One of the best ways to let go of negative thoughts is to question them.
This article will show you how.
You have thousands, maybe millions of negative thoughts every day.
Most of these negative thoughts are subconscious, meaning you don’t even realize you’re having them.
And that’s a good thing, because if you did you’d be totally overwhelmed!
But whether they’re at the top of your mind or hidden in the darkest corners of your mind, all thoughts have a few things in common.
First off, all thoughts are conditioned reactions to past events.
You hardly, if ever, have a new thought.
Every thought you have can be traced back to a core belief that was formed long ago and embedded itself in your neurology.
And these thoughts play on repeat in your mind, running the show of your emotions and behavior.
That is, until you pull them up, bring them into conscious awareness, and choose to let them go.
The second thing all thoughts have in common is that they cause and respond to feelings in your body.
Let’s say you’re commuting to work and another driver rolls down their window and starts yelling at you.
The first thing that usually happens is that your body tenses up in response to their loud voice.
This is when your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) stress response kicks in.
Your heart rate goes up, blood rushes from your organs into your muscles, and the rational part of your brain shuts off as your whole focus turns to getting you out of this situation.
This is when your mind starts to tell stories to try to “solve” the situation so the stress can stop, but because your thoughts are related to stress they reinforce those stressful feelings in your body, so you create an uncomfortable feedback loop.
While this type of short-term stress response is useful for survival, it’s not useful if it lingers.
You’re supposed to switch off your SNS after the stressful situation has passed.
But many of us keep thinking negative thoughts about what happened in the past.
And instead of reverting back to our rest-and-digest mode, we keep our stress-response active long after it serves any useful purpose.
The Ego part of us imagines that by staying on high-alert we can prevent similar pain from happening again in the future.
But what the Ego doesn’t realize is that it’s much more painful to keep thinking negative thoughts than it is to let them go.
So how do you let negative thoughts go?
There are many strategies that can help you rewire your nervous system so you feel less stressed and anxious.
If you want to dive in deeper, I have a free PDF called the Bliss Kit that can walk you through a 4 step process that will help you welcome in more ease and joy.
By far, one of the most effective ways to let go of negative thoughts is to observe, allow, & question them as they arise.
By bringing negative thoughts to conscious awareness, you give them the opportunity to move instead of giving them power over you.
This is counterintuitive, because what do you usually do when you have a negative thought?
You try to push it away, right?
But every time you push a negative thought away you’re actually giving it more power.
We know from physics that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
And emotions are just energy in motion, so when you don’t allow the emotions that are associated with negative thoughts to flow through you it’s like you’re building a dam inside of yourself.
It takes a lot more energy to maintain that dam than it does to let the river of emotion flow.
But because we’ve gotten in the habit of pushing against our negative thoughts for so long it can be really scary to allow them to do their thing.
This is where questioning comes in.
When you question negative thoughts you create some space around them.
Instead of telling yourself “I am angry,” “I am anxious,” “I am frustrated,” or whatever it is, you can start to see that those feelings are just experiences that you’re having.
Negative thoughts and feelings don’t define you, and you can allow them to pass through you if you choose to.
Here are 3 questions that can help you let go of negative thoughts.
1. Is this negative thought based in love?
The core of who you are is Love.
Any thought that feels negative comes from the Ego, which imagines that you are separate from Love.
This is why it hurts to think negative thoughts, you are imagining that you are something you are not.
Only thoughts that feel good, that are based in Love, are True. Everything else feels bad because it is covering up the Truth.
So the next time you have a negative thought, investigate for yourself: Is this thought based in Love?
(Hint: if you feel the need to do this exercise it probably isn’t.)
2. Can I let myself explore the feeling of this negative thought in my body?
Every thought has a vibration that you feel in your body.
When you allow yourself to explore the feeling in your body, you begin the process of letting the negative thought move so the pressure lets up.
This can be scary and even painful at first, especially when we’ve resisted that negative thought for a long time.
But when you start to practice this and actually experience it you’ll start to notice that what your mind is interpreting as pain is actually just a sensation moving through your body, and while it can be intense or even overwhelming for a moment, it can’t actually harm you.
You don’t have to do anything more than allowing yourself to feel it, it will move out on its own when its ready so long as you don’t resist it.
And once you feel the lightness that comes after a negative thought has been released, I promise you, you’re going to start to crave it!
3. Could I allow this negative thought to transform into one of love?
Sometimes negative thoughts feel stuck, and no matter how intense we allow the associated sensation to become, it doesn’t want to release on its own.
In this case, ask yourself: Could I allow this negative thought to transform into love?
Sometimes the vibration between what we perceive to be negative and positive emotions is actually the same, but your Ego is trying to convince you otherwise.
For example, anxiety is the other end of excitement, grief can be the other side of gratitude, frustration can lead to creativity, and so on.
And if you can’t find a loving thought, that’s ok too.
In that case, see if you can just allow that negative thought be stuck.
By allowing it to be what it is, you stop giving it power by pushing against it.
This can be very soothing to negative thoughts and feelings.
It’s like you’re telling them (and therefore yourself) “you’re fine just the way you are,” “you are worthy of being here,” “I can and will love you and see you no matter what.”
Eventually, all negative thoughts and feelings will resolve on their own, just keep releasing your grip and watch yourself transform.