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aneedleinthehayy's avatar

What are some ways to rid of negative energy?

Asked by aneedleinthehayy (1193points) February 10th, 2009

It’s that time of year, winter is almost done kicking our shins and punching our gut, and spring is on it’s way to pick us up and dust off the dirt on our knees. And I’m ready for some real, deep, life-altering change. I’m ready to cleanse my soul and become that happy person I was in the summer. But I’m afraid I’ve become more of a negative, sad, and selfish person than I’ve ever been. So I need the help of my fellow flutherites!
Hokey or not, I want suggestions.

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15 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Can you be more specific? Are you upset at a person, a situation, a long-term issues, an illness? If you are healthy, some excessive exercise will help.

gailcalled's avatar

How about doing one nice, small thing for someone today? The dirt on your knees is not a priority unless you have plans to propose.

wundayatta's avatar

OK. Here’s a technique. I just wrote you a really long piece with all kinds of examples, and then I pulled myself into my desk and jiggled the keyboard, and everything disappeared. So, now, thinking positively, I have a chance to do a better job. (All right, I’m still pissed).

The techniques I’m about to describe come from a psychological theory known as Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT).

Some people believe that positive thinking can help. You look positively at everything, thinking that it is good, and believing the best about yourself and your activities. If you feel like you are nothing but crap, you turn teach yourself how that feeling is not based in reality, and you substitute more realistic ideas about yourself. There are tons of exercises about this, and any number of CBT books that can teach you them.

Another technique is gratefullness. This is where you try to find the good in everything. You can pick one thing each morning that you are grateful for, and remind yourself all day of that thing. Over time, these things build up and change your attitude.

Exercise can also make an enormous difference. If you get out every day and do some vigourous exercise, you can start to feel good, and feel better about yourself, and somehow, burn off the negativity.

Some people like to try affirmations. As you know, these are the things that the new Senator from Minnesota made famous when he was an actor on Saturday Night Live. Al Franken used to play Stuart Smiley, whose catch phrase was “I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!” Apparantly, this stuff actually works, even if people make fun of it. If you say it often enough, you come to believe it.

Another thing that people do is the emons into lemonade thing. I tried to do it above when my answer disappeared. Whatever happens that is bad is seen as an opportunity for something good. I got fired a few years ago, and that finally gave me the impetus to find a job I really liked. Some people try to find the silver lining in deathly illness—it makes you appreciate life and your loved ones more. You also stop putting things off. You do it now.

Ok, so that’s the CBT side of things. You are attempting to force your mind into a new way of thinking. If you’re like me, that doesn’t work. This sounds bad, but there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

There is another therapy out there called mindfullness. It is formalized in acceptance and committment therapy (ACT). Like CBT, ACT is researched and is scientifically shown to work. This is a therapy where you learn to see everything, but not get attached to it. It’s kind of zenlike.

The idea is that if you can distance yourself from various thoughts, it is easier to let go of them, and harder for them to drag you down. One exercise I learned is about distanceing yourself from a thought. Say I think “I am crap.” I then remind myself to do my exercise. I think “I think that I am crap.” Finally, “I notice that I am thinking that I am crap.” Each step disstances you from the thought, and gives it less power. That’s as far as I’ve gotten in the book, so I can’t tell you any more. It does seem to be helpful.

Of course, for me, it was the meds that made me more positive. Wonderful thing, meds. I don’t believe that I can think positively, but what I can do is not think negatively. I can get to a neutral position, and that’s good enough for me. I am so much better off now than I was a year ago.

peyton_farquhar's avatar

@daloon meds do make the world go ‘round.

hitomi's avatar

Laugh. One of the best ways for me to remain positive and to help people get rid of negativity is through laughter. I have always been one of those people that deals with stressful and awkward/uncomfortable situations by cracking a joke and lightening the mood. When you learn to laugh at things it keeps you young (my mom is living proof) and it just makes things easier.

wundayatta's avatar

@hitomi: that reminds me of a form of zen meditation called the laughing meditation. You start by just making laughing sounds, but pretty soon, you are laughing helplessly. Makes you healthier, and improves your attitude, plus, it’s fun!

hitomi's avatar

@daloon hahaha…that sounds excellent! Definitely something my family and I can get behind. Laughter really does heal!!

Bluefreedom's avatar

Here are three good choices that always work for me when I want to quash all those negative vibes that are running through me:

- Exercise
– Exercise
– Exercise

fireside's avatar

I do what daloon just talked about, except for the meds, the exercise and the affirmations.

SuperMouse's avatar

I’m agreeing with those who recommend exercise. Also, I just discovered a very cool book that you might find helpful; Write it Down, Make it Happen. It has some great techniques for getting rid of negative energy and attracting positive energy to yourself.

figbash's avatar

Two of my close friends are Naturopaths, and whenever something bad happens to me, or I move into a new house, they go through a sage-burning ritual. They swear it clears energy.

Trustinglife's avatar

When you notice you’re feeling crappy, get up and do something else.

nebule's avatar

turn off the TV for a month
read 5 inspiring books
drink hot tea outside in the early morning dew

mrsgodzilla's avatar

You mentioned the effects of winter. Believe me, I remember how tough it was living in the frigid Northeast and having to shovel snow, wear layers of clothing, and sneak over to the thermostat to raise the temp a couple of degrees just so I could think straight. Weather and its effects on us are real and if you are in touch with how you react to temperature, and inconvenience and less socializing. When temperatures dip and snow and sleet send us scrambling to stay warm, or when we are hit by a heat wave that saps our energy and makes us short tempered, we need to find ways to divert our attention and mindfully adjust our behavior so that we can eventually take any weather in stride.
Throughout my life, practicing YOGA has helped me immensely.

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