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Two simple techniques for ameliorating negative patterns of thinking.

We all have negative patterns of thinking. These can be short-lived or persistent and dominate our waking and sometimes our subconscious lives. There is no easy fix and some problems need to be addressed at their source. That being said we all need strategies to overcome these moments.

Despoina Chatzimichalaki

Negative thinking patterns are just a combination of conscious processes. Recognise that. They consist of thoughts and images, internal body sensations, and emotion. All of these are temporary, they persist only if you give continued attention to them.

Do one of these simple and quick exercises to just temporarily arrest the stream of thoughts. Every time you recognise these negative patterns or set an hourly reminder. It should take seconds to perform one or both.

1. Conscious breathing

The emphasis being on conscious. There is little use just paying ‘lip service’ to this. Take 10 conscious breath where you (try to) think about nothing but the breathing, how it sounds, smells, the effects on your body. Ten conscious breaths; sounds easy, but at first, it can be difficult to do this without distraction, frustration or agitation or general resistance but this improves with regular use.

2. Self-inquiry

Ask yourself the question ‘for whose benefit do these thoughts arise?’ it sounds too easy, right? No one really asks this question. You don’t choose to have the negative thoughts you do so for whose benefit are they arising? Self-inquiry, if practiced persistently, every time one is lost in thought is an extremely powerful process that is potentiated by conscious breathing.

These methods have been described for centuries and their simplicity lies in their ability to stop the stream of thoughts. Recognition that one is lost is an important part of that.

Article by Vikas Pandey

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