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What To Do to Combat Perverse, Insistent Negative Thinking

23 May

Question:

My therapist told me that it might be better to restrict myself to guided meditation that doesn’t involve trying to visualize. I used to really enjoy doing visualizations, but now I am plagued by negative images, the opposite of what I’m after, and cannot see the positive any more. This frustrates and upsets me. What should I do? 

Sarah

Answer:

Dear Sarah,

I’d be interested to know what kind of meditation you’ve tried. It’s not a bad idea to try some moving meditation – Qigong, yoga or a walking meditation. Your mind could be kept busy enough to avoid falling into that negativity trap.

On the other hand, some compellingly evocative guided imagery might counter your perversely insistent negative images, with the positive ones in the guided imagery meditation. Either way could work.  

Imagery might be a little easier, because by nature it’s diversionary and does just enough “cognitive recruitment” (occupying your mind) to get you away from your negative images.  

Still another tactic would be to just do a contrarian, meditative approach with these images and embrace them, let them play out, and see where they take you. These little demons just might lose interest in making your life miserable if you meet and greet them with a welcoming smile. Sounds crazy, but it can work.

This could be an obsessive pattern of yours, where your mind stays stuck on these negative things and keeps waltzing around with them.  It’s not uncommon at all.  If that’s the case, you may want to work with an acupoint tapping technique, like Mary Sise’s, which could also provide you with some fine mind-tricks to get you out of that negative loop.  

Hope one of these does it for you. 

All best,

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Belleruth

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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award