Ask 7 Questions to Banish Negative Thoughts
By Ora Nadrich
We have some 60,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day, and many of them are negative: I can’t do that. I’m not good enough. It’s never going to happen for me. I don’t deserve this. As we embark on a new venture or work toward a new goal, they pop up and wreak havoc on our plans and self-confidence.
Since thoughts create beliefs, which then create behaviors, negative thoughts can undermine us right into a standstill. But there’s a way to stop negative thoughts right in their tracks. All it takes is challenging them with 7 direct questions, starting with: Says Who?
Here are the seven questions we need to ask to disarm those negative thoughts:
- Says Who?Whenever a negative though pops into your head, ask it: Says Who? The question exposes a negative thought for exactly what it is: a doubt that can disrupt your life and damage your sense of well-being.
- Have I heard someone say this thought before?So many of the voices in our head are actually echoes. They’re old words we heard someone else say to us, such as a parent, spouse, or boss. By identifying the originator of the thought, you can find out if it really belongs to you. Many times, it doesn’t.
- Do I like this thought?Go ahead and ask yourself: Is this thought desirable or appealing? If not, then ask yourself: why are you thinking it? If you don’t like what you’re hearing, you don’t have to listen.
- Does this thought make me feel better? Negative thoughts tear us down instead of build us up. They seep into our psyches, wreaking havoc. Ask yourself: Is this thought making you feel better or worse about yourself? If it doesn’t enhance your self-esteem in any way, why are you thinking it?
- Does this thought work for me? Is this thought useful or productive for you? With this question, you can take a look at whether or not a thought supports your desires or goals. If not, why are you thinking it?
- Am I in control of this thought? –Does this thought have any kind of hold or power over you? Or, are you in control of it? If not, ask yourself why you would let a thought have power to control you. Remember, you are the commander of your own thoughts, not the other way around.
- Do I want to keep this thought or let it go?With this question, you’re finding out if you want to hold on to a thought that serves no useful purpose for your well-being. If it’s not doing you any good, it’s probably doing you bad. So let it go.
Make it habit (like brushing your teeth) to ask these questions every day. Soon you will find yourself on the way eliminating the negative thinking that slows you down, and turning those hecklers into your own cheering squad. Then you can get on with your life. You can identify your goals, attain improved inner awareness and realize more fulfillment — in your life, career, and relationships. It all starts with a question: Says Who?