Dolmetscher007

How to "catch" your negative thoughts and deal with them before they convert into negative emotions?

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How to "catch" your negative thoughts and deal with them before they convert into negative emotions?

Teal did a podcast/video on thoughts being nothing more than just another sense like smell, taste, thought, etc. She said that they are a reactionary sense to the outside world, and that because we can percieve our thoughts, and we can perceive ourselves, then our thoughts are not US... they are just another reactionary sense.  

I have also always heard that 100% of all emotions are just the reaction to some thought.   If you think a thought like, "I am ugly, alone, and no one will ever want to be with me, so I will always be ugly and alone." then you will naturally feel bad. So, one of the keys to experiencing positive emotion and less negative emotion is to feed and nourish your mind with positive energy, and to learn to "catch" negative thoughts and reveal them to yourself for what they are... before you just blindly believe them and allow them to turn into negative emotions?

Well... I have a very hard time with that, because to me, it seems like my emotions happen too quickly for me to even acknowledge that I've had a concrete thought. I almost never actually think concrete negative thoughts like, "I'm alone, and I will never not be alone." I just... feel lonely. And once I feel lonely, no amount of internal rhetoric like, "This is just a phase. I will meet some new people soon, and I won't feel so lonely." none of that works. I just still have this empty, bleak, and awful darkness in my chest, throat, and stomach. And I just "feel" lonely and sad. It frustrates me to no end, to then be told that I only feel lonely because I keep thinking the negative thoughts, and I believe the negative thoughts when I should be "catching them" and turning them around. Whenever I hear that, I always just think, "But damn it... I'm not thinking those thoughts. Ever. I just wake up and feel like crap." 

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The good news is that you can absolutely change all that. However, the bad news is it will take time, patience, commitment and practice.

The reason you can’t really identify a specific thought but feel the emotion straight away is because those thoughts are largely automatic and embedded in your subconscious. Your nervous system has established pathways that fire immediately after being triggered and you notice only the outcome of it – your emotional response. I like to compare it with a code of a computer software – you don’t see the actual errors in the code while running the software but you can have a sense it’s not working properly.

The general scheme of changing your beliefs is simple: identify the negative belief and become clear of consequences it creates => challenge it by looking for evidence against it => create new and beneficial beliefs => collect evidence for that belief and/or consciously change your behavior until it becomes automatic.

In reality it’s much harder, of course. What helps is learning to detach from your thoughts and feelings through meditation to help you create that inner space to observe yourself with no judgment. Journaling helps tremendously, as well as practicing mindfulness. Questioning and challenging your thoughts on a constant basis and identifying the meaning you have assigned to those thoughts which is actually responsible for emotion that emerges. I highly suggest Katie Byron’s process “The Work”. Trauma healing and self-love practices as well.

With time, you will be able to catch the thought as it emerges and have more control over it.

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Negative feelings are a part of life that never goes away. Why not confront them head on and become proficient at resolving your issues.

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Well... there is a benefit to feeling crappy and look ugly when alone. I find it quiet relaxing, to be honest. Like can I just not care for a change and look like a Pokèmon? At least you are not harming anyone. As a female myself, there is no point in telling me "don't go down the rabbit hole " when I am already there. I'd most likely  dig even dipper just because I can and someone said it.  The thing is, is that when one is mature enough, this person is not going to stay in a blackness for days and days on a raw. I usually get sick in a day from it. It's similar to overeating. If a person continues to eat eat eat... in less than a month there will be a noticeable difference in body weight. Probably because he finally decided to go outside and suddenly there is no clothes to wear.

So, to answer your question. You catch negative emotion in  action and get yourself back on the positive track.

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On 4/28/2019 at 2:40 AM, Diana 24 said:

I like to compare it with a code of a computer software – you don’t see the actual errors in the code while running the software but you can have a sense it’s not working properly.

The general scheme of changing your beliefs is simple: identify the negative belief and become clear of consequences it creates => challenge it by looking for evidence against it => create new and beneficial beliefs => collect evidence for that belief and/or consciously change your behavior until it becomes automatic.

I really love the first line in this quote from your post Diana. I just so happen to work for a very large and well-known computer software company where I work with coding and runtime errors all day long. So I def. can identify with a computer's code running in the background, erroring-out,  but never displaying the actual error to the user. That is a very good analogy! 

The second part of the above quote, however, is more problematic for me. The whole idea of identifying a negative belief, challenging it by looking for evidence against it, and creating anew belief... There seems to be a very deeply fundamental block that I have to that whole paradigm. I am very familiar with Byron Katie's "The Work." Her books were probably the first time I'd ever heard of any of that kind of re-framing therapy. I later found out about "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy," which, I find to have the exact same core concepts as Byron Katie. The problem that I run into each time I try to do the work, or CBT... is that I just cannot force myself to legitimately challenge a belief that I have so much evidence is simply true!

I will try to keep this brief... I'm 41 years old, and I was with my ex-wife for 10 years before we broke up and divorced 11 years ago. When we separated, it was 2 weeks after my 30th birthday.   In the 11 years since then, I have had four "girlfriends." 100% of them were all very messed up in some way or another. Three of them were married when I met them, and they basically used me as a "safe-place" to get out of their bad marriages. And one of them was an alcoholic that I'm not even sure would remember my name today despite dating me for almost 2 years. Every relationship I've had with a woman has ended suddenly and after some incident that really showed me that none of them were ever actually attracted to me in the first place, but that they just needed "someone." I signed up for dating apps a few years back, and gave those a try. After 22 "first dates" that all ended in the girl either ghosting me completely or at least having the honest decency to tell me they did not feel any connection, I eventually just called it quits. 

I know that there is a very real paradigm that basically says that we all have an internal narrative that we tell ourselves, and that it is so easy to gravitate to the negative, and to just go looking for any and all evidence to support this negative story we have about ourselves. And that we will do anything to continue trying to support the bad and completely ignore all the good. But in my case... I can 100% promise that I have tried and tried to dig through myself and look for evidence that supports a more positive storyline. I have said to myself... I was married, I've had girlfriends... it is not impossible that someone could love me. But honestly... I don't have the time or space to write the whole novel that is my love life... but the evidence that I am ugly, weak, unattractive, and all the negative things I seem to feel about myself, are so overwhelmingly supported by how things have been for me than for me to just sit there and think... "Uhm... Nope! I'm awesome, and some lucky lady is going to be so happy when she finally meets me." 

So... what does one do when they cannot FIND any evidence to support a more positive narrative? I guess, Teal Swan would probably say something like, "Then just accept and lean into the fact that you are ugly and alone. Accept it, and stop trying to resist it." And I guess I CAN do that... but... Man... it is such a hurtful reality to accept. 

 

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Dolmetscher, I am sorry that you feel lonely and sad, and wake up feeling crap. One way forward is to be authentic who you truly are. As Diana says, you can detach, go inwards and find the inner space. From there you can be who you really are, and watch the loneliness and sadness – detached as if from afar. The thoughts and attached emotions are just a reactionary sense your authentic self can let go.

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Dolmetscher, there is no more positive narrative than being who you are who you are meant to be. Then you meet people who are who they are meant to be.

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On 4/29/2019 at 10:39 PM, Dolmetscher007 said:

So... what does one do when they cannot FIND any evidence to support a more positive narrative? I guess, Teal Swan would probably say something like, "Then just accept and lean into the fact that you are ugly and alone. Accept it, and stop trying to resist it." And I guess I CAN do that... but... Man... it is such a hurtful reality to accept. 

Perhaps accept and integrate the emotion of feeling ugly and alone, not accepting the thought as fact. It doesn’t mean you should accept it as if that’s all you deserve and you’ll stay like that forever. It means your deep pain of feeling ugly/alone/unwanted is completely valid and deserves your attention and love, and some inner child work. 

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I believe in garbage in, garbage out..if you like computer analogies. As a Buddhist, I like the whole focusing on right actions, words, deeds, thoughts. While your negative thoughts and emotions may be coming faster than you can control them, the key is accepting them, observing them, then letting them pass. You can help that process along by filling your heart and mind with positive thoughts and actions. Listen to positive music, not the sad stuff, watch a stand up comic instead of murder mystery shows, create something, or wa watch some of Teals videos, I  particular the one on self-love. You will attract the right people into your life when you learn to accept and give yourself compassion first.

Hugs,

Mary K.

 

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