Putting an End to Destructive Thinking

Article by Dee DeWitt, Edited by Dee DeWitt


Most likely, everyone knows how destructive viruses can be to our computer.  Virus protection is important to keep our computer healthy and working as intended.


Yet many times, we’re not so careful when it comes to protecting our own ourselves … our own minds.  Destructive, negative thinking can have effects that are every bit as devastating as a virus is to a computer.


The more serious of these thoughts can lead to mental health problems such as loss of confidence, mild or moderate depression, self esteem issues, and a distorted perception of ourselves.  Science has shown that there is a link between physical and mental well being and positive attitudes in life.  When we are happy and content with life and our thought processes are working correctly our brain releases endorphins, which is our brains’ way of dealing with pain and making us feel happier.  Our brain also releases Gamma Globulin to strengthen our immune system and another chemical called Interferon which combats viruses, infections and even cancer.


So how then do we fight destructive thoughts and protect ourselves in order to stay mentally and physically healthy?


One answer is to simply make ourselves aware of our own thoughts, and recognize when action is needed so that our own destructive thoughts won’t lead to a downward spiral of negative emotion resulting in mental and physical problems.  Here are four ways to control the viruses in our mind:


Stop negative talk.  When we recognize that we are talking to ourselves in a negative way, we need to recognize it for what it is.  Our mind is wired to protect us from being hurt emotionally.  As a result, it starts talking in a negative way in order to protect our feelings.


For example, you want to start your own business and have a desire to work for yourself.  At first you are really excited by the prospect, but immediately your mind start telling you it will be too hard, you will have to work very long hours, you will have to network, which you hate doing, you will have to do this and that and it will be way too hard.

As soon as you recognize these negative thoughts beginning to creep in, it’s time to stop them dead in their tracks and carry on with your plans.


When we recognize and stop the negative self-talk, our thoughts will then start naturally flowing to a positive state of mind … much like when we were children and we believed we could do anything … only this time we have the tools to actually do anything we want.


The past pulls us down – get rid of it.  We tend to dwell on negative events from our past in an effort to understand why they happened.  This can often occur with traumatic events from our past.  Admittedly it’s difficult to simply forget negative events in our lives.  But we can acknowledge things that happened to us – not dismiss them – and then place them on a shelf in the back of our mind.  Instead of analyzing the traumatic event every day, it is better just to know it’s on the back shelf and get on with doing other things in life.


Training ourselves with positive affirmations.  The use of affirmations is well documented.  Affirmations are short phrases or sentences you repeat to yourself mentally in order to induce a certain state of mind … such as “I am a good person and I deserve good things to happen in my life.”  By stating affirmations to yourself in a mantra like way and repeatedly over weeks, months and years your mind becomes trained to think in a different way.


If you don’t think this works … think about your fears for a second or two.  People who are afraid of going into elevators have literally used negative affirmations and visualization to train their mind to produce a state of panic whenever they have to enter an elevator.


So it is true in reverse.  People who are confident affirm themselves.  They tell their mind they are confident in every situation and confident enough to try new situations.   We all use affirmations in our lives without ever knowing that we do.


So why not put affirmations to good use and consciously train your brain to a better way of thinking?


Be open to new experiences.  We are only on this earth for an average of eighty years.  So why not try and experience as much as you can during that time?  We all live in comfort zones and that’s great because comfort zones protect us to a degree.  However they also stop us from learning about ourselves and growing as individuals.


We also we pass on our comfort zones to our children.  We all want what’s best for our children, so why not try to experience something totally new and step outside our comfort zone?


Accept that every thought cannot be controlled.  It would be naive to say that we can literally control all of our thoughts.  It would be impossible to do this if we tried.


Our aim is not to control our thoughts … it’s to steer them in the right direction.


“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.“
-Claude M. Bristol


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Posted on 19 January, 2010 in Goals, Happiness, Motivation
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