• Debbie Covino, PhD

Bad Thought: I have too many bad thoughts.

Bad thoughts come to us periodically throughout the day: I will never lose this weight, my friend doesn’t understand me, the cost of living keeps going up, my to-do list is way too long, my days at work seem so long, other people are more together than I am. And so on. The list we can generate is long. We can find ourselves thinking, I have too many bad thoughts.

In my practice as a hypnotherapist, I hear about some of the more serious ones: I hate my job, this relationship has been the most painful thing I've ever experienced, people don't care about me, I have no friends, my life doesn’t feel meaningful, my anxiety is spinning out of control. Each one of these difficult subjects contains a spinoff of bad-feeling companion thoughts. A person could easily become morose by following the lead of any one of these thoughts into the swamp of the specifics.

How to stay out of the swamp?

One approach you can take is to simply detach from the thought. You can choose to leave alone the question of whether or not there's any truth to your observation, and decide that, because the thought feels bad, you'd rather not continue to entertain it. (It’s easier to do this than to use artificial-feeling positive thinking to convince yourself that the opposite is actually the case.)

Realize that thinking certain thoughts not only feels bad, but also causes undesirable behavior. Take the thought from above, My friend doesn't understand me: By entertaining this thought, you act and react in the company of your friend in ways that feel uncomfortable to both her and you. You might be insisting she grasp and affirm your point of view, which leads the two of you into arguments and conflict. If you give up the perception that your friend is letting you down, you can simply enjoy the parts of your friend to which you do connect. She doesn't understand this point of view of yours, but the two of you love to talk about a hobby you share when you take walks with her. You can think, I enjoy walks with my friend. Drop the resentment and focus on the fun. 

You're reading the Bad Thoughts Blog, which maintains that feeling good is as simple as thinking a better thought. I'm Debbie Covino, hypnotherapist, coach, and creator of the Master Your Own Mind self-hypnosis program and All Day Hypnosis Courses, available at https://www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com/digital-audio-programs

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