Give Me Five: A Negative Thought Neutralizer!
Today I’m going to help you develop Anchors on Demand.
It turns out that evolution designed our brains to have a negativity bias. That’s why we can easily notice and remember what went wrong at the end of our day. That negativity bias could protect us from danger in the beginning of times; it was necessary for survival, however in modern times, that bias doesn’t always help us.
Here is why,
Every time we dwell on negative thoughts, stress chemicals are released and damage our bodies and brain.
According to research in order to maintain a healthy brain, for each negative thought we need at least 5 positive thoughts. You need to generate 3-7 positive thoughts/feelings to undo the neurological and psychological damage of a single negative feeling or thought!
This blog will hopefully inspire to find ways to counteract the brains tendency to look for the negative everywhere by deliberately looking for 5 positive ones.
How can we counteract the brain’s natural tendency to look for all the negative?
I decided to create a series of instant anchors (in my mind) to interrupt the negative chatter in the brain and help me build resilience. I call it my “Inner Tool Box”
I have built my mental tool box from scratch; it contains each one of my “inner strategies” or instant anchors that I have developed. These are mental constructs I have created to keep me centered and mentally and emotionally healthy. I use a lot of visualization and mental imagery – it is a very powerful experience. Then, I store them in my mental tool box, ready be used at the push of a mental button.
Give Me Five: Instant Negative Thought Neutralizer
I have trained myself to use my mental anchor by coming up with five positive things/ thoughts every time I become aware of a negative thought.
Here is what I did: I practiced retrieving my mental anchor while being in a safe environment over several days, while mindfully relaxed. I used a lot of visualization and mental imagery and I set the intention to retrieve it the moment I became aware of negative thoughts creeping upon me. When that happened, I said to myself that every time I had a negative thought, it would trigger my instant anchor right away: then, I visualized an open hand with five fingers and I quickly neutralize the negative thought by retrieving 5 positive thoughts- one for each finger.
Then, I set the intention of using my instant anchor every time a negative thought would show up. It’s actually quite easy once you know how the brain works.
I invite you to try my Instant Negative Thought Neutralizer: Give Me Five, or to create your own mental toolbox.
- Take a couple of deep mindful yawns and engage in super- slow mini movements.
- Close your eyes and while being mindfully relaxed, imagine yourself retrieving that image of the open hand with 5 fingers, and thinking 5 positive things to counteract the negative thought.
- Practice using your mental anchor in a safe environment first, and then-set the intention to retrieve it on demand.
To your wellbeing,
 Prioritizing positivity: an effective approach to pursuing happiness? Catalino LI, Algoe SB, Fredrickson BL. Emotion. 2014 Dec;14(6):1155-61. Updated thinking on positivity ratios. Fredrickson BL. Am Psychol. 2013 Dec;68(9):814-22.