We are often bombarded with how beneficial yoga and meditation are to keep your mind clutter-free and clear out the negative thoughts, but what if you don’t resonate with these methods? Let’s face it, yoga and meditation is not for everyone, just how each one of us takes a different path to our own spiritual growth.
What if there are alternative ways to turn your negative thoughts into positive? Something that doesn’t involve doing stretches or closing your eyes.
If meditation and yoga aren’t your cup of tea, then perhaps these seven alternate ways to work with your negative thoughts might help.
1) Morning Pages
One of the most effective energy-shifting exercise that involves writing down your thoughts or anything that goes on in that space between your ears; so you simply pour it all out, empty your mind in those pages and you will be able to face your day with a clear head.
Writing has personally been a cathartic experience for me, even while growing up in my mid-20s, I use to vent it all out in a book, no matter if it seemed like gibberish when I went back to it later, at that moment it was a form of emotional release and I felt good after that.
If you’re talented enough, you can turn it into art or poetry as well. Its a process of letting out all the negativity and unwanted thoughts, and you don’t need to be a writer or an artist for that, you simply need to have the will to feel better.
2) Laugh like a child/ Play with children
Children have this innate ability to be fully present in the moment and being happy in it. As grown-ups we have lost that ability, our mind is always racing ahead, planning for the next day or over-analyzing and overthinking about a past experience. Playing with children can reconnect us with our childhood and bring us back in to the moment.
Play games with them, act like a child, stop taking yourself so seriously. Sometimes even talking to a small child gives a different perspective on life. If not children, play with your pet/s. Animals like children live in the moment too. In fact the company of animals often has a healing effect on us.
3) Forest bathing to overcome negativity
Taking in the forest atmosphere, also known as ‘forest bathing’, works wonders on the mind and spirit. Its not a rigorous trek or hike I am talking about here, but immersing and taking in the surroundings – the sights, smells, sounds – acts like a balm for an overactive mind, as it washes away all the unwanted thoughts.
Researchers have shown that forest bathing can significantly lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, along with lower blood sugar, blood pressure and heart rate, reduces depression and anger. Other research points out that walking in the woods can boost the body’s immune system by increasing anti-cancer proteins and enhancing the so-called natural killer activity of certain cells.
4) Sound healing
Any form of alternative healing is accompanied by sounds and vibrations because everything in nature vibrates at different frequencies, so we are surrounded by sound all the time. When we tune in to the right frequency (using sound healing instruments) it can bring us into a state of harmony and health.
Like the Tibetan singing bowls which have been used for centuries for healing and transformation. When our brainwaves synchronize with the vibrations and the different tones of the bowls, it induces a deep state of relaxation and also cleanses our chakras. The sound of the bowls improve human immune function, lower heart rate and blood pressure, soothe pain in cancer patients, and drastically reduce stress levels.
“If we accept that sound is vibration and we know that vibration touches every part of our physical being, then we understand that sound is heard not only through our ears but through every cell in our bodies. One reason sound heals on a physical level is because it so deeply touches and transforms us on the emotional and spiritual planes. Sound can redress imbalances on every level of physiologic functioning and can play a positive role in the treatment of virtually any medical disorder.” ~ Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, director of Medical Oncology and Integrative Medicine, the Cornell Cancer Prevention Center in New York.
5) Solitude & companionship
Opening up and confiding in a good friend has a special kind of release albeit temporary when one does not work on overcoming the situation. But when negative thoughts have taken over the mind we often look for distractions or companionship to find respite from the given situation.
Diverting our mind leads to bottling up of emotions, while on the other hand spending time alone with ourselves in such a situation and analyzing the thoughts, where they stem from and feeling the triggers help you get through the emotions and rationalize various outcomes to the situation.
This by no means is a pleasant process and you can expect yourself to be an emotional trainwreck moving from a scale of laughter to crying at ease. But this is all part of the process, let it out, cry, purge, bring it out any way you like, kick a can punch the air or hug a tree until you come back to your normal state of breathing.
Remember you are not your thoughts and before your negative thoughts form chain patterns and grow into a mountain from a molehill (perhaps), get down to overcoming the situation. The best way would be to trace back the steps what led you to it and never forget do you really need to take it that seriously, this is life none of us are going to get out alive.
Taking these tiny steps forwards or backwards or actually venturing into nowhere can give you a better over view perspective on the situation.
6) Cultivating a habit of spreading joy
Although it may be difficult to fathom a concept of spreading joy when you’re down, consider this, spreading joy by giving the homeless man on the road some food or even donating to a charity triggers the brain’s reward system sending out some of those happy hormones. This is based on the theory that giving produces endorphins in the brain that mimic a morphine high.
So instead of getting stuck with your negative thoughts, focus your attention on spreading some love and joy. Put out a cheap garage sale with stuff you don’t use, give a helping hand to an aged person or someone in need, take your dogs for a walk, express gratitude to people who help you in small ways in daily life – may be the newspaper man, vegetable vendor, or anyone who you meet every day.
Saying a simple thank you to them can make their day, and bringing joy to others reflects on you as well.
7. Shamanic Ceremonies
One of the more potent ways of getting rid of those unwanted thought patterns would be to experience ancient rituals such as Ayahuasca or Peyote or a more modern Psilocybin ceremony. These are extremely powerful methods of dealing with your inner turmoil and it would be advisable to do your research and find a good trustworthy shaman who can guide you through this process.
Never forget it’s completely normal and human to have negative thoughts and the truth is your mind is just a fraction of who you really are; it does not define you and for your own sake let it not control you.