Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How to Overcome Negative Thinking Through Psychotherapy

Picking up a newspaper or turning on a TV is all it takes to see all the negativity in our world. It is easy to become fixated on negative thoughts.

The negativity can be divided in 3 aspects.
1. world events
2. friends and family
3. ourselves

After the recent death of Osama Bin Laden, people were celebrating in the streets with champagne. Think what you like about Bin Laden, it is certainly a strange thing to celebrate the death of anyone so joyously. Add to this the obsession with seeing photos of his body, it makes for an extremely morbid state of being.

The recent earthquake in Japan, massive flooding in New Zealand, Missouri, and Manitoba, the list goes on. How can it not affect you in a profound way to see so much human suffering played out through the media? Especially now, as massive amounts of video and photos are broadcast on 24 hour news networks, making the violence and strife in our world more visible than ever.

When other people around you are negative, you can easily be drawn into their vibrations and react negatively. So not only can direct conflict cause stress, but strife between others in your social circle or family also causes harm to you. Also, serious impact can be made by someone in your life who is either extremely negative, or is unhealthy.

Last but not least, your own inner feelings of low self-worth, of guilt, anxiety, depression or anger, while all byproducts of the outer world and of your past, stand as the ultimate barricade trapping you in a cycle of negativity.

What can you do to navigate through all this negativity and come through smelling like a rose? Take the lotus flower for example, it sits on muddy water, but is not touched by it; it has a waxy substance on its petals and nothing can touch the surface, the dirt just rolls off.

While it is good to have a relationship with the events and people around you, it can become quite unhealthy to be completely at the mercy of circumstance. A layer of protection and confidence is necessary so that your inner purity and stability remain unaffected by outside influences. Otherwise, you no longer own your own feelings.

Regarding the world news: one strategy is simply to not listen to it all day long. To know what is happening, but not get engrossed in it; to balance your life with other positive thoughts and actions.

With people around you, it is so important to check your own emotions: are you criticizing the other person in your mind, do you think you are better than they are? If you do, realize that this is an action of your ego. Listen to the other person and hear their point of view, and appreciate their value, even if you don’t agree with them. You can't change or control others but you can change your attitude and response. Through your demeanor some form of communication may even arise. Allowing a build up of negativity destroys communication, and creates bigger problems which are difficult to sort out.

Overcoming negativity within oneself is often a big challenge. It is so easy to stop loving yourself when you judge, criticize or blame yourself for events in your life or even for the way you are (personality, appearance). However, whenever you notice these negative thoughts coming up, it’s important to stop them and focus on who you really are: a worthwhile person, who was born whole and complete, with qualities of purity, peace and love.

If you can spend some minutes in silence every day, focusing on these positive qualities, just letting your mind detach from all negative thoughts, then you can value who you truly are and move outside the cycle of negativity that pulled you down. Make sure that your words and actions reflect your self-esteem.

When we lack self-esteem, we seek it from the world outside, which is often denied. Only when you generate your own self-respect, can you earn respect from others. Being with positive thoughts makes wallowing in negative thoughts much less appealing. This has a great impact on you and the people around you.

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