If you have a whirlwind of thoughts inside your head then you should write them all down on separate pieces of paper. Then screw the bad ones up and literally throw them away, while keeping the good ones close.
Who says? Science, that’s who.
An Ohio State University study found that we could create a physical connection with our thoughts by writing them down. That’s not really a major revelation, it’s why we jot thoughts down in a pad and make lists.
We can literally throw away negative thoughts
But the study found something more interesting. When we physically screw up the paper and then throw it away, we create both a physical and mental distance from negative thinking.
Conversely, if we write our thoughts down and then protect them, by folding up the paper and putting it in our pocket, we’re more likely to act on them.
So write down all your thoughts. Keep the good ones, throw away the bad ones and you’ve basically just sieved your brain. Get creative with it, too, put all the crap you want to remove from your life on a list, turn it into a plane and give it wings by launching it out the window. See which technique works better for you.
Combine this with other confidence boosting techniques
Now we don’t think this is a complete solution. The thoughts will come back. But if you combine this simple technique with a regimen of hypnosis and physical exercise, regularly, then it will help you take control of your thoughts rather than the other way around.
If you’re struggling with negative thoughts taking over your brain, start with this, then give it a deep scrub and final rinse with this 15-minute recording from hypnosis legend Grace Smith.
It might sound absolutely batshit crazy, but try these things. If you’re struggling, what have you got to lose?
Try it and see how you feel. Look for signs of a confidence boost:more confident body language, less negative thinking about your self and events and the ability to focus on the tasks at hand.
Now, it’s time to get practical
Use this moment as a platform. Now you’ve got the mental side of your game under control, look forward, write a list and start to plan your day out. Don’t just fill the space in your head with more clutter and negative thought patterns. Use the free space to make a clear plan and then start doing.
“However you tag your thoughts, as trash or worthy of protection, seems to make a difference in how you use those thoughts,” said Richard Petty, Professor of Psychology at OSU and co-author of this paper.
“At some level, it can sound silly. But we found that it really works. By physically throwing away or protecting your thoughts, you influence how you end up using those thoughts.”
How did Ohio State University measure this confidence boosting technique?
It takes the age-old concept of lists to a whole new level and OSU was pretty thorough, so there’s clearly a genuine foundation for this. It checked the effect of a large group writing down negative thoughts about their body, which can get pretty savage, before throwing them away in some grand symbolic act.
Minutes later, they felt a lot better about themselves than the control group.
As a follow up, separate groups were asked to write down positive thoughts about healthy eating and keep the notes. The ones that kept the notes, rather than throw them away, found themselves eating healthier in the days that followed.
So separate out your thoughts into good and bad. Jettison the bad ones, nurture the good ones and do it physically, rather than just let the thoughts loosely circulate in your head.
It will make a huge difference to your state of mind.
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