negative thinking

Trapped in Negative Thinking

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Addicts are plagued with stinking thinking. They are not the only ones. Addicts learn to stop acting out with their drug of choice. However, many who have put a cork in the bottle are still badgered with negative beliefs that sabotage serenity.  

Addicts wallow in past memories, wishing that things were different. In recovery, many “future trip”, focus on how things will be when sobriety and stability is achieved. Everybody grapples with staying in the present moment, but this is difficult when you don’t like where you are. Mistaken beliefs about self and the world flourish when addicts get stuck focusing on the past or future. 

Most addicts say they just want to be happy. However, happiness depends upon positive conditions. Yet, this cannot always be controlled. In the life of an addict, the results of addictive behavior have a life of their own. Trust is broken and lives have been destroyed. Often, once the havoc is wreaked, there is no going back to fix things. Relationships are devastated regardless of achieved sobriety. Loved ones have had enough! 

People who are not addicted cannot control the conditions for happiness either. For example, loved ones die unexpectedly. Tragedy and heartache happen outside of your control, too! The chase for happiness becomes an illusion because you cannot govern all of the outside factors that contribute to happiness. Your efforts to create happiness are fragile at best. Negative thinking is overcome by seeking inner peace rather than happiness. Inner peace is controlled from within.

Struggle and adversity leave an addict feeling empty and without happiness. It is possible to create inner peace in the presence of unhappiness. Addicts can transform limitation, failed recovery, broken families, and relapse into their greatest teacher. This stabilizes long-term sobriety. They transform emptiness into serenity with perspective and stability.  

Last year, I spent time with friends in their mountain home. We visited someone who modeled peace. He was a campground host and recovering alcoholic. He spoke about past losses and hurt, yet now exuded with enthusiasm, joy, and peace. During a tour of the campground, he underscored how appreciative he was to have such stunning views of the mountains that were nearby. He was excited to show us his small camping trailer. At the end of the tour, he declared that he was the luckiest man alive and that he was living the life he had always hoped. 

Upon reflection, he seemed to radiate an inner peace that was opposite of the negative thinking that dominated his addictive behavior earlier in his life. He talked about being present in the moment with his thoughts which brought him peace. He learned to block out the negative thoughts from the past and anchored his thoughts to the present moment. As I listened to him share, I thought of the many people who had so much more in personal possessions but who were stuck in negative thinking about needing more to keep from being less. When you discipline yourself to be in the present moment, negative thinking is countered with inner peace.

When you lose a loved one or must face your own demise, it is impossible to be happy about the misfortune. But, you can be at peace as long as you have released grasping for things and conditions you cannot control. In recovery, maybe you won’t be able to be with the family you thought would be there for you, but you can have peace. You may face a dramatic change and limitation in your life because of illness or financial restraints. Economic reversals and poor health will never trigger happiness. Yet, peace can be attained within when you let go of negative beliefs by simply embracing the here and now.

Peace comes in the present moment, not the past or future. Anxiety and worry accelerate when you fret about what might happen in the future or lament about a past action. Addicts tell themselves that bad things happen because they deserve it. They create movies in their head that reinforce destructive experiences from the past. They tell themselves they don’t have what it takes to live a sober, serene, and successful life. Their negative thinking sabotages good results in their life and prevents them from being present in the here and now. They become their negative thoughts. This contributes to relapse behavior and impairs the possibility of peace in the present moment. Addicts get stuck and are unable to separate themselves from the negative voice in their heads. 

You stop negative thoughts by learning to sit in life experience as it is whether pleasant or unpleasant. In recovery, you learn to connect with yourself without judgment and without clinging to the past or grasping for the future. You must learn to accept what is, right now. Your sense of self is different from your life situation. When you learn to be friendly with the present moment, you begin to make peace rather than embrace negative thoughts that treat the present moment as an enemy. In 12-step groups, addicts learn to separate their sense of self from their negative thoughts. When this happens an addict can embrace the present moment. They create inner peace and discover the brilliance of who they really are. The trap of negative thinking is resolved by practicing being present in the here and now.

How Binaural Beats Have Changed My Life

Despite fighting plenty of demons over the years, I’ve never been a huge believer in any healer stuff. In other words, I’ve chalked up my negative thoughts and emotions to a brain chemistry problem, not a chakra problem.

After all, I have a bipolar II, anxiety, and an ADHD diagnosis; all of this is enough to keep me on a negative-thinking bender throughout all of this life, and most of my next. (Of course, I never believed in second lives any more than I believed in Reiki until two months ago.)

On December 12, 2018, I had a kind of White Light Moment, one that shot up my vibration to what felt like a thousand positivity volts, or however the good vibes scale works. I didn’t even set out to do so.

It all happened in Thailand.

At the time, I was living in Chiang Mai, the Digital Nomad Capital of the World. It’s a charming city in Northern Thailand, home to the infamous Yee Peng Sky Lantern Festival, and it’s packed with hundreds of Buddhist temples, coffee shops and super friendly locals.

When I arrived, I figured I’d poke around the country and see what kind of interesting stories might abound. That’s when I discovered this badass female monk, the Venerable Dhammananda Bhikkhuni, who defied the traditional Thai monastic order by getting ordained in Sri Lanka. Since the Thai government and culture at large doesn’t recognize female monks, she’s considered somewhat of a feminist rebel. I just had to interview her.

After listening to her speak about accepting suffering, the nature of impermanence, and how to train our minds, I felt very much at ease and full of positivity. When I returned to Chiang Mai, the uptick in my outlook and mood only increased. This was definitely not some sort of manic swing; instead, I just had a lot of mental clarity and positivity, more groundedness, peace, and what can only be described as a kind of soul warmth, than I’d ever experienced.

I rode the positivity wave as long as I could, scribbling down revelations in my journal about my Higher Self and ultimate purpose. But then I got into a sticky conversation with an ex-boyfriend from a recently deceased relationship. I may have spun his words in the wrong way, but the conversation brought back feelings of worthlessness and stupidity, which left me wondering how the hell the pink cloud could burst so fast.

This all happened at like 2 am LA time, so who else was I going to call for support? I had no choice but to turn to Google. That’s when I learned about evil entities and joy-sucking discarnates—ghosts who attach to your soul and suck up all your warm fuzzies.

Believing that some negative energy had gotten ahold of me—that there was something going on beyond my negative thinking patterns—I decided to put myself to sleep with a YouTube video of chanting Thai monks. It was super soothing and pulled me into a kind of trance—an altered brain state. Not long after discovering this particular meditation video, I stumbled on this nine-hour psychic protection and aura shield meditation video. This was my answer!

The music consists of a combo of singing Tibetan bells, binaural beats and isometric tones. After listening to it for an hour or so, the calm, warm and positive energy and thoughts returned. So I began listening to it in the mornings and sleeping with it on all night, developing a firm belief that if I didn’t sleep with it, I might become overtaken by those discarnate souls or negative energies and plummet back down into darkness.

I have since expanded my library to include many tracks with Shamanic drumming and deep om chants. Not only do they help me sleep, but they also really help me focus when writing (because of my ADHD, this often can be a challenge).

Intrigued by the potency of the videos, I turned to Google again. According to Medical News Today, “Binaural beats activate specific systems within the brain. An electroencephalogram (EEG) that recorded the electrical brain activity of people listening to binaural beats showed that the effect on a person’s body varied according to the frequency pattern used.” This is a physiological process called “brain entrainment,” one that can boost levels of endorphins like serotonin and dopamine, and also give your cognition and concentration a boost.

But the old-school Shamanic drums aren’t without their benefit either—they can also brain entrain. (This is no big surprise given drumming that repeats the same rhythm can easily put you into a trance.)

“What most people don’t realize is that although the creation of binaural beats music has only been possible through technological advancement in the last 100 or so years, the use of this natural science dates back thousands of years,” states the website Binaural Beats Meditation. “Ancient cultures were aware of how the brain could be entrained through sound repetition well before modern science was able to prove the process.”

Now I’ve begun creating my own little YouTube mixes when I’m writing to stay focused and out of writer’s terror. Right now, I have three tabs open on YouTube. Two are playing ADD & ADHD Study Music with Dual Hemispheric Stimulation – Brainwave Entrainment (Isochronic Tones), both on full blast, and one is playing OM Mantra Chants ✜ 1111 Times, also on full blast.

I still hit the hay with the psychic protection video blaring in my ears, and I couple this with a meditative practice to keep the negative thoughts and energies away. As much as meditation, not to mention exercise and eating well, help, it’s actually quite convenient to be able to pop on a song and immediately feel a sense of ease and positivity.

Whether the effect stems from mystical energy-manipulation or just an endorphin boost doesn’t matter to me. Since I can’t take stimulants for ADHD given the bipolar diagnosis, and since I don’t want to shell out a bunch of money for Reiki sessions, these videos are an excellent solution to my problem—one that’s 100% free, comes with zero side effects, and is accessible from my phone.

I’m excited to see what kind of cumulative, long-term effects it might have on my brain. Maybe it will even turn me into a super genius. You never know.