Methods for cleansing your consciousness and your environment, or how to rid your life of negativity

Staying calm and focused is not easy. Crowds of people, cars, noisy streets, crowded shops, loud conversations, obsessive thoughts, problems, anxieties... This not only interferes with maintaining mental and emotional balance, but also causes negative emotions. What can we do to keep negative experiences out of our minds and stay focused on what is important to us? The best way is to abstract ourselves from everything that disturbs our peace and irritates us.

But what does it mean to abstract? How to abstract yourself? What benefits can this bring? What could be wrong with not being able to do this? We will try to answer these questions in the article.

Abstraction - what is it?

Abstraction (from Latin abstractio - distraction) is a process expressed in the ability to escape from minor details (stimulants) and concentrate on something more important, more general. In psychology, abstraction is understood as a change in the “angle of view,” i.e., thinking, and not a change in the type of activity.

We need abstraction in order, for example, to decide on a life goal, to set the “general direction” of our life path (and only then decide on small details - for example, what exactly to do in life); to distract yourself - from a boring or unpleasant conversation, from stress, from noise. By abstracting, we distance ourselves from the situation, look at it “from the outside” and get the opportunity to calm down, collect our thoughts, and make the right decision.

The ability to abstract helps us “separate the wheat from the chaff,” that is, by ignoring unnecessary information (for example, discomfort, workload), “disconnecting” from it, identifying the essence of the problem, concentrating on it and deciding on a way to solve it. In everyday life, most often we look for practical ways that tell us how to learn to abstract

  • from destructive, depressing thoughts; from people, after communicating with whom you are left with a feeling of emptiness and an unpleasant aftertaste;
  • from external irritating noises (sounds, conversations, working mechanisms, stomping from the apartment on the floor above, and so on);
  • from being forced to perform boring, familiar tasks that cause unpleasant emotions.

What useful things can you see by abstracting yourself?

Perhaps you will notice that, out of habit, you lose control over your emotions when something goes “not according to plan,” that is, when the situation changes (after all, at the same time you feel that you have left your “comfort zone”, and this is natural for you somewhat unbalanced).

  • Think: maybe this habit is not so good, and has interfered with your life more than once, and it’s time to slowly part with it?
  • Perhaps you do not know all the circumstances, and the changed alignment is actually either only for your benefit, or protects you from even greater troubles.
  • Perhaps you can turn new circumstances to your advantage?
  • Think: yes, circumstances have changed, but are you not paying too much attention and effort to this, are you exaggerating the importance, are you making a mountain out of a molehill?

By using abstraction, you will weigh different options and not only solve the problem, but also save a lot of energy that we usually lose by splashing out emotions.

Why is it so important to get rid of negativity in your head?

  • Negative thoughts are meaningless thoughts that prevent you from doing the right things.
  • Negative thoughts can materialize. The more afraid we are, the greater the risk of fear materializing.
  • Negative thoughts are like a toothache in your head . At first - only sometimes, in short “bells”, over time - more and more intensely. And then - a “flux” that can burst at an unexpected moment and in an unexpected direction. Therefore, it is important to “put fillings” or “remove them by the roots” in a timely manner.
  • If negative thoughts completely replace positive ones, a person falls into depression , from which, sometimes, even a good psychologist is not able to bring him out. The true motives for anxiety are known only to the “patient,” and self-analysis for “cure” is much more effective than outside help.
  • Negative thoughts can lead not only to severe depression, but also to a psychiatric hospital . Not everyone in such hospitals is completely possessed, mentally ill or Napoleon. Most of the patients are people with various mental disorders, which began with negative thoughts, manias and phobias.

How to learn to abstract?

For example, let's look at several possible options:

1. How to learn to abstract yourself if you are in a difficult, unpleasant situation that requires making a decision?

Look at the situation from the outside. You have probably noticed that after the fact of an unpleasant situation for you, having pulled yourself together and looking at what is happening from the outside, you clearly see what you should have said, how to respond and where to remain silent: when emotions leave you, you abstract and can become observer. The task is to learn to abstract yourself during the conversation.

If you are overwhelmed by emotions, the best thing you can do is to free yourself from their power. Abstract yourself, look at the situation from the outside. How to do it? Inhale deeply and exhale slowly several times. Imagine that you are observing the situation from the outside, that you are not a participant in the scene, but a spectator who is absolutely not affected by what is happening. This viewer does not experience your emotions and knows something of his own, and not what you know. This is a complete stranger. Look at the situation through his eyes, “ask” him what he thinks and how he evaluates what is happening, what he sees as the reason that prevents everything from being resolved. The answer will come by itself.

Alternatively, treat what is happening as if you are both an actor and a director, and what is happening does not affect you personally, it is just a game, and what happens next is up to you. Calmly look at what is happening from the outside and think about what you can say or do now, what the other participant (or other participants) in this game is feeling, and how best to get out of this situation. This is abstraction. “By leaving the situation,” you will have the opportunity to look at what is happening objectively, impartially, and calmly. This will help you make the right decision.

2. How to abstract yourself from noises and sounds?

We are constantly surrounded by sounds. Moreover, finding ourselves in an environment where there is no sound, a person begins to get nervous: complete silence stresses us out, it prevents us from relaxing. Thus, being in a chamber isolated from sounds forces us to focus on our heartbeats, our breathing, and our randomly racing thoughts. It turns out that a person needs external sounds and noises. There are studies by scientists at the University of Illinois proving that average sound background (60 dB) helps to increase creativity.

The sounds of nature are beneficial for us: the brain recognizes separately different acoustic signals coming from the outside, and, if desired, can highlight each of the sounds, “read” this information, process it, so it “recognizes” these sounds as melodic and natural. In the city, all sounds merge into one noisy background, unpleasant for many. It has been noticed that if sounds are unpleasant to a person, they can provoke insomnia, hearing loss, cause anxiety, lead to an increase in the production of cortisol in response to stress, and therefore to an increase in blood pressure. So, we need a background noise, but the sounds should not be annoying. And here the ability to abstract can come to the rescue.

3. How to learn to abstract yourself if you are on the verge of a breakdown? Believe me, in this case it is better to simply postpone your work. Are emotions getting in the way? Then let's abstract it: will the sky fall to earth if you put off work for a while? For example, take a nap or even sleep, meditate, “switch” with the help of good music for 30 minutes? During relaxation and a favorite activity, our brain will calmly process information, organize it and take a break from emotions. You will get the break you need and avoid emotional overload. The result will be much better, believe me.

4. How to learn to abstract yourself if you are haunted by concerns and fears? Throw away your emotions, “look fear in the eyes,” try to identify its true causes and eliminate them, and if there are no reasons, then your fears will dissipate as groundless.

5.To abstract yourself from the negative, remember that, by and large, what happened was not a disaster; you should not exaggerate. Simplify the situation to the maximum: a quarrel is just a disagreement, which can strengthen the relationship, because it will help to talk about the problem and better understand each other; getting fired is not a disaster: perhaps it will be even better, because you will find a job that you will enjoy doing. Money is also a matter of gain. Instead of being sad, it’s better to think about how to earn them. A sense of humor helps a lot in abstracting from the negative - this way we simplify the situation, look at it from the outside and relieve tension with the help of laughter.

However, first, let's look at how to avoid irritability.

How psychologists get rid of stress: 17 methods tested by professionals

Psychologists remove the burden from the human soul, help fight fears, depression and stress. This, as you understand, is a rather nervous activity that takes a lot of mental strength. And after such work, sometimes they also need their own personal psychologist, to whom they could pour out their souls, share their fears and complain about careless clients.

I've always wondered who gets their teeth treated by dentists and who gets their hair cut/colored by hairdressers. That is, it is clear that both of them do this with their colleagues. Their selection criteria were interesting. I was especially interested in who has the most professional dentist treating their teeth? It's the same story with psychologists. The psychology of communication also has advice.

But if psychologists all take turns complaining to each other, they will never get the desired relief from stress, because it turns out to be a vicious circle. How do they get rid of this sticky and unpleasant condition? Seventeen ways from seventeen professionals!


Tony Bernhard prefers to relax using physical methods by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system (the part of the autonomic nervous system in which the nerve ganglia are located directly in or near the organs). There are several ways to do this, such as breathing from your diaphragm.

Tony's favorite method is to lightly rub one or two fingers over the lips. Parasympathetic fibers are scattered over the surface of the lips, so touching them stimulates the nervous system. This small gesture helps to achieve an immediate sense of calm in the mind and body.

Sofia Dembling prefers walks in the fresh air. Natural light has an incredibly calming effect on her. She does this in almost any weather - sun, clouds, snow, light rain. The only thing that can stop her is heavy rain. During walks, she tries to tune in to being present here and now, observing what is happening around her - the shape of clouds, the rustling of a tree, mowing the lawn, children on the playground. This meditation walk helps you come to your senses and relieve excess stress.

Mindy Greenstein prefers deep breathing and an old Jewish saying that she repeats like a mantra:

You can't control the wind, but you can adjust the sails.

In any stressful situation, at the very beginning, take a few deep breaths and repeat that you cannot control absolutely everything, but at least you can control yourself and your reaction.

L. Kevin Chapman believes that the most effective tool for combating stress and anxiety is the method of progressive muscle relaxation (MPR) . It is excellent in combating physical symptoms associated with chronic anxiety and many other physiological symptoms (such as gastrointestinal distress).

Dr. Jacobson and his followers recommend tensing the muscle strongly for 5-10 seconds, and then focusing on the feeling of relaxation that arises in it for 15-20 seconds.

The doctor developed about 200 exercises for all muscle groups (including the smallest), but the modern trend uses only 16 muscle groups. I think we'll look at this method in more detail in a separate article.

What will help you avoid irritability?

As always, we have tips for this case too:

  • Use habits that help you structure and organize your thoughts, knowledge, and tasks. These are tables, diagrams, plans, distribution of tasks by level of importance, reminders, notes. When you have a plan, a vision of the situation and prospects, you will feel calmer, begin to manage your life, and stop feeling like a piece of wood carried by the current.
  • Get enough sleep and don’t starve yourself: lack of sleep, fatigue, hunger lead to depletion of vital resources and signal that it’s time to start properly distributing rest and workload, planning your activities and getting enough sleep. You can’t get by with stimulants, pills and complaints: if you don’t take care of your health, then naturally everything and everyone will irritate you, and it will become difficult to abstract yourself. Think about what gives you a “reboot”, complete rest and relaxation. This could be sleep, meditation, yoga, massage; This could be time spent on the shore of a pond, a bike ride, swimming or other methods, you just need to think about what suits you personally.
  • Replace extraneous noises with those that calm you down: for example, unobtrusive, quiet melodic music that you love. If you want “just silence,” use earplugs.
  • Breathing exercises, slow, full breathing calm you down, help you cope with anxiety, enrich you with oxygen, and improve brain function. For example, use this breathing technique: take a slow, deep breath, counting to four. Hold your breath and count to eight. Form your lips into a tube, as if you were whistling, and exhale, also counting to eight. Repeat several times.
  • Use anti-stress toys. When we stroke, squeeze, roll, rotate, fold something in our hands, it helps relieve internal tension and focus. You just need to choose “your” toy that helps you to abstract yourself: a rosary, a spinner, a rollspin or something else that you enjoy holding in your hands, that distracts you from emotions, relaxes and calms you down.
  • Abstract with the help of your imagination if noise from outside interferes with your rest. Imagine yourself in a place where you feel calm and protected. Maybe on a shady lawn with the chirping of grasshoppers, or in a hammock in the country, or on the edge of a forest, or on sea pebbles. Imagine what you see and hear - a few minutes will be enough to “reboot”. By thinking about a pleasant place and imagining it, even for a short time, we suppress negative reactions of consciousness.
  • How to learn to abstract if the imagination “does not want to turn on”? Then try to briefly focus on the sound that annoys you and interferes with your work, “accept” it and focus on the task you were doing. Consider it a workout. Gradually you will learn to be distracted from external stimuli, to “disconnect” from them. The main thing is to turn off the “this annoys me” mode.

Take care of yourself

Don't forget about yourself simply because others do the same. If you are forced to work or live under the same roof with a source of constant negativity, make sure that you have enough time to rest and restore your internal resources.

It is quite difficult to always maintain the correct unemotional perception of the situation. Negative people can keep you up at night wondering, “What am I doing wrong?”, “Am I really that bad that they talk to me this way?”, “Did I offend him in some way?”, “I can’t believe she did this to me!” and so on.

You may worry for weeks, months. Even for years. Unfortunately, sometimes this is the goal of a negative person. He seeks to piss you off and bring you down to his level of negative thinking. Therefore, take care of yourself so that in the future you can calmly repel the attacks of such emotional vampires.

How to deal with negative emotions?

It's time to talk about negative emotions - the main obstacle that affects all areas of our lives. We advise you to pay attention to some points:

  • In life, not everything can go smoothly, and events do not always easily develop according to our plan. There must be a plan, but you need to understand that life always has its adjustments in everything. According to legend, the inscription was carved on the ring of the wise King Solomon: “Everything passes. This too shall pass.” Accept life as it is, avoid excessive euphoria in moments of joy and do not fall into deep despair in moments of sadness. We cannot control everything around us, but we can understand this and learn to treat life as a source of wisdom, joy and feasible hardships, as a path to self-improvement.
  • We all make mistakes, we all learn, we all lose our tempers at times, we are not perfect. Do not rush to judge others or yourself. It’s just that we are all different, and the circumstances are different, and we never fully know other people’s circumstances, just as those around us never know ours. Therefore, the main thing is not to take someone else’s or your own failure or mistake to heart. This will allow you to avoid a lot of suffering and mistakes. Be simpler, take things easier: anger is a bad advisor.
  • Learn from mistakes, but don't let criticism or self-criticism ruin your life. Mistakes are necessary, thanks to them we gain invaluable experience, learn and improve. But it’s not just us, everyone has the right to make mistakes. Therefore, treat mistakes philosophically, with understanding, extracting rational grains of benefit from each and abstracting from the negative emotions associated with them.
  • Nothing energizes you more than the ability to enjoy the current moment. We feel, think, breathe, we are healthy (or at least relatively healthy), we have those who are dear to us, we live: we feel, touch, hear, see, we are able to think, invent, enjoy even the simplest things – you just need to sometimes “stop” in the current calm moment in order to feel it and feel the joy of what you have. Everything is learned by comparison, and you yourself can give many examples confirming that everything is not so bad for you personally.
  • Perhaps the only thing left to say is a positive attitude. By becoming more positive, kinder, more compassionate, calmer, you will “attract” positivity, kindness and mercy into your life. Perhaps new faces will appear in your life, communication with whom will bring you more joy. Well, let’s abstract ourselves from the toxic environment! Abstracting from the bad means learning to concentrate on the good, not allowing ourselves to be drawn into an emotional “storm” in which we predictably lose strength. Instead, we will switch to other topics, other thoughts, and use our imagination.

Well, it's time to sum up. Abstraction will help you solve inevitable problems without unnecessary emotions, thanks to an unbiased view from the outside, which means that thanks to it you get a valuable opportunity to benefit from your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, but few people know how to learn from mistakes and move on with gratitude for the fact that they now know more and understand more deeply. Difficulties can become new goals for you, and mistakes can become tips (what you can improve on, what to pay attention to). Knowing how to learn to abstract yourself, you can become the master of your emotions, the director of many situations, and simplify the process of solving current problems.

When we are focused on something, such as a game, we also learn to abstract ourselves from the outside world.

To ensure that your attention and memory, thinking and perception - the cognitive functions of your brain - are maintained and improved, you can successfully practice classes using effective and fun online brain exercises. Try it now!

We wish you success in self-development!

Set boundaries and enforce them

It is very difficult to deal with people who are stuck in their problems and are unable to focus on solving them. They want others to provide them with moral support 24 hours a day and share their pessimism. You don't interrupt their endless complaints because you're afraid of seeming rude and callous. However, it is one thing to provide emotional support, and another to get stuck up to your ears in the swamp of their negativity.

To avoid falling into this swamp, set clear boundaries and keep distance between yourself and the source of negativity.

Just think, would you sit all day next to a person who smokes one cigarette after another and enjoy the smoke? Hardly. So step away and get some fresh air. In all senses.

If in the near future you cannot protect yourself from the company of an annoying and negative interlocutor, try to neutralize him by asking how he is going to solve the problem that he constantly complains about. Often this is enough for the interlocutor to close the topic or move the conversation in a more constructive direction. At least for a while.

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