These are some of the best evidence-based strategies for reducing neural stress:
1. Suppress them. Contrary to what psychologists used to say, the research on thought suppression is robust. So when you find yourself ruminating on a worry, fear, or doubt, “just say no.” Tell that inner voice to shut up!
2. If suppression doesn’t work, use cognitive reframing: are you exaggerating? Is your worry real? Remember: worrying about a problem doesn’t help you solve it, but looking for solutions, and remaining positive, stimulates the “success” circuits in your frontal lobe.
3. If logic and reason fails, practice mindfulness: sit back and observe – without judgment – all the thoughts and feelings that flow in and out of consciousness. Mindfulness teaches your mind and your brain to disconnect from the emotional impact of negativity, and it stimulates both the “success” and “self-love” circuits in your brain. When you mindfully watch your thoughts, sudden bursts of insight often occur.
4. Still can’t free yourself of those negative thoughts? Accept them! A meta-analytic review study of mindfulness and acceptance-based therapies showed that the “oh well” approach is one of the most effective ways for dealing with most emotional problems.
5. After acceptance, begin to practice lovingkindness and forgiveness meditations, coupled with keeping a gratitude journal. We all need to send love to ourselves on a daily basis, consciously reflecting on the small accomplishments we achieve everyday and the people in our lives who care for us.
Still feeling negative?
Practice the NeuroWisdom and NeuroCoaching strategies of staying deeply relaxed and mindfully attentive as you yawn, stretch, and ground yourself in a core value. Try self-nurturing, doing any physically pleasurable activity. Recall a pleasant memory and immerse yourself in memories of past accomplishments. Each of these techniques interrupts the neural circuits involved in negative feelings, emotions, and thoughts.