One deterrent to changing thought habits is surrounding yourself with doom and gloom types. Constant negative input from friends or coworkers creates roadblocks. Your attempts to reframe your thinking become more difficult.

As if it's not already hard enough, right?

Researchers from Notre Dame studied the behaviors of college roommates. They discovered it was not uncommon for roommates to mirror the habits of one another.

This was especially true in cases of pessimistic behavior patterns. This is due in part to the fact that most people tend to express their worrisome thoughts and ideas out loud.

Of course, it's not always feasible to completely avoid these types of people. You may not be able to request a new cubicle mate. And most of the time, requesting a new roommate is out of the question.

It's important to be aware of the people around you who tend toward toxic thoughts. Leave the room or block the negative outbursts. It's a step in the positive direction.

Time to Run an Errand

"Excuse me, negative thought, but I need to go to the grocery store."

What? No one entrenched in the darkness of negative thinking has the desire to drive to the grocery store.

Don't worry, this distraction technique requires no credit card and no car keys.

Author and psychologist Guy Winch, Ph.D. explains the idea. "Try to picture all of the items on one shelf in the store, and the order that you see them in," he explains. "You can actually train your brain to go in a different direction when these thoughts come up."

He suggests spending 30 seconds to a minute on this. And he stresses the importance of going through the exercise every time toxic thoughts invade your brain.

Training your brain to stop is definitely possible, but requires a serious commitment. Winch goes as far as saying that if you must, go "shopping" 20 times in an hour. The key to success is discipline.

"It may seem temporary, but if you reinforce these patterns enough, it can improve your mood and your decision-making abilities," says Winch.

Not much of a grocery shopper? Try concentrating on the order of other items such as:

  • The books on the top and bottom shelves of your bookcase
  • The songs on your most recent playlist
  • Every major and minor holiday from January to December
  • Listing your favorite TV shows in order from Monday through Sunday

Distracting your mind may prove difficult at first. That's the reason it's so important to focus on something that needs to be ordered. It requires full concentration leaving no room for the negativity trying to invade.

Get Those Dust Mites into the Trash

One of the worst things you can do is try to push away your toxic thoughts by "sweeping them under the rug."

Why? Because just like the dust mites, they don't really go away. When Fido comes racing through the living room and upsets the rug, hello dirt particles.

A study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology found that "Women are more likely to develop anxiety and mood disorders such as depression because women are more likely to internalize their emotions..."

Psychologists have determined a very effective approach. It seems rather simple but works to get rid of nagging thoughts. A 2012 study out of Ohio University found that deeming thoughts as "trash" works.

What to do: write down the negative, self-destructive thought on a piece of paper. Crumble up the paper. Throw it in the trash.

Researchers asked people to write down toxic thoughts centered on negative body image. What happened several minutes after tossing the paper into the trash was remarkable. Subjects reported having a more positive image of themselves.

The study was co-authored by psychology professor Richard Petty PhD. Petty surmises "However you tag your thoughts--as trash or as worthy of protection--seems to make a difference in how you use those thoughts."

We All Need Somebody to Lean On

As it turns out, doing good for someone else has actual health benefits

The Journal of Health and Social Behavior conducted an in-depth study. The aim of the study was to see if volunteering affected 6 things. These were:

  • Happiness
  • Satisfaction with life
  • Self esteem
  • A sense of control of life
  • Physical health
  • Symptoms of depression

The results: volunteering helped in all these areas!

Volunteering takes the focus off yourself. Doing something nice for someone else is a step toward reframing your thoughts. Toxicity cannot exist in the presence of a good deed.

Interesting Side Note: A meta-analysis of over 40 different studies found evidence that volunteerism increases life expectancy. There was a 22% decrease in mortality rates in elderly people who spent time volunteering on a regular basis.

Take Control of Toxic Thoughts

Toxic thoughts are fuel for depression and anxiety. Let's work together to quench that fire.

Answer this:

Are you prepared to free yourself from negative restraints that cause unhappiness?

Do you want to experience more self-expression and wisdom?

Are you ready to begin living deliberately?

If your answers are a resounding "Yes!" then let The Avatar® Course guide you.

Our experienced Avatar Masters are ready to help you banish negativity, realign your consciousness, and rediscover your self. What are you waiting for?