Replacing Your Negative Thoughts
Negative thought replacement is a method for reducing the amount of depressive thoughts in a person’s mind. In the first article of this series, you learned about becoming more aware of your negative thought patterns. In the next article, you learned about letting go of these negative thoughts as they came to you. Now, you’ll learn about the final step — replacing negative thoughts with more realistic and positive thoughts.
One word of caution — if you are having thoughts about suicide or hurting someone else, tell someone and get professional help immediately. This is a medical emergency — call 911 or your local hospital for help. Thought replacement may not be enough to keep you and others safe from harm in this kind of situation.
Introducing New Positive Thoughts
As you acknowledge and release the negative thoughts about your finances, you can start introducing new thoughts in your mind. First, consider some of the positive changes or actions you and your spouse have taken because of the job loss. Maybe you have gotten creative with your budget, put out lots of resumes, or changed some purchasing habits.
When you release a negative thought about your bills, say something new to yourself like, “I’m feeling more in control because we have cut down some of our bills,” or, “We are finding ways to use our money more wisely and it is helping.” Use the positive information you have learned from this difficult situation to stay encouraged.
Keep Practicing Positive Thought Replacement
You may not quite believe yourself at first since you may be used to your negative thoughts driving everything. If your thoughts are reasonable and encouraging, continue saying them to yourself. Instead of predicting disaster, your newer, more positive thoughts will now pave the way for solutions you may have never considered before. Your problem has become an opportunity.
Images and sounds can also be very influential for some people’s minds. If you know you respond to these, you may conjure up a particular image with your positive thoughts to give them weight — perhaps a color that is calming to you, or an objectr that represents contol or strength to you.
Words spoken aloud also can have a profound effect on the mind. A recent study highlighted in Psychology Today describes how speaking aloud helps create two forms of memory. You remember the words both from reading them and from hearing them aloud.
Change the Direction Of Your Mind with Positive Thoughts
Let’s take one last look at our example of financial worries. You identified the chief concern underneath the negative thoughts about your money, which was a lack of control. When you do something that makes you feel more in control, you take the fuel out of your negative thoughts.