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Mastering Emotions: 3 Ways to Tackle Toxic Thoughts










Toxic emotions mean toxic emissions; both inside and outside of yourself negative emotions cause pollution. Ayurveda calls this internal toxic waste mental ama and encourages us to prevent it's build up.

Here's a collection of three simple ways to neutralize negative thoughts and render them just thoughts - neutral and harmless - that can blow on by like a breeze without robbing you of time and energy and invading your internal world where they might cause havoc.


1. Cleansing Breaths

Your breath directly impacts your mind. When you are upset your ragged, irregular breath not only reflects your upset, but it upsets you more. By consciously directing your breath, you can direct your mind to calm down and release what is disturbing it.

As soon as you notice you are upset, angry, or stressed, breathe in deeply through you nose down into the pit of your stomach. As you blow that breath out drop your shoulders and let your arms and hands go limp by your side.

Now breathe again, as deeply as you can, and this time try and slow your breath. And release.

Continue for three more breaths, keeping them long, slow and deep.

Now shake your arms and hands, shrug your shoulders and move on. You'll be amazed at how liberating this one little exercise becomes if you install it as a habit in the face of upset and adversity.


2. Pause and Contain

We all get upset, and we all get angry from time to time. It's OK and it's normal. What's important is that we learn to discharge our emotions safely and not send out a burst of toxicity that engulfs us, or harms others.

Instead of reacting and giving out to yourself and others try expressing your emotions on paper, breathing through them, or using a technique like Emotional Freedom Techniques to acknowledge and process your feelings healthily.


3. Watch Your Language

Words are powerful. The words we say aloud, to ourselves and to others carry our energy and intentions. In times of upset our words can throw our disturbance far and wide or they can tame our thoughts and help us connect with our resources and intelligence. While it's not easy to stop blurting out our distress in emotive and colourful language, we can practice using words that contain and calm rather than fan the flames.

- "disasters" can be called "challenges" and simply by calling them that we contain and reframe them into something more workable

- we can be "niggled" rather than "furious"

- we can be "learning" rather than "overwhelmed by incompetence"

We can practice making our inner talk lighter and less dramatic. This doesn't mean we ignore or override our feelings, it means we give ourselves the chance to think and take practical action rather than being further tormented by hot and provocative words.

Your words have the power to change your experience. Watching your language is an act of self-respect that gives you room to process things and choose how to respond.


Photo "Nicole's Many Emotions" by allyaubry

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Reader Comments (2)

I use music -- but it's more about empowering my emotions to be expressed and then sent out of my system, rather than countering emotions with a contrary mood/message. For example, if I am feeling angry, I'd actually listen to really angry music, instead of listening to something soothing.


Feb 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAri Koinuma

All I know about Cognitive Therapy is that it gets to the thoughts behind feelings and checks them for accuracy. It seems that wrong and negative thoughts cause wrong? and negative feelings. It does seem that healthy feelings are logical. I never thought to equate feelings with thoughts quite like that, but it really works. Besides that the mind compares millions and perhaps billions of images. If they don't match then you get a negative feeling or feelings. The very objective part of our reasoning. We definitely shouldn't ignore those intuitions. Occasionally we fool ourselves, so we have to check feelings, gut reactions and intuitions, but we should hardly ignore them. Word choice is the most powerful tool I have ever found in correcting emotions and controlling thought. And it's hard to get angry at people when you feel so much compassion for them and see where they are coming from. You really have to work at it with all the stress today, but the alternative is not much of an option.

Feb 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHarold

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