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Recognizing and dealing with 'Unhelpful thoughts'.



New member
Jul 18, 2020
New Zealand
I deal with unwanted negative thoughts by recongising them first and then parking them aside. After experimenting with different approaches, I found that arguing with my negative thoughts and trying to convince myself otherwise was too hard and exhausting; plus I'd lose the argument most of the time. I have quite an analytical mind and having arguments with myself is very tiring and just goes in circles.

So instead of arguing, I found it easier to recognise the unwanted thoughts, disagree with them (as if they weren't my thoughts) and park them aside. No arguments, no debate, no counter-thoughts. Just disagree with them and park them aside.

The trick here is that once I've disagreed with my unwanted thoughts, it's much easier than to decide not to react to them emotionally. If I disagree with a thought, I don't have to be impacted emotionally by it, right? Instead, I'd consciously choose to feel an emotion that is more constructive in a particular situation. Then I can act in a more constructive way, too. For example, replacing resentment towards someone with curiosity, and then interacting with curiosity.

Overall, this approach allowed me to experience more positive results in life, or at least the results weren't too negative and I felt more positive overall. The more positive results I had, the more they helped me 'quiet down' my negative thoughts. So next time the same negative thought emerged, I already had a couple of more positive results to show myself. With time, a particular negative thought became quieter and quieter and them almost insignificant.

I particularly found this approach helpful with recurring negative thought patterns where some of them had been circulating in my head since youth, and were really hard to counter-act with arguments.

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