Whenever you recognize a negative thought that returns to cause you pain, discomfort or fear, try one of these simple exercises, which may seem trivial but which, in my experience as a therapist, have proven to be effective, at least in some cases. After identifying the negative thought, imagine holding it in your hands, as if you had something material or tangible.

Shouting negativity
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Imagine yourself throwing it into a basket, and casting this basket away. This small, simple exercise will help you limit that annoying noise that forces your most authentic voice to turn up its volume so as to make itself heard. Every time you do this, repeat to yourself the well-known phrase of the meerkat from the animated film “The Lion King:” Hakuna Matata “, a phrase in Swahili that means:” No worries, no problems”. Another imaginative technique, useful for countering negative thoughts, consists of picturing that disturbing idea as if you were seeing it in written phrase before you.


Imagine yourself taking the individual words of that thought and placing each one into a ball; then behold yourself giving it a strong kick and making it disappear from sight. Each ball has thus disappeared and with it also your negative thought.

Employ this technique several times a day.

Here is another very useful exercise for those who never stop criticizing and judging themselves. You have to write a termination letter to your “personal critic”. Here is a sample letter. “Dear Mr. Critic, I am pleased to inform you that, as a result of a profound review of our project, we no longer require your services.

Your collaboration in this sector is over. From now on, while we still value your qualities, which have been greatly appreciated all these years, we are happy to offer you a task of great responsibility and more interest in the sector: Growth, Creativity and Support. We will see you there. ”

It is also best to go deeper into the negative thoughts, that is, to process them. How? Let’s ask ourselves: What is it that makes me ill or judge/think negatively of others? Sometimes, the others are what we don’t like in ourselves. It may be something unconscious and we may not even be aware of it. We tend to use psychological projection, which is a theory in psychology where humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative). They may be feelings, motives, or attitudes they find unacceptable in themselves, so thus they deny their existence while attributing them to others.

With courage and humility, we can learn to face and accept who we truly are and avoid negative thoughts about others. In this way, we can be optimistic and open in our relationship with others.

Pasquale Ionata and Frances Orian
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