Negative thoughts–just throw them away

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I did what most of my friends and family members think is criminal.  I drove myself to chemotherapy yesterday.  I had to stretch the truth a bit to be able to have four hours of “alone time” to reflect as I drove along the budding Mississippi countryside.

The whole experience was invigorating and mind expanding. It gave me time to think about some of the mysteries of the universe – like why isn’t popcorn considered a vegetable?  Why did Yankee Doodle Dandy name the feather in his cap “macaroni.” What do the initials OK stand for?  You know, important stuff like that.

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After exhausting that line of thinking I turned on Doctor Radio – which is sponsored by the respected NYC Langone Medical center. In no way does it reflect the questionable wisdom of someone like Dr. Oz who barfs out phony “cures” to feather his nest each day on his TV program. 

That negative thought made me angry and I began to feel an attack of aggression coming on – not a good thing when you’re behind the wheel of a truck.   Then, Dr. Richard Perry came to my rescue on satellite radio. 

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He has just completed a study that shows it is very effective to get rid of unwanted, negative thoughts, by just ripping them up and tossing them in the trash.  His researchers found that when people wrote down their thoughts on a piece of paper and then threw the paper away, they mentally discarded the thoughts as well.

I’ve been practicing a similar activity for several years.  I have a old teapot that sits beside my bed.  I call it my “god pot” and when I’m concerned about something specific, after praying about it, I write it down on a piece of paper and toss it in the teapot.  Later, sometimes months later, I dump out the scraps on my bed to learn that every one of the issues have been resolved….not always the way I’d have preferred but who am I to tell God how to solve my problems.  He always knows best.

Some types of psychological therapy use variations of this concept by trying to get patients to discard their negative thoughts. But Petty said this is the first study he is aware of that has validated that approach

It sounds silly, but Petty found that the system really works -  by physically throwing away negative thoughts and protecting your positive thoughts, you influence how you end up using those thoughts. Merely imagining engaging in these actions has no effect.

He also found that if you write down your positive thoughts on a piece of paper and place them in your pocket or desk drawer, you will mirror those good feelings in your daily tasks.   What the heck.  It’s worth a try, don’t you think?

9 thoughts on “Negative thoughts–just throw them away

  1. God hasn’t completed his plan for you yet and, for that, so very many of us are THANKFUL every day.

  2. Sweet girl, you just pass along such brilliant ideas. Wishing you a Spring time
    moment, on a cloudy February day.

  3. Like this positive attitude! I have not physically thrown away negative thoughts, but I have another strategy that works for me. I can drive out ANY thought when I count backwards in steps of three. I start at 900. Then it is 887, 884, 881, 878, and so on.

  4. Helen – how far back do you generally have to count before driving away the negative thought? Just curious if any thought has ever required a count back to zero. That would be a bear. Knowing you, I figure about 890? It would be so hard for me to count backward, the thought would evaporate instantly.

  5. Two of the most positive thinking people I ever knew were David’s parents and David. They certainly modeled for their sons and for me positive, happy living. I know they touched many others in a very positive way because like David, they felt that everyone was worth knowing and hearing from. Thank you for sharing your positive thoughts during a difficult season.

  6. Even though I taught lower elementary students, apparently my addition skills are waning. Two positive people and David equal three! Should have made that another sentence.

  7. Helen, I don’t know you, but starting at 900 and counting back by three’s, would be 897, 894, 891, 888, etc. So, Emily, you wouldn’t hit 890, you old math whiz. LOL! Heck, I would have to concentrate too much counting by three’s, I would get frustrated.

    Meditation, particular prayer, is probably great medicine. Throwing away negative thoughts is probably good, too, although it would keep me busy at the asylum, uh, I mean the Capitol.

  8. Ok Al my darlin’. Just trying to maintain my dumb blond status which is now my dumb bald status. (It’s even worse if that’s possible.). And you do know Helen – she’s the former Helen Calvert of the Point.

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