In her book Frequency, Peirce argues that we make room in our mental storehouse through continual effort. She describes efforts at calming our body as ways to “remove clutter.” This can involve a decrease in frenetic, overwhelming activity, “removing worry and doubt,” choosing the most positive thought you can about any situation or person, and refocusing on an auspicious future. To reach a place of mental abundance, she suggests not “…[saying or doing] things that cause other people physical, emotional, or mental pain.”
If negative thoughts makes us feel worse, then why do we so easily gravitate toward them? The only jolt one could possibly obtain from their retrieval is a false sense of empowerment – e.g., putting yourself in the “wronged” position so that you can feel righteous, or putting someone in a bad light so that you feel superior. I think many of us don’t realize the physiological impact our thoughts can have (and the potential for negative ones to wreak havoc).
Why are pejorative musings more accessible? Perhaps it has to do with the profound punch that our nervous system experiences during a jarring occurrence. To recondition our minds, we need to make conscious effort in how we access our thoughts (and, in which ones we create in the first place). Robbins suggests replaying trauma in ways that negate its significance; for example, imagining an aggressive colleague in a completely opposite (and even silly) manner.
Alessandra refers to negative thought as a “junk food diet” – easily available, yet difficult to digest nuggets of negative information. The acid reflux of destructive rumination reappears on a continual basis – resulting in mental illness. The antidote to our fixation on gloom is to avoid activities that lead to mean-spirited mental pictures – such as gossiping (whether you’re an active participant, or simply an observer). You also might try putting yourself in another person’s shoes: how would you feel if (1) you were tried and convicted, all in the courtroom of someone’s mind, or (2) you were verbally bashed, absent the opportunity for defense?
Another diversion is to practice implementing your own plan of action for personal growth, realizing that your job is not to judge other people. In the final analysis, we are ultimately responsible for our own output (mental, verbal, and behavioral). Are you creating garbage, or things of beauty?