Self-Edit: How to stop negative thoughts spiraling in your mind


Thoughts are thoughts. Positive, negative, happy, sad. They are there. You cannot stop
them from forming every second of your waking hours. Sometimes they make you happy
and hopeful and sometimes they lead you to the dungeons of despair. But they are there.

The past year has taken a toll on many of us and has led to innumerable changes in our
lives from working remotely to being cordoned off in home to losing income to losing a loved one. In such cases it is but obvious that negative thoughts have dominated our existence. Each day scavenging for hope becomes more difficult. Thoughts starting with what if? Can I? Would I be able to? spiral through your mind at a near constant pace.

Is it possible to come out of this situation and start walking towards a brighter happier future?

Yes, it is absolutely possible.

The answer is what I term as Self-Edit.

What does that mean? Self- Edit in quite simple words means to learn to edit your thoughts
to make them better. Let us analyze three crucial steps through which we can learn to ‘Self-Edit’ and implement it in our everyday way of life.

  1. Editing the Negative thoughts


It is a given that for every positive thought there are at least five negative thoughts that counteract it. The key here is to pause and identify these thoughts. For example, in my case when I started with an intention to write, the first few thoughts that raced through my mind were Can I do it? Will it be good enough? Will people read it? What if I try after a few days? and so on and so forth.

These thoughts tend to overtake that one motivating positive thought and stop us in
our tracks to do something worthwhile which we enjoy. Then it becomes imperative that we learn to pause and identify these thoughts as speed breakers in our road to enjoy doing what we like.

2. Edit the question mark (?)

Once you identify these thoughts mentioned in step one, start replacing them with a hopeful thought. It is like editing your English paper when back in school where you had to change the question into an answer while changing the tenses too.

So, in this situation Can I do it? will be replaced by I Can do it and What If I try later? will transcend into Let me try Today.

The process of replacing the negative gives us a surge of positive energy and helps us push through our fears. I know it will sound forceful, but it will be a step in the right direction. It may seem overwhelming to replace the question mark but, trust me, it is worth the effort.

3. Edit the Fear

Ralph Waldo Emerson rightly said, He who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life

To Edit the fear does not mean to remove fear but to acknowledge that we do encounter it in our day-to-day existence. Identifying and trying to conquer it establishes the last step. The fear of failure is predominant in our decisions and it is what gives rise to most of our negative thoughts subconsciously.

Many self-help books and articles ask you to ponder on the question: What is the worst that will happen?

I feel this question leads you to revisit all your fears and might delay your actions. Hence, we edit this question and make it into a statement.

Let me see what is the best I can do.

This right here tells me that I need to take a positive action while acknowledging my fear. It helps me to start my journey rather than fear it.

Though the above mentioned three steps look utopian, however, once you start implementing them you will find that it slowly permeates your day to day thinking mechanism and impulsively forces you to have positive thoughts and subsequently effective actions. So, start Self- Editing and start living a positive, happier and a more productive life.

Contributed by Shilpa Karve

Shilpa Karve - Indoindians Content Contributor