With all of the conflict life has to offer, it is very easy to get caught in the habit of negative thinking. When we get unconsciously caught up in this cycle of negative thoughts, we are likely to find ourselves suffering from mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. Many of us are unaware of how we got into our depression or anxiety because toxic thought patterns can feel so natural to our minds.
Luckily, meditation is a powerful tool you can utilize to release negative thoughts and escape the negative thought patterns. Practicing a regular meditation routine can rewire your mind towards positive thinking and break your negative thinking cycle. We’ve created a step-by-step guide to help you release negative thoughts with meditation.
Set an Intention
Before you begin your meditation, set an intention to release negative thoughts. This will orient your meditation on a tangible goal and give you a thought to anchor back onto when your mind wanders. This intention can be shaped like a mantra. It can sound something like – “I am a positive vessel of light. I release all of the negativity that comes into my mind. I am limitless awareness and unconditional love. I live in love and let go of fear. I am grateful for my life.”
Using words like these is a great way to calm your mind and body. Your intention sets the framework for peace. All you have to do is repeat it and, thus, you will embody it.
Hold Space For The Negative Thoughts
As you begin meditation keep this important tip in mind – in order to let go of your negative thoughts you need to give them the space to exist. Do not meet them with resistance, but with awareness. When you are not aware of your emotions, your mind can get caught in the emotional reaction and agitate the pain and discomfort that is ailing you. Instead, what you can do is orient your perspective on observation. Look at your negative thought as well as its emotional reaction, see your thought, see the emotion, understand what is happening and then allow it to pass.
This means that when you are meditating and a negative thought arises, you not only notice it, but you also notice the emotional reaction that comes with it. Do not judge yourself for a negative thought. Do not get upset with yourself for having this thought, instead, notice it.
Observation Is Not Experience
The difference between noticing and experiencing the negative thoughts and emotions is the act of noticing will separate your consciousness from your emotions and keep you from unconsciously getting swept up into negativity. You are not your negative emotions, rather you are consciousness experiencing pain, grief, sadness, etc. Acknowledge your discomfort, let everything be as it is, and then orient your focus back on your breath to anchor yourself back into the present moment.
As you go through your meditation, pay attention to your breath, the sounds around you, sensations in your body, things that anchor you into your present moment. When you see a thought and maybe it brings you down a rabbit hole of thoughts, bring your attention back to your intention – releasing negative thought patterns. Repeat your intention mantra to yourself. Maybe this feels uncomfortable and anxiety arises. When this happens, try to direct your attention back to your breath or sounds around you. Bring yourself back into the moment you are in.
The awareness you gain from meditation will help you to understand how your mind reacts to negativity and the thought process you have a habit of slipping into. Once you start to maintain a regular meditation practice, you will begin to clearly see how your thoughts operate. You will also begin to realize that your body is naturally capable of bringing you peace and acceptance. If you can hold onto your intention of releasing negative thought patterns, you might begin to shift your own understanding of what your mind is capable of.
For instance, many people, before they get into a habit of meditation, believe that anxiety is part of their identity, that feeling anxiety is their most common state of being. Once these individuals start to regularly incorporate meditation into their daily schedules, they will realize that their body has begun to maintain a peaceful and present homeostasis. Thus breaking their preconceived notion of self. We are often very limited by the stories that our egos tell us.
Guided Humandalas Meditations For Releasing Negativity
If you find yourself most engaged with group activity, you may consider Humandalas. Humandalas is a guided movement group meditation that uses intentional connection, toning, and visualization to get more in sync with others and nature. For people with negative thinking disorders such as anxiety and depression, this exercise may help relieve the feeling of isolation that commonly accompanies these mental illnesses.
Humandalas are particularly powerful in channeling external energy and helping break through the confines of ego. For more information about this form of meditation, learn more about the Humandalas practice.
Meditation is an incredibly useful tool that can help you break through negative thinking cycles. Keep in mind that meditation is only powerful if you get into a regular habit of practicing so make sure to stick to a routine. Beginning meditation can be very difficult. If you find yourself struggling with focusing on your meditation, you can try using guided meditations to keep you on track.
Meditation does not look like one exact thing, personalize your experience and switch up your mantras, get out and practice in nature, try different breathing techniques and most importantly remember not to judge your process. Every step you take in your meditation journey is important.
Caitlin is a writer from Burbank, CA. She uses writing as a medium to examine how far words can truly capture an authentic experience of life. Beyond writing, Caitlin is an artist. She’s currently exploring ceramics, illustration, fashion, production design and plans to work creatively in many more mediums.