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5 Steps to Clear Negativity

Negative emotions are toxic to your system. They wreak havoc in your body, triggering a steady drip of damaging neurochemicals. They hijack your ability to think rationally, and ambush your self-esteem. When you allow yourself to ruminate or wallow in feelings of negativity, your subconscious mind will seek out any possible way to feel better, even if that means engaging in an unproductive habit like overeating, smoking, drinking alcohol, or other damaging behaviors.

Feelings of self-criticism, worry, doubt, fear, anger, resentment, sadness or resignation settle into your body and send a signal to your entire mind-body system that something isn’t right. When this happens, your job is to gather the information, interpret your body’s signals, decide on a course of action, clear the toxic emotions from your system, and restore yourself to a state of balance. Never let your self reach the deep sad emotion, be there and help your self cope up the negative feelings. You are the only one who can help your self.

5 Steps to Clear Negativity and Restore Inner Balance

1. Gather the information

Before you label the emotion to negativity, drop your attention into your body to sense the subtle nuances of the feelings. Notice what qualities they have. Identify their location. Where in your body do you sense uncomfortable negative emotions? Do you feel a knot in the pit of your stomach? A heavy heart? A vague sense of agitation? How big is the feeling? Is it the size of a marble, a golf ball, a softball or a watermelon? Is it moving or still? This step is all about feeling the feelings. Let yourself be curious.

2. Interpret the data

Your body is providing you with information. Think of it as pure data. Don’t judge it as good or bad, right or wrong. It’s simply information. Make a mental note of any specific images or memories the feeling is connected to. What realm of life is calling for your attention? Is it work, home, finances, family, relationships, self-image, or a combination of these? How would you label the data? Is it dissatisfaction, worry, anger, resentment, sadness, fear, or something else? Take your time and really listen to what those nagging feelings are revealing, and use this as an opportunity to gain clarity and insight on what’s truly meaningful and valuable in your life.

3. Decide on a course of action

Thank your body for providing you with appropriate signals so that you can take action. When you recognize which realm of your life is calling for your attention, decide to give it the importance it deserves so that you can resolve your inner conflict. Schedule a short block of time on your calendar to address the issue – for example, Monday from 4:00 to 5:00. Define your goals and objectives. Find the smallest possible action step you can take to begin resolving the issue, for example, meeting with a therapist or friend. As long as you are taking forward steps, you can reassure your mind that you have a positive action plan and prepare to let go of the negativity.

4. Clear the emotional pattern from your body

Now that your body has done its job (getting your attention that something isn’t right) and you have done your job (listening to your body’s signals and taking positive action steps to resolve the issue), you can release the uncomfortable sensations from your body. Imagine those feelings (from your belly, your heart, or wherever you felt them in your body), transforming so that they can gently leave your system. Some people imagine that the sensations turn into a liquid and drain from their body, exiting from the palms of their hands or the soles of their feet.

Others may imagine the feelings turning into a gas and evaporating from their pores in all directions. Others may conceptualize the feelings disintegrating and getting reabsorbed and released from their bodies. Use the power of your imagination to let those feelings drain, drift, and release from your body. Take several long, slow, deep breaths, as if you can breathe a sigh of relief.

5. Rebalance your system with gratitude

Now that you’ve released the toxic emotions, this is an ideal time to consciously infuse your system with positive emotions like appreciation, gratitude, satisfaction, and confidence. Think of something that lifts your heart, that puts a smile on your face, or that gives you a warm glow. Consciously breathe those good feelings into your body, letting yourself soak in the healthy neurochemicals and “happy hormones” that are now flowing through your system. This rebalances your body and brings you into a coherent emotional state so you can function at your best.

You have just detoxified your emotional system and restored yourself to balance and harmony. Repeat these steps as often as you like throughout the day. Let this become your “go-to” process for keeping your system clear and balanced.

Other article by Dr. Lauren Archer: Exercise Tip: Hit the Floor! – by Lauren Archer

Lauren Archer Lauren Archer directs our Mindfulness Program. With over 25 years in private practice, Lauren is the author of Six Word Lessons on Changing Habits: How to Stop Self-Sabotage and Gain Self-Mastery. She has taught classes in the Community Health Education program at Evergreen Health, and helped thousands of people adopt healthier habits.

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