How to Get Bad Thoughts Out of Your Head

    Have you ever taken time to observe the parade of thoughts streaming through your head? Where do they come from? Are they all really yours? Some of them seem to come out of nowhere or from someone other than that person you like to think of as you.

    How do you get rid of the thoughts that plague you? You know the ones that repeat themselves to the point of draining your energy, creating confusion, or just plain stopping you from pursuing your better hopes and possibilities. How do you get under those self-critical messages that pop up just when you have gotten up the courage to live your dreams?

    It’s simple to say, “Stop thinking that way!” But that may not be real effective. If someone asks you to stop thinking about a pink elephant, it’s just hard to get that silly image out of your mind. It’s even harder with self-criticism that you’ve been trained to believe.

    So, following the theme of this week, that “Just saying no,” is often not effective, what can you do with these nasty little thoughts of self-doubt, worry, or fear that pester you?

    Here’s a strategy to try out:

    Engage those little devils in an honest discussion. Propose that you will accept what those thoughts have to say about you, but only with some real substantial evidence. You can then come up with examples that support the fact that, in the past, you’ve had experiences that made you think and feel the way you do. O.K. that makes sense.

    Once that evidence is presented, it’s your turn to offer counter-evidence. Describe times when what those thoughts are telling wasn’t true. No matter how strong a pattern of behavior, thinking, or feeling is, there have been times when this was not the case. Point out exceptions that disprove the rule.

    As you engage this process, notice that you are a complex, multi-faceted, multi-dimensional being who cannot be described or defined in neat little labels. Notice also that you can observe all the different ways that you think and feel without feeling the need to identify with any of them.

    As you gain that freedom, you will find more mental space around any thought that drifts through your head. In that space, you may discover a freedom to choose the thoughts that you entertain.


    Kevin Schoeninger

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