Q: What would be an ideal way to remove negativity from our minds? Why do I have constant thoughts of fear of losing someone close or thoughts of failure? I keep getting negative thoughts of untoward incidents, which my family or loved ones might confront every day. Why do my fears take control over my mind?
— Suheil Merchant via website
A: Our thoughts govern our emotions and we choose our thoughts. Our mind is capable of destructive thinking as well as constructive thinking, and it is destructive thinking that gives rise to debilitating emotions such as fear. We learn our thinking styles unconsciously from the environment around us and some early experiences in our growing years. We sub-consciously rehearse the same thinking style, which then becomes our internal self-talk. Adults are perfectly capable of replacing their dysfunctional self-talk with a more functional self-talk. The sub-stratum of our automatic self-talk is the beliefs that we subscribe to. Therefore, the way to remove these fears is by questioning, challenging and disputing the underlying irrational beliefs and replacing them with more rational ones. Questioning the logic, empirical verifiability and the pragmatism of the belief demolishes the base of the irrational belief and makes space for more rational and functional beliefs. These new beliefs then have to be rehearsed consciously till they become your new habitual thinking style. This conscious unlearning of the old, and conscious learning and rehearsing of the new belief is facilitated in therapy by a cognitive behaviour therapist.
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