How to Stop Negative Thoughts: Seven Ways to Do It Right
In October 2019, I went on a week-long car trip to visit Goddess temples in India.
You know car trips are not easy, especially in India, moving through villages at the speed of the cows crossing past street vendors and horn-honking vehicles.
Plus, there was little or no sleep and sporadic meals. My main diet was snacking on bags of overly salty potato chips.
I was exhausted, and yet I’ve rarely experienced so much bliss!
The main reason was that this trip felt like a continuous meditation.
How to Lose the Fear of Meditation
For many, the word meditation brings a sense a frustration, memories of restless thoughts and failed attempts.
I can sympathize: my first meditation in 1993 was a disaster.
At that time, I was something of a jock…exercising over two hours a day (in addition to taking weekly dance classes, and daily yoga).
Believe it or not, I also held a full-time job, cared for my family with two little children, co-chaired a cultural committee for hundreds of women, and sat on an active women’s board in a bustling museum of contemporary art.
I probably risked a breakdown, but it didn’t happen. And for that I credit my perseverance with meditation.
Reasons We Fear Meditation
- We think we need to sit for a long time
- We hate to listen to the chatter-box mind
- We’ve made pilgrimages and sacred sites obsolete
- We’re immersed in science and technology
- We’ve forgotten God
- We’ve forgotten ourselves as cosmic beings
- We don’t see a practical use of spiritual evolution
- We identify ourselves mostly with the body and senses
Benefits of Meditation Even When You’re Overwhelmed
Meditation’s health benefits on blood pressure, immunity, cardiology, psychology and more, are proved by tons of research.
Even though your mind wants a million explanations, these facts are hard to refute.
Imagine you’ve just returned home after a stressful workday. Your energy is failing and you just want a nap.
But there’s dinner to make, the email your client is waiting for…and the usual (unless you live in a palace and are blessed with a 20-people staff competing for the pleasure of serving you):
- grocery shopping
- driving your kids
- supervising homework
- and so much more
Not only do you feel overwhelmed by these chores, but you can’t stop thinking about the office, the meetings the next day, and that colleague who’s less than nice…the same one that the other day criticized you for wanting a new car.
But then you sit in your bedroom, lock the door, close your eyes, practice a 5-minute technique meditation and… voila—you feel refreshed, your mind calmer.
Thoughts Don’t Belong to You, You Simply Host Them
According to an article by the National Science Foundation, we think between 12,000 and 60,000 thoughts per day—and at least 80 percent are negative.
The yogis tell us that a whopping 95 percent of thoughts are recycled, repetitive, weak or useless.
This would explain why sometimes even a small difficulty can seem debilitating.
So we color an experience with old interpretations—which is called or negativity bias. Due to this reaction, not only do we agonize over small things, we may also miss precious opportunities.
Remarkably, meditation reduces stress, makes you more aware of your thoughts, and helps eliminate negativity. So even a short practice can help you create a life of peace, abundance and joy—clearly a pretty impressive feat.
Did you know?
- New studies show that genetics influence your thought process.
- Your emotions influence your genetics, according to a Stanford study.
- Ancient yogis observed that we can create a disease in the body through negative thoughts.
- Meditation can contribute to your well-being by calming the mind.
- According to the Vedic tradition, the celestial bodies (planets, constellations and stars) are the main sources of your thoughts—because they are in charge of delivering the results of your karma (which is your mindset).
The Relationship Between Thoughts and Planets
In India, Vedic astrology is the spiritual science from which Vedic astronomy stems.
Not a typo: Vedic astrology came first.
In fact, Vedic astrology, the spiritual science came first. Then came astronomy, the material science.
Vedic astrology proves (with case studies over thousands of years) that difficult planetary alignments lead to negative thought patterns.
The concept of karma (or law of cause and effect) is the reason why some people are born with bad planets that cause poverty thinking or loneliness.
What we think we manifest.
Those born with good planets think positive thoughts, and intuitively know how to grow their portfolio or get loving relationships.
So a Vedic astrologer can help you fix your bad planets and help you conceive a life of abundance and happiness.
7 Easy Steps to Experience Bliss and Happiness
- Give Yourself Silence
Noise pollution is insidious. You might not be aware that much stress is also generated by pervasive noise.
Have you ever ignored the background chatter from a TV screen—like the news—during your home activities? Perhaps, you felt a strange anxiety coming up, and when you turned the TV off, you realized you could breathe better.
Noise adds up: refrigerator, media, neighborhood, street traffic, sirens, lawn mowers and construction work can simultaneously vie for your eardrums.
So before starting your meditation give yourself plenty of silence. Close the windows. Turn off unnecessary appliances. Close the door, if someone is talking in another room.
- Give Yourself Comfort
The mind has a funny but distracting habit—when you’re trying to meditate, it goes to an area of physical discomfort and settles there.
So be as comfortable as possible.
Tight belts and clothes stress the body. As a result, the mind is affected, too. Even a wristwatch might be too tight. So if possible, wear some comfortable clothes and remove your shoes and tightly fitting jewelry.
- Give Yourself Clarity
You already know this: after Thanksgiving or Diwali, your mind is foggy, while your body tries to assimilate the extra sweets and heavy dishes.
Meditation is best done before eating. If you’re very hungry, you can eat some fruit. Another option, if you aren’t lactose intolerant or vegan, is drinking a little milk.
That said, if all you have is 15 minutes after your lunch break, don’t worry—there isn’t such a thing as a wasted meditation, because its benefits accumulate over time.
- Give Yourself Alertness
Sit on the most comfortable chair available. Lying down in bed is also a great option—although there’s the risk of falling asleep. If you’re very tired, that’s fine. Just set a timer so you don’t totally lose consciousness.
Rinsing your face with cool water can help you stay alert. Or, if you’re used to caffeine, a small cup of green tea or coffee before your meditation can help you stay alert. Organic is best, as much drowsiness can be caused by the toxicity of some chemicals in our foods and drinks.
- Give Yourself Trust
Worrying that your meditation is too short, imperfect or disturbed by too many thoughts, can increase stress.
Even becoming aware of the many thoughts coming to you is a form of meditation.
Trust that your meditation will calm your mind, bring more creativity and the fulfillment of your wishes.
- Take Baby Steps Without Feeling Guilty
- Sit in a darker room for 5 minutes. This helps your brain produce DMT (dimethyltryptamine) for deeper meditation.
- Close your eyes.
- Concentrate on your breath or nostrils.
- When thoughts come, let them go and again put your attention on the nostrils or breath.
- Meditate on a sound. Mentally repeat a sacred word like OM, Amen, Peace or Shanti.
- Observe your thoughts. See your thoughts arrive and leave. Stay detached.
- Meditate on a mantra—or a set of sound waves with higher vibrations. (It can lead to wish fulfillment depending on the nature of the mantra.)
- Contemplate a higher concept. In Vedanta, some yogis meditate on a higher principle or divine law. Peace, freedom, truth, service to humanity or compassion are some examples.
- Meditate on a celestial personality like Ganesha, Lakshmi, Jesus, Buddha, or anyone else you like.
In his book “How God Changes Your Brain,” Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist, says that looking at sacred images activates significant parts of the brain, leading to deeper compassion and understanding.
The positive results last for hours, days or permanently.
- Give Yourself Miracles
Finally, in India there’s another way meditation works, according to the ancient traditions. It’s done by proxy by having another person perform a ritual on your behalf to help you feel at peace, and reach your financial or relationship goals.
You already know of the positive effects of prayer on behalf of someone needing help.
Similarly, the by-proxy method is based on the Vedic principle that everything in the universe is connected.
In the Vedic tradition, mantras recited by another person to benefit you, or a fire ritual performed with your name are believed to bring miracles of healing, prosperity and relationship.
In India, you also can hire a person to write mantras on your behalf. This process is done in sacred numerical sequences, like 10008, 100,008, or 1,000,008 times. Results can be astounding.
I’ve benefitted from this process myself and I totally recommend it.
Enjoy the miracles!
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