Negative thinking can be a habit of mind. Thoughts sink in and linger there until you take action to get rid of them. When you first start thinking negatively, it can be tempting to try and force those thoughts out of your head. You try as hard as possible to stop thinking about them and push them out. But this approach often backfires. Resisting those negative thoughts can actually reinforce that thinking pattern and just make things worse. The more you try not to think about something, the more you actually end up thinking about it.
Here are a couple of “get happy” methods that I’ve taught over the last 20 years:
Wear the Vest
I came up with this method while at the dentist! I was sitting in the chair, waiting to get x-rays, and they covered my chest with a heavy vest to protect me. It got me thinking about negative energy and how it usually hits us in the solar plexus or heart chakra—the precise areas covered by the vest! It gave me a great idea for a visualization technique to block negativity, and I am going to share it with you right now:
2. Next, sit down, close your eyes and feel the weight of a heavy, lead vest over your shoulders and covering your torso. Once you feel that weight, think back to that negative emotion I just asked you to think about. The feeling you had before wearing the “vest” was much stronger than the feeling you have now that the “vest” is on, right? Remember, nothing can get through this “vest,” so use it whenever you need to block negativity.
Box It Up
This technique is great for those of us who have experienced negativity as a result of childhood and adult relationships. It doesn’t matter how long ago it happened; if you don’t address this negativity, it’s going to continue to block your happiness. Here’s my method:
1. Get the following items together: one or more empty boxes, lots of packing tape, a bold marker, paper, pen and an empty, high shelf in your closet. If it’s a shelf in a closet you rarely open, that’s even better!
2. Taking pen and paper in hand, write down the first names of the people in your life who you feel have harmed you and why you feel that way. This is the hard part.
3. Make sure you have a box for each person on the list. Write their name on the outside of a box. Open the box and use your hands to metaphorically pull all the hurt out of your body that this person has caused you and stuff it into that box. Once you feel like you’ve gotten it all out, quickly close the box and tape it up.
4. Take that box and place it on a high shelf in your closet. Step outside the closet, close the door and see if the negativity you feel from that person is weaker than before you started this activity. You should feel lighter right away, and in time, even more lighter and less affected by the negativity. Do this for each name on your list. Eventually you will feel so free that you’ll be able to throw the box right in the trash.