Elisha Goldstein, a PHD in Transpersonal Psychology graduate from The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology at Sofia University. . is co-founder of The Center for Mindful Living in West Los Angeles and creator of the 6-month mentorship program A Course in Mindful Living. He is a psychologist, author and speaker who synthesizes the pearls of traditional psychotherapy with a progressive integration of mindfulness to achieve mental and emotional healing. Dr. Goldstein contends that we have the power to transform our traumas and habitual patterns that keep us stuck in perpetual cycles of stress, anxiety, depression, or addiction and step into greater freedom and peace. He offers practical strategies to calm our anxious minds, transform negative emotions, and facilitate greater self acceptance, freedom and inner peace.
Dr. Goldstein has published extensively and is author of numerous articles, chapters, and blogs, including numerous bestselling books which can be found on his Amazon Author’s Page. He is also creator of the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy column at Psychcentral.com and a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post. His professional research on Sacred Moments: Implications on Stress and Well-Being is published in The Journal of Clinical Psychology. We have re-posted his article on Releasing Negative Anxious Thoughts here.
What a time we live in. Recently we’ve had two historic hurricanes, Harvey and Irma leaving devastation across Houston Texas and the Caribbean, while Bangladesh experiences one of its most catastrophic floods. That’s not even adding in the constant barrage of political uncertainty and threats of potential war that stream across the news feeds.It’s no wonder that an increasing amount of people are experiencing heightened stress and anxiety.
No matter what we choose to do in the next moment, it’s almost always better when we’re emotionally regulated and balanced. Here are three simple ways to break free from negative anxious thoughts and restore feelings of calm and well-being (I go into 8 additional ways to do this here).
1. Recognize the Thought: If the thought is, “the world is going to hell in a handbasket” or “life is never going to get better” or some form of complaining, blaming or something like that, take a moment to recognize that the thought is forming in your brain.
2. Relax the Body – When you’re experiencing negative anxious thoughts, your body is also reacting. You’re going through some form of a fight-flight-freeze response, so take a moment to relax your body.
3. Release the Thinking: You can use the out-breath to release tension in your body, as well as any negative thinking. You can even imagine negative anxious thoughts leaving your body with the out-breath.
At this point you might find yourself in a bit of a more balanced space and if you like you can even take a moment to open up to what’s good. Could it be that you’re safe, you’re body is working okay in this moment, you actually have some friends you can count on, you have a job—whatever it might be, see if you can name a few of those, recognize them, and also just linger in that a little bit.
Practice these three things of Recognize, Relax and Release – consider it the Three R’s to Breaking Negative Anxious Thoughts. You can also flip it with thinking about what’s good too. Treat it like an experiment. Remember, like anything else what you practice and repeat starts to become more automatic.
Elisha Goldstein, PhD
Since 1975, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology at Sofia University has continued to be an international leader and pioneer, moving humanity forward in the areas of transpersonal research and transpersonal education. training clinicians, spiritual guides, wellness caregivers, and consultants who apply transpersonal principles and values in a variety of settings. The Sofia educational model offers students not only a solid intellectual foundation, but an extraordinary opportunity for deep transformational growth and personal experience of the subject matter. How does Sofia University accomplish this? The university builds upon its strong, whole-person psychological foundation to give students a greater understanding of the human condition.