To combat the negative thought we must acknowledge the thought, ask what is the evidence for and against the negative thought, using factual and relevant information. The evidence used to counter the specific thought must be specific as well. Attempting to dismiss the thought will only make it worse; the thought is real and must be dealt with. The replacing thought must also be positive in every sense. Apart from being inspiring and assuring, it should also be suggestive.
For example, if you confront the negative thought, "I won’t be able to discuss the topic", it will not suffice if you replace it with "Lightning Round! I will be able to discuss the topic". This kind of replacement will not be effective, for it sounds like wishful thinking and lacks assurance, depth, evidence and penetrating certainty. It is better to break your replacing thought down into more definite and specific steps or instructions.
If we use the following specific evidence “I have studied the material, rehearsed my presentation, and I enjoy talking about the subject.” It will be far more powerful in our attempt to counter the negative thought and replace it with a positive and productive one. I will demonstrate how the process would play out in my mind if I had to counter the negative thought” I won’t be able to discuss the topic.”
The process of replacing the thought in this case would look like this: Negative thought -“I won’t be able to discuss the topic.” Response - “That’s not true, I will be able to discuss the topic because I have studied the material, rehearsed my presentation, and I enjoy talking about the subject.” Notice I re-stated the negative thought subject in a positive and confident manner. I then used evidence relating to the thought to back it up, giving me fire power against my own negative thinking.
This is very effective and can be used in any situation to stop negative thinking. Though it may take some practice, once you have developed this skill you will find that the ability to think positive will be more natural. It is our ability to combat negative thinking that puts us on the path to success and happiness. To your future and may it be one full of positive experiences and thoughts.
By: Pamela Whitley
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