What to do with negative thoughts?

Something I do hear a lot, when people struggle with "negative thoughts" is, to think "positive" instead. I don't necessarily think, this is a very useful thing to do. Why not? Because for one it says, "negative thoughts" are not allowed to exist. They need to be pushed away. They need to be worked on... They need to be turned into positives. We need to use some technique to make them somehow go away. What that means in the end is, they take even more attention from us, because we have to put so much effort into fighting them. And that means we reinforce fear and anxiety. The focus is so strong on a THOUGHT, that we feel its effects in the body. It also means we recognize them as dangerous, as a threat to us. Yet, are they? Well, I wonder, how dangerous is a thought? Imagine something that you are totally ok with, but others might have a strong fear response to. Let's say dogs, or whatever that is for you.

Some people have a strong phobic response to anything that looks like a dog. It doesn't matter how fluffy and cute and small they are. Maybe you even have such a lovely cosy dog at home, that others would run away from. My question to you: What do you do differently to people who are afraid of dogs? Did you ever in your life experience a negative thought towards a dog? What did you do then?

Most people say: "hm...I don't know. I did nothing."

And what happened then? "Don't know, I just didn't think about it."

How would you explain to someone who is afraid of dogs, that yours is the loveliest dog on earth, who wouldn't hurt a fly? I believe this is important to remember right now or actually any time. A thought can't harm you. A thought is just that. A thought comes up mostly in form of an image in your mind or a sound you hear "in your head". Look at the image. How harmful and dangerous is that image? Is it a dog? Or is it an image of something you label being a dog?

Do your feelings tell you something about the truth of your thought? Once this sinks in, it will free you from overwhelm, anxiety, panic attacks, as for there is no such thing as a threat in your personal situation right now, only the thoughts around it. And again:

How dangerous is a thought? Only when you focus long enough on that thought and really buy into it, you can experience feelings in your body, that you label anxiety, or depression, or sadness or whatever it is. There is nothing to fight, because there is nothing there, that can hurt.

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