Anxiety. Stress. Insecurity. Depression. Conquering these demons seems extremely difficult while in the midst of them, but being someone who has risen above these things after a long personal struggle, I believe I can offer you some incredibly valuable insights. I was on the verge of suicide not too long ago, but when I discovered how to stop negative thoughts once and for all, life got a whole lot better…
The Old Me. Stressed. Depressed.
I’m not here to brag about myself. I just hope I can inspire you and help you realize that it doesn’t matter where you are starting from. With the right guidance, you can get out of any slump you might be in. Even if you’re dealing with long-standing issues, I know from a lot of personal experience that those can be transcended and overcome as well.
The New and ‘At Peace’ Me…
Before we can even begin to discuss solutions, we must determine the REAL problem (rather than the “perceived” problem) and get to the root of it. If you want to stop negative thoughts, you need to focus on the deeper issue that is “causing” those thoughts to come to the surface…
ALWAYS Look INSIDE for the “Cause” of Your Problems
I used to suffer from moderate to severe social anxiety and low self-esteem. I believed that people, in general, were very judgemental. I was afraid to speak my mind or express my authentic self because I always thought I would be judged harshly for doing so. This, among many other false beliefs, was keeping my anxiety alive and well.
One Potential Cause of Negative Feelings and Outcomes: Beliefs
The World is Your Mirror (The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy)
My life only began to change when I realized that people reacted to me exactly in accordance with the beliefs I had about myself.
Your beliefs about who you are and what you are like as a person create expectations (often unconscious) for how you should behave in the world. This “behavior” that results from your beliefs and expectations is not always apparent. It can manifest as very subtle things such as the way you walk, talk, speak, and carry yourself.
This behavior automatically leads to certain results, which then reinforces the belief that was the initial cause of that result in the first place. This leads people in an endless cycle. This is exactly why most people do not change very much and tend to stay the same kind of person their entire life.
The key to completely turning your life around and getting on the fast-track to all the success and happiness you desire is to break this cycle and create a new one.
Examples of Beliefs That Create Self-Fulfilling Prophecies
Let’s look at some actual example of how beliefs manifest into results.
“I’ll never be good enough…”
- Apathy, laziness, or lack of commitment to progress, which creates poor (or zero) results, which reinforces the belief of not being ‘good enough’ to receive what you want in life.
“I’m so unlucky…”
- Expecting poor results, which leads to taking little to no action, which leads to the poor results you expected, which reinforces the belief that you are somehow less fortunate than others who have succeeded.
“No one cares” or “You can’t trust anyone these days…”
- Fear of connection or intimacy, skepticism, and doubts about people’s intentions, which pushes people away from you, reinforcing the belief that ‘no one cares’ or that they are just using you.
“Money doesn’t grow on trees…”
- Expecting struggle when it comes to earning money, which causes you to overlook opportunities right in front of your eyes that seem too good to be true, which leads you to take a more difficult path than is necessary, which reinforces your belief that making money is difficult.
By the way, last time I checked, fruit grows on trees, and I see people at the local market selling fruits in exchange for money every single day :p
The Beliefs are Not Always Conscious. Go Deeper.
Just because you are not aware of the beliefs doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Beliefs can exist in the unconscious parts of our mind and remain dormant until triggered by something that happens to us. This is why it is so essential that we monitor our conscious thoughts as closely as possible.
I highly recommend starting some type of daily introspective practice such as meditation, as it is one of the very best ways to get in touch with these unconscious attitudes, beliefs, and emotions so you can begin to release them and eliminate their negative influence on you. Check out these meditation techniques for some ideas.
Now that we have covered the very basics, let’s go deeper…
How to Change Conscious or Unconscious Beliefs
I could say, “Just choose to believe something different” but that would be very shallow advice. You’ve certainly already tried to consciously stop negative thoughts from sabotaging you, and so you know that it’s not as simple as making one decision. We have to understand what could be causing those thoughts and beliefs to be present in the first place.
The “Cause” of Negative Beliefs, Attitudes, and Perspectives
This is a vast topic that could be approached from many different angles. We’ve already discussed a little about the importance and power of beliefs, but we should also discuss the relation between thought and emotion because this is widely misunderstood.
If you’ve studied any self-help material previously, you’ve probably heard that it is our thoughts that create our feelings. This idea is what sparked the whole “positive thinking” movement, and while I think in general, it’s a good thing, the idea is lacking in power because it does not take into account that the real problem we deal with is NOT negative thoughts but rather suppressed and repressed emotions that continue to emerge and feed our negative thoughts, keeping them alive no matter how hard we try to “think positive.”
You can’t fix an old rusty car by giving it a new paint job (i.e. positive thinking). You have to go deep into the workings of the machine and replace or eliminate what is causing it to be defective.
Stop Negative Thoughts By Releasing Suppressed Emotions
Everyone has had the experience of having very disturbing thoughts come into their mind for no apparent reason. Sometimes, these thoughts keep coming back and it seems we can’t control them at all no matter how hard we try.
That is because we try to change the thoughts themselves but fail to eliminate the cause of those thoughts…suppressed emotional energy.
I find it helpful to think of it like a hot-air balloon. The balloon represents your level of happiness and inner peace, and the weights hanging below represent the suppressed feelings and unconscious beliefs that prevent you from experiencing the higher levels of happiness.
Happiness is not something you have to chase. It’s already inside of you, beneath all the negative thoughts and feelings. To find happiness, you only have to remove the ‘clouds’ of negativity so that the ‘sun’ of happiness can shine forth.
Learning how to release emotional energy will allow you to put your mind at ease very quickly, even when it seems to be going crazy and you can’t get it to stop. The following method is very simple but very powerful and effective for stopping negative thoughts in their tracks. Please don’t overlook it or fail to use it every single day of your life.
How to Stop Negative Thoughts in 4 Simple Steps
Step 1. Recognize the FEELING behind the thought, not the thought itself.
Step 2. Ask yourself if you could let it go if your life depended on it.
Step 3. Take a deep breath and just let it go on the exhale.
Step 4. Repeat the process until the thoughts stop coming back.
Let’s try it together right now so you can see how powerful this simple process can be.
What do you feel right now?
Do NOT focus on what you THINK about the feeling. Focus on the actual physical sensation of the feeling inside your body.
We often keep feelings alive by explaining and justifying them with our mind, but if we focused on the feeling itself, we would find it’s a whole lot easier to let it go.
So, what do you feel right now? Where is that feeling located in your body? How would you describe it?
If someone pointed a gun at your head and said, “If you don’t let go of this feeling right now, then I’m going to shoot you”, could you let it go then?
This question is just meant to point you to the fact that YOU are the one holding on to the feeling. It is not being kept alive by anything outside of you.
The feeling is not “caused” by the external circumstance that you may believe is causing it. It is only present because something within you is saying that you need to hold onto it. But if your life depended on it, you COULD and you WOULD let it go, 100% of the time with zero hesitation.
Breathe in and FEEL it. Breathe out and RELEASE it.
It really CAN be this simple. If you just practice with this, you will see the power of this simple method VERY quickly. Just doing this process a few times with something you are feeling will put you into a much more peaceful state than you maybe even believed was possible.
Don’t make it harder than it has to be. Repeat these 3 steps until you have mastered the process of releasing negative feelings.
We often make thing difficult for ourselves by getting stuck in our minds and trying to figure things out. But you can’t think your way out of a feeling that is stemming from deep within you. The only way to get rid of it is to FEEL it and then RELEASE it.
No thinking is actually required to do this. The mind will only make this more difficult for you, if not impossible.
3 Essential Realizations Needed for Sustained Progress
You want to stop negative thoughts and feelings, but a part of you actually loves those negative thoughts and feelings because it gives you a certain identity, no matter how painful that identity may be. You have to realize that who you believe yourself to be is not actually who you are…
1. Thoughts and Feelings are NOT Personal and NOT the Real ‘You’
Thoughts and feelings are like passing clouds. They come and they go but they can never disturb the real you who is the silent witness of all this.
In order for thoughts and feelings to even be recognizable, there must be “something” beneath or behind those thoughts and feelings capable of recognizing them. If you quiet your mind for even a few seconds, you’ll clearly see that you are not your mind but rather the “screen” that the mind is projected onto.
This may seem like a strange concept, especially if you haven’t been exposed to many spiritual teachings, but it is actually an essential realization. Words can only point to this fact but cannot take you all the way there.
You must practice the 4-step emotional release process mentioned above in order to have this realization yourself.
As you release the suppressed emotional energies, your mind will become quieter and quieter, and during brief periods you may experience absolute stillness. You will then know this deeper, silent part of you exists, and hopefully, you will be curious enough to find out more about it because this place within you is where all the happiness you could ever desire resides.
2. The “Cause” of Thoughts and Feelings is Always INTERNAL.
It’s very easy to think that our thoughts and feelings are somehow “caused” by events that happen in our lives, but correlation does not equal causation. This is extremely important to understand.
Just because something happened to you and then you felt happy or sad does NOT mean that the event “caused” your happiness or your sadness. It “triggered” the feeling that was already within you but did not “cause” it.
If events had the power of cause, then a singular event would lead to every single person who witnessed that even to react in the same exact way. Obviously, this is not the case at all. People react differently based on their own perception and interpretation of events.
When you think of it this way, it’s very plain and obvious that events and circumstances have no power whatsoever to “cause” any thought or feeling within you.
When you are feeling depressed or anxious, your initial reaction may be to look for the cause out in the world somewhere, you may want to blame someone or something, but this would be a mistake. If you want to stop negative thoughts and feelings, you can’t believe that they are being created by something beyond your own control.
Always look within because it is our inner worlds that color and give meaning to external events and circumstances. Change the inner for the better and the appearance of the outer will automatically improve, with no seeming effort at all.
3. To Get Rid of Negative Feelings, FACE Them, Don’t Run Away.
What do you do if a tiger is chasing you? You run away. In the same way, most people are terrified of their own negative feelings and try to avoid them at all costs. We eat food, watch television, scroll through Facebook, and a million other things in an unconscious attempt to avoid the negative feelings within ourselves.
If you just faced your negative feelings head on, went into the core of them and dissolved them through surrender, you would find that they are more like cute little bunny rabbits, completely harmless and innocent, and yet all this time you were treating them like tigers.
What happens when you run from a tiger? It chases you. Refusing to face your inner negativity will not get rid of that negativity at all. It will only make it run faster after you. It will come back into your life over and over again unless you learn how to deal with those emotions properly. You’ve already learned the 4-step method for doing that in this article.
You’ve now learned how to stop negative thoughts by facing and releasing their underlying emotional energy, but that negative energy may or may not have another cause, which I’ll address briefly below.
Another Potential Contributor to Mental/Emotional Problems
While I do believe mental and emotional problems are always in some way related to unconscious beliefs and suppressed emotions, it is possible that other things are contributing as well.
It is very well-known by thousands of doctors and health practitioners throughout the world that certain mental health conditions can be alleviated by simply modifying the chemical composition of the brain or body using certain drugs.
While this may provide temporary relief, it is not a real solution because it does not address the actual “cause” of the chemical or hormonal imbalance, which is almost always related to what the person is putting into their body through their diet and lifestyle choices.
Health is another passion of mine because switching to a mostly raw, plant based diet helped me cure myself of many different health conditions that I used to deal with (psoriasis, high blood pressure, hemorrhoids, and severe acne) and also eliminated much of my anxiety that was being triggered by certain toxic chemicals I was consuming through my diet.
This topic is too vast to go into here, but I will simply point you to a free resource created by my mentor, Markus Rothkranz. This guy has been a huge inspiration for me. He is 55 years old but looks closer to 30. You’ll be blown away by his story and everything he shares. Check out his book “Heal Yourself 101” for all the information you could ever need to get your mind and body clean and clear and functioning perfectly.
What Else Can You Do?
- Get serious about developing yourself into the person you desire to become. Read more articles like this one to gain a deeper understanding of yourself and how to evolve beyond your current situation.
- Forgive yourself for past mistakes. Everyone does the best they know how to, but now that you know of a better way to do things, do it, and don’t look back except to recognize how far you’ve come.
- Follow PerfectlyatPeace on Facebook here and subscribe to the Youtube channel so that you can receive additional guidance on an ongoing basis. It is always helpful to have teachers, mentors, and guides on this journey called life. Some people have already passed through what you are going through now, and those people can tell you what obstacles and mistakes to avoid in order to make your journey a whole lot smoother.
Your future is so bright, my friend.