I have written before about “thought stopping” as a strategy for helping oneself out of a negative downward thought spiral. Such spirals can carry one deeper and deeper, perhaps even into a depression . Simply stopping the thoughts can be an effective way to interrupt the cycle.
It is not always easy to do this, as sometimes the mind can be pretty persistent in running its negative program . Another strategy can be useful at these times. I will call it “thought replacement.” It is simply replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones.
For example, if you are angry with your spouse, you are likely thinking about all the things that were done to make you upset, or about the negative qualities you currently assign to that partner. In thought replacement, you think of what you love about that person, and focus on that instead. Rather than mentally listing his or her negative qualities, you can focus on the positive ones.
If you get laid off from your job, instead of thinking of all the negative aspects of that situation, you can think about finding a new job that is better in many ways than the old one.
Even if you can only find one positive thing to think about the person or situation, focus on that one instead of all the negative ones. Focusing on the negatives will only make us more angry, upset, discouraged and unhappy. Negative thinking only leads to more negative thinking.
Holding a positive thought is like opening a door that can lead us out of the negative spiral. It helps us to feel better, and is much more productive.
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