The subconscious mind is akin to a super powerful hard drive to a computer. It takes in all kinds of thoughts, whether positive or negative, with no discrimination as to what it absorbs. We can use the power of the subconscious mind to our benefit, but when left unaddressed, it can work to our detriment as well.
Needless to say, it is important to control what the subconscious mind is looping on. It acts as our inner voice much of the time, and when it is constantly causing negative thoughts, we end up in states of self-doubt, or even worse, self-hatred. Removing negative thoughts, to the best of our ability, can have a myriad of benefits. So today I am sharing practical and effective ways of removing negative thoughts from your subconscious mind and replacing them with positive ones.
Changing your environment can be helpful if you find you are having looping negative thoughts throughout most of your day. It is your physical environment (housing, office, etc.)? Perhaps it’s the people you are surrounded by? Is there a trigger occurring in your daily life? Negative thought patterns are habitual for many people. By changing your surrounding environment, the normal triggers for that negative thinking aren’t there anymore, allowing your brain to react differently to its new surroundings.
Want to know the side effects of too much screen time? Here are a few: Physical strain to your eyes and body, sleep deprivation, increased risk of obesity, susceptibility to chronic health conditions, loss of cognitive ability, impaired socializing skills, and weakened emotional judgment (for more information, click HERE). By reducing screen time, we stop bombarding our brains, and our subconscious minds, with “comparisonitis.” The constant comparison of your life to others, what you have compared to others, how happy others are in comparison to you, all lead to negative thoughts about our own lives. So put an alert on your phone – pick a time frame that you are comfortable with viewing social media, the news, etc., and once that time is up, get off!
In somewhat the same vein as above, taking a digital detox regularly is also tremendously helpful to our brains and subconscious minds. This article is helpful in identifying the benefits of a digital detox and assessing whether you are due for one. Curious if you are? Do you feel anxious or stressed out if you can't find your phone? Feel compelled to check your phone every few minutes? Feel depressed, anxious, or angry after spending time on social media? Are you are preoccupied with the like, comment, or reshare counts on your social posts? Are you afraid that you'll miss something if you don't keep checking your device? Do you often find yourself staying up late or getting up early to play on your phone? Do you have trouble concentrating on one thing without having to check your phone? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you are probably due for one!
Reading books gives our subconscious minds a break from the constant stimulation we encounter throughout our days, whether it be our devices, the media, our colleagues, etc. Reading allows our brains to work in a different way – taking us into imaginary or dreamlike worlds that can be entertaining and very positive (depending on what you pick to read!). Reading keeps our minds sharp and can also delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. The more positive and uplifting material we give our subconscious minds, the more positive our thoughts will be.
Ever heard that phrase, “you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with?” This quote is attributed to motivational speaker Jim Rohn, and is a good tool for assessing the level of positivity or negativity you are surrounded by. Sometimes we don’t have much of a choice – we are in a living situation, perhaps with relatives or family, and the person we are living with tends to be on the negative end of the spectrum. But we can balance that out by the people we surround ourselves with at work, at the gym, our friends, etc. When we surround ourselves with positive people, we are constantly reinforcing positive thinking to our subconscious mind.
When we label the thoughts we know are negative, we can quickly assess their worth in that present moment. If we are experiencing something negative, we can ask ourselves why that is and then switch to a more positive one if needed. We never want to bypass a negative feeling, but if there is really no merit to the negative thought because it has just become habitual, than we are better off thinking a more positive one.
Similar to the thought process above, when we get into observer mode with our thoughts, instead of identifying with them, we start to see how easily our minds default to negative thinking patterns. When you are conscious of what you are thinking, you can quickly switch the frequency of your thoughts if you notice you are stuck in a negative loop or thought pattern. A great way to learn how to do this is to sit comfortably, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and start to focus on your breathing. You’ll start to experience certain thoughts popping into your mind, but practice not attaching to them. Just pretend you are watching a movie screen, and the thoughts just kind of float on by. This teaches us how to detach from our thoughts in a way that is healthy instead of letting our thoughts take us down the rabbit hole of negativity.
Negative beliefs lead to negative thoughts which lead to negative actions on our parts. When we catch ourselves in negative thinking mode, one way to move beyond the looping is to take a moment to practice some deep breathing. Deep breathing just means taking measured breaths that are big enough in the inhalation that our bellies rise (not just our chest). This calms our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and brings us back to present moment awareness. It’s hard to stay in negative thought patterns when we are focused on our breathing.
Just as I would not advise you to go into a business meeting unprepared, not having a plan for how to address negative thoughts can also lead to failure. Having a go-to mantra or set of mantras that you can employ when your negative thoughts start to take hold is one of the best ways to counteract negative thinking. The subconscious mind “hears” everything the conscious mind thinks so the more positive juice we can give it, the better!
Last, but certainly not least, is the use of affirmations. One of the ways the subconscious mind can be rewired is by repetition. So when we affirm to ourselves on a daily basis the things we want out of life, our subconscious mind starts to believe those things to be true. When we combine the use of affirmations with more positive lived experiences, our subconscious mind learns a new way of thinking that is more positive than negative.
While this list of tips is certainly not an exhaustive list of the ways you can remove negative thinking from your subconscious mind, I do believe if you employed just a few of these techniques each day, you would see a tremendous shift in your thinking patterns. As always, comment below and let us know what tips are your favorites!
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