Young Woman In Dress Looking Out The Window

The direction of a man’s thought is always the decisive factor in his personality. His whole outer life will be determined by the inward inclination of his mind. ~ Erich Sauer

In the name of sweet heaven, what’s wrong with me?

That was the question I was asking myself over and over.

What was I wrestling with?

The very title of this post.  Help…I can’t stop my negative thoughts.  Those persistent negative thoughts that do no good and when you think you have a handle on them and are breathing a sigh of relief…wham…they rear their ugly little heads again.

I needed help.

Ever had this happen to you?

It’s sucky.  And here I thought I was beyond this.  Lesson learned.

I immerse myself in spiritual and emotional expansion daily.  I know what to do with this…yet here I was.

I soul searched and decided a little more research and a little more practice was in order.  I needed to shake things up a bit.

The old way of managing my thinking wasn’t working quite so well.

If you ever struggle with this, hopefully my experience can lead you out of that dark and doomy place we call negative thinking into a more cheerful, joy filled space.

My Darling One reminded me of some old techniques I used to talk about, and I was grateful.  Very grateful.  I needed some redirection.


Maybe you rerun bad experiences around in your mind, listening to negative conversations in your head, all the while feeling worse and worse.

Or perhaps it’s a habit of thinking about yourself, I’m such a failure, I’m never going to meet ‘the one’, I’m too fat, I just can’t make enough, I’m an idiot…or whatever your negative thoughts are.

This is really the time we want to have our thoughts move along a different track.  Sometimes it’s easily done.  And  I managed this for a while.

Each time my mind went back to the negativity I instantly went to an affirmation I’d decided upon.  Nothing to do with the thought.  Something that had no relevance to it in fact. I chose to affirm how much I loved our holiday home in Italy.

We don’t actually have a holiday home in Italy, yet, but I liked the idea…so I was killing two birds with one stone.  Speaking into being something I wanted that would drown out the negative reruns.  Woohoo.

For reasons unknown to me, it didn’t last long.  It wasn’t all bad.  I did get in some affirmations about something that felt good. But the negative reruns kept showing up.  Not as frequently as before…but that wasn’t it.  I wanted them replaced. I wanted those endless  loops of negative thinking stopped and out of my head.


Swish Technique

I haven’t used this NLP technique much…not really knowing much about it.  But nothing ventured nothing gained, and I needed help.  A lot of it.

I created a version that suited me and joined it together with another technique just to add a lot of power.  And for all the NLP fans, I know this isn’t exactly what’s recommended…it just felt right for me.

Generally our thoughts come in the shape of pictures, or feelings, or words or all three.  I’m an all three type of person, so I needed to focus on that.

I noticed how I felt when thinking along that negative loop versus how I wanted to feel, so I created an image that reflected my more joyful feeling.

For example if your negative thought was that you just weren’t as successful as you wanted to be.  You might set up an image in your mind’s eye of what success looked and felt like.

Maybe you’d become a best selling author, or an amazing artist, or you’d started a very successful business…what would you feel?  Victorious? Relieved? Ecstatic? Thrilled?  Would you see friends congratulating you? Would you be getting a pat on the back, or a hug?

Make the image and feelings as real as possible. You can even make the images incredible…turning yourself into a superhero or another Oprah or Wayne Dyer, if that works for you.

For me, I needed it to be something down to earth, something that felt real to me.  What can I tell you I’m the earthy Taurean type.


What I was going to do was redirect the energy of the negative thought and feeling and switch it with the positive one.  Pavlov’s dog has nothing on me kiddos.  I know which side my bread is buttered, or that I’ll get treats when I listen to the bell.

The next time my mind returned to the negative reruns I connected my new image to the old one.  I pictured the new image in the corner of the negative image, smaller, but there.  Then I felt the happier feeling and changed the images, making the small, feel good image, bigger and the negative, sucky feeling one small.

I did it, with a swishing sound…hence the swishing technique name…although I don’t really think I needed this, and then I and switched them about again and again.

I was conditioning my mind, training it to move along the new tracks I was putting in place for my thoughts to follow.  I definitely didn’t need those old ruts any more.

After a few swishes, I sent the old negative image off into oblivion.

Good news.  It worked pretty well.  Mission accomplished.  Should that same old negative rerun pop up…which is rare now…my mind automatically switches paths and moves along the new tracks of thought, the happier new thoughts and feelings.

You can do this with just about anything.  Test it for yourself and see.

I’d love to hear from you.

Have you ever struggled with being unable to stop those persistent negative thoughts?  What did you do?

I’d love to hear your story in the comments below. As always, the more specific you can be the better.  Why? Because your experience may be the cosmic aha someone in our community needed to hear today.

Thank you, as always for reading, and contributing your brilliance to the conversation.

You are amazing.

Encourage one another.

Love Elle


Elle Sommer is the author of 4 books and a workbook. Her latest publications are a series called The Power of Consciousness, and you will find all three books in this trilogy now available on Kindle. She shares quotes, inspiration and positive vibes on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And her greatest desire is to encourage and inspire others to create not just a good life, but a phenomenal life.


  1. Hi Elle,

    Those negative thoughts can get in my way sometimes too. The NLP technique is a good one. I haven’t used it that much myself either, but it makes good sense. I try and distract myself with something else, like getting outside or changing things up, to get rid of the negative thoughts. We all have them, so nice to know how to keep them at bay.

  2. Sometimes it really is very difficult to switch off from the negative. I’ve never heard of this technique so thank you for sharing it. It may be just the thing I need the next time those doubts refuse to shift!

    • Elle

      I’d forgotten about it too Carolyn. I think the persistent negative thought syndrome can get to us all…then it’s about finding the techniques that help us move into a different mental space. 🙂

  3. I know what you mean. I was recently plagued myself in this way. I finally woke up one morning, and when the negative thoughts picked right back up before I even opened my eyes, I grabbed my head and said out loud, “Please make this stop!” My inner wisdom promptly directed me to some help and it did stop! I even wrote about it on my blog, so we are thinking alike…again!

    • Elle

      I like that thought Galen. I bet it’ll be helpful for others too…so glad we’re on the same page. Now I’m heading over to your site to find your post! 🙂

  4. I love the reference to Pavlov’s dog! I tend to stress over things that my mind hasn’t come to terms with. Luckily, it usually happens soon enough, but some things just hang around, waiting to jump on my back and pull me down. My favorite method is my own T chart where I list good things on the right and not so good things on the left. Always, the right side is a far longer list – and I find that I can be happily weighed down by good stuff. Then, I think of all those who have far bigger problems than me. And sober down totally.

    Lovely post, Elle. And it is so good to be back!

    • Elle

      Great idea Vidya. Funny how we can be reminded of all the great things we have and our mind still goes back to what’s troubling us. Another great tip for the community. Love it. 🙂

  5. Those are amazing tips, Elle. Thank you for that. I am struggling big time with negative thoughts right now and I’m definitely going to try these tips.

  6. Linda Miller

    hi Elle
    your new look is beautiful, like you

    you mentioned some apps awhile ago…can you please remind me of them?

    thank you for all you have helped me learn and explore

    • Elle

      Why thank you Linda…you’ve brought a little more sunshine into my life. I think the post your looking for is this one. 🙂

  7. Swish! What a great tool. My I-phone has a “swish” tone when you send an e-mail or a text to let you know that its been sent. So I can go “swish” to send the negative thoughts on their way. Thought, sight, sound and even smell make the visualization that much more real. Good job Elle!

    • Elle

      I like that Dore’. The concept of a swishing iphone works really well for me. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  8. Elle – Oh yes-indeed I have dealt with negative thoughts and still do. But like you said at the beginning of the post, I have techniques to deal with them….but am not always successful. I love the visualizations of imagining, feeling, being in the place you want to be – the Hicks books have been extremely helpful.

    But this NLP ‘swish’ technique is different – it is definitely worth trying. Thanks for these wonderful tips. xxoo-Fran

    • Elle

      I haven’t looked at the Hicks work in a long long time Fran. Maybe it’s time to check it out again. It seems to be true for me that when I revisit something after a fairly long time, I see new things, that I missed before. It’s this evolving thing. As we do it, our awareness expands to include great things we might have missed in the past. Don’t you love this stuff? 🙂 Thanks for sharing your insights.

  9. Hi Elle,
    I’m llike your twist on the technique. NLP works; there’s no doubt about it. I also like to move my body when I’m stuck in dark thoughts. Have an awesome week.

    • Elle

      So many people have mentioned moving our body when we’re stuck Tess that it clearly is a great and yet simple technique. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  10. This is how I started taking control over my negative thoughts.I started turning it around. I took the negative through and thought, what is good about this situation, what is positive about it. What you focus on expands. So by focusing on the positive, no matter how small, will eventually expand and take over the negative. It also helps to be grateful for the postive points. When you have gratitude, it is neurologically impossible to have fear as they share the same neural pathway. And the result of negative thoughts is stress and worry (fear).

    • Elle

      Thanks for sharing your insights Brian. I know what you write will be beneficial to many. I agree with you 100% love (gratitude) and fear can’t live together. 🙂

  11. Great tips Elle and i love the swish technique thanks for reminding me.
    You post had me thinking that my recent year of living positively I rarely have negative thoughts. I found my journal from the forst day i was in hospital and was amazed at the positive words and focus I had.
    I must write about this
    all my love

    • Elle

      No surprise to e Suzie you are an amazing wonder. Your energy flows from your site and even your picture shines really brightly. Thanks for sharing your light. 🙂

  12. I definitely have a ton of experience with negative critical thoughts. I have done lots of therapy to fix it. The most useful has been dialectical behavior therapy. It has been about changing my behavior and challenging my thoughts so when I had thoughts of I am ugly no one would want me. I’d think, “I am ugly no one would want me and many of wanted me and said I was handsome.”

    I trained my mind to think both sides instead of all-or-nothing thinking. Changing the behavior resulted in me creating new tracks of experiences to prove that I wasn’t a failure.

    Thanks for the post. I know changing thoughts before behavior is the main component of CBT and works for many. : D

    • Elle

      Interesting concept Sebastian and I’m so happy it worked for you. I’m always open to hearing and experiencing new ideas…and this is a new one on me. 🙂

  13. I think everyone will go through this phase once they ‘wake up’ and they begin to see how those wild thoughts are creating their life for them. I’ve been through the mill and have settled on the simple idea, based on my beliefs and understanding, that any bad thought simply doesn’t serve me! It’s taking me in the wrong direction and it doesn’t need to be so!
    We’ve become so conditioned to feeling anything less than joyful so just spotting how less than desirable you feel is a great first step for me. I’m then able to laugh it off as an illusion or old thinking and then do my ‘work’.
    Each theme or subject area will get easier over time as we release the nonsense and recondition for the good stuff.
    Thanks for opening up to see what all have to say, this really is very, very helpful.

    • Elle

      Thanks for your shares Alba. I know they’ll be so helpful for a member of our global community. I think it’s wonderful that everyone is willing to share their views and experiences…it encourages all of us. 🙂

  14. Love the Lord with all you heart soul and mind. Be in constant worship. Negative thoughts don’t get a chance if you always rejoicing praising and thanking. Don’t think just worship. Every emotion first comes from a thought. Guard your heart by guarding your mind.

    • Hi Simon…that’s one of my favourite expressions. Guard your mind. Stand at the gate and decide whether negativity or positivity get to enter. Thanks for sharing your perspective. 🙂

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