Not everyone has read J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books (or might admit it) but most people would admit they have negative mind chatter. To deal with my own, I borrowed and modified an idea from her character, Dumbledore.

In “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” Harry discovers Dumbledore’s Pensieve. Here’s what he tells Harry about it.

“This? It is called a Pensieve,” said Dumbledore. “I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind.” He continues after a line from Harry, “At these times,” said Dumbledore, indicating the stone basin, “I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one’s leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form.”

I’ve been paying attention to how often my mind uses up time and energy on negative memories and mind chatter. And, I decided to do something about each. Note: I’m not talking about larger matters that require a different approach (I use different tools for those), I mean that portion of the around sixty thousand thoughts each day that doesn’t lead to desired experiences or doesn’t help me feel the way I want to feel.

When memories sneak in and start to occupy my thoughts, I thank that part of my brain for working so well and ask myself if there’s something I need to learn from the memory. If not, I let it go. There’s plenty to give my mental energy to in present-time. If it’s something I need to look at, I plan time to do that, especially as the moment this occurs is not usually the ideal one for this activity.

Negative mind chatter has been showing up on a regular basis throughout my life. Based on my formative patterns and beliefs infusion, it’s understandable why negative feelings crop up first; but I’ve learned how to shift them into positive ones, as soon as it feels appropriate to do so. Though, that’s not always so simple a task. Maybe you know what I mean. This chatter more readily occurs if you spent or spend a lot of time around people who complain or worry about a lot of things (or everything) and do so often (or what seems like all the time). This behavior never accomplishes what’s hoped and perpetuates “what is.” And it’s contagious, whether anyone does it aloud or in the mind.

Astonished at how often this was taking place for me, I decided it was time to do something constructive about it. I borrowed from Dumbledore and aversion therapy. If you’re not familiar with aversion therapy, a negative stimulus is used to break a habit, like snapping a rubber band worn on the wrist whenever you think about doing what you’re aiming to stop doing.

I decided to count how many times a negative thought about a particular matter occurs and extract it from my mind by writing it down. So far, I have three primary categories that have been asking for my attention. Every time a thought happens, I stop what I’m doing and make a mark on the paper I created for this purpose.

One morning I woke, felt and stated my appreciation for the miracle everything is (which lasted almost to the kitchen, which is a short walk); and while I got coffee going and did a few things, I counted twelve negative thoughts in ten minutes. All twelve thoughts were variations on the same issue. If you consider that some time is needed to play with the thought and some time is needed to recognize what’s going on, you see it was a packed ten minutes.

My intent is not to eliminate such thoughts; and I honor they may have a purpose. However, I don’t want to give them as much of my energy anymore. My intent is to become so irked by interrupting myself or with the number of hatch marks on the page, I create the habit to immediately shift my thinking to either something I appreciate or some thought or action that will create a desired feeling experience, until thinking positive, creative thoughts becomes more the norm. When I say “irked,” I don’t mean I get agitated or beat up on myself. In fact, I’m allowing this to be playful, and focus more on my process and progress than anything else.

The fact that I’m doing this caused such thinking to lessen within the first day. Now when such a thought flitters into my mind, I’m more inclined to notice it and let it go. If it needs my attention, I give it. I assist myself by stating, “I appreciate the miracle everything is.”

If this resonates for you, use it and let me know how it works as your experience.

Author's Bio: 

Joyce Shafer, LEC (jls1422@yahoo.com) is an author and creator of the Reinvent Yourself: Refuse to Settle for Less in Life and Business coaching program, who likes to help people Make Shift Happen! freewebs.com/coach4lifebalance (cool free empowerment tools). Her books and e-books are available at lulu.com and discounted at her Web Store.