We all get them at some time or other, worrying thoughts that lead to fearful imaginings. The skill is to recognize the instant these pessimistic messages pop into your head and to stop them immediately.
There’s no doubt, words are powerful, even if we voice them internally. Research has shown that the amygdala – the part of the brain that activates the “fight or flight” survival response – is triggered in less than a second by such words as, “illness”, “debt”, “loss” and “fear”. Our basic survival instinct shuts down the ability to reason and think clearly. If you constantly worry that something bad could happen, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy; the very thing you have been worrying about comes true.
Here are 5 quick steps to banish negativity and fill your mind with bright thoughts
As soon as you catch yourself thinking something negative, use your internal voice and say, “STOP THAT NOW!”.
Combine those words with a strong visual image that removes the negative thought entirely.
Immediately replace the bleak thought or emotion with a positive statement.
To give you an example of points 1, 2 and 3: if you’ve had a bill come in and it’s tipped your finances into the red. Your reaction could be, “I’m hopeless with money”. In a loud internal voice shout “STOP THAT NOW!”.
Next, visualize yourself standing in the middle of a football stadium. The stadium is packed to capacity. The words “I’m hopeless with money” are printed on the football you’re holding. Give that ball a bionic kick and send it catapulting out of the park. Watch the football (and your words) as they soar up and away from you, Now look up at the giant screen and see your new thought ablaze in flashing lights, “I attract abundance into my life”. (Please note, this exercise isn’t trivializing debt, it’s preventing you from slipping into negativity).
Those three steps have created a block against damaging toxic neurotransmitters. You’ve effectively stopped the negative signals. High five, sister! Now you’re going to introduce a whole big bunch of happy neurotransmitters to complete the process.
Think of something that makes you laugh. It could be your all-time favorite scene from the TV show “Friends” or a personal experience – perhaps something your child has said recently that made you burst out laughing. Laughter is a powerful anti-depressant. It lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, and boosts immune function. Laughing triggers the release of super-friendly endorphins. These are nature’s pain-killers and they produce a positive feeling in the body. Even smiling releases serotonin (a happy neurotransmitter), giving you a sense of well-being.
Exercise is another great way to release endorphins. As an extra boost go for a brisk walk. Focus your mind and senses on the scenery. Expand your lungs and take deep breaths of fresh air into your stomach, this oxygenates your brain and encourages creativity. That walk could be all you need to come up with a solution to pay that bill!
Sunshine and Smiles,