Negative thinking is like poison. If you aren’t careful, it will slowly take over you, and before you know it, those negative thoughts will become unconscious. You may not even realize the thoughts you are having, but what will become obvious is that you are not living to your potential.
The first step to combat these unconscious thoughts is to recognize them. If this seems difficult (which it definitely is when you first try to recognize them!), try meditation.
What is meditation? Why does it help?
Merriam Webster dictionary defines meditation as “a discourse intended to express its author’s reflections or to guide others in contemplation.” This is a good definition, but I would make it even simpler: meditation is the practice of being still and living fully in the present.
Meditation is extremely helpful in combating negative thoughts because 1) it improves mindfulness, or being fully conscious in the present, 2) it improves your awareness of yourself (your thoughts, feelings, body), and 3) it reduces stress and often brings a sense of serenity and peace when practiced regularly.
And, really, who doesn’t want that?!
How to Do It
There is really no all or nothing rule to guide meditation, rather, it is really up to the individual to use this act of stillness to cater to his or her own individual needs or wants. However, for some general beginning guidelines, try these:
- Wear comfortable clothing, in a comfortable balance between full and hungry (hunger/fullness can distract your attention from meditating)
- Sit cross-legged or Indian-style on the floor/couch/bed OR sit with your feet on the ground in a comfortable chair. Make sure your posture is upright. Place your hands on your knees in whatever way feels comfortable to you.
- Take some deep breaths. Be still. Repeat. If thoughts come to you (which they will ESPECIALLY when you first begin your meditation practice), don’t forcefully try to control them, but rather pay attention to them, observe them, and let them pass.
- Continue for as long feels comfortable to you. Over time, you will be able to meditate for longer periods of time. Be patient, and enjoy the rest from our fast-paced world!
Over time, you will notice that the act of consciously living in the present, with your awareness heightened, will emerge into your everyday life even when you aren’t meditating. You will become more conscious of your thoughts, feelings, body, and attitude. This will allow you to re-alter your thought processes, the next step towards becoming a more positive thinker!
“Mindfulness lets us absorb the richness of the moment instead of going through life with half of our attention on the past or future or our own mental chatter. The self-knowledge that comes from mindfulness lets us be more intentional in choosing priorities and actions that fit our life mission.” –Unknown