Book Review; ‘Eliminate Negative Thinking’ by Derick Howell

I always thought of myself as a positive person.

But this past month has been particularly tough on my mental health and negative thoughts have been arising.

So this book couldn’t have come at a better time.

Here is my book review on ‘Eliminate Negative Thinking’ by Derick Howell.

Since leaving the hustle and bustle of London and a toxic 9 to 5 job behind in 2017, I’ve made a conscious effort to live a stress-free and intentional life.

My wellness journey officially began when I found myself in South East Asia travelling solo, and since then I’ve been a more positive person.

But with the events of the last year, and being stuck in lockdown for so long, negative thoughts have started to creep their way back into my head.

And I’m now a lot more anxious and worried about the future.

Instead of ignoring my emotions, I have faced them head-on, challenged them and managed to overcome a few of them.

But negative thoughts don’t always just disappear.

Sometimes even more arise.

This past month was particularly tough causing my mental health to suffer.

(Maybe subconsciously I’ve been freaking out about the fact I’m now 31, who knows!)

So instead of turning to my usual self-care practices, I decided to read ‘Eliminate Negative Thinking’ to help me overcome this current negative cycle and find calm in the process.

“There are plenty of reasons why even the most optimistic people find themselves in ‘negative thinking loops’ at one point or another. Negative thoughts in most people arise out of fear of the future and anxiety about the prevailing circumstances in their lives”

Derick Howell | Eliminate Negative Thinking

The lowdown on ‘Eliminate Negative Thinking’

‘Eliminate Negative Thinking’ is a relatively new book first published in 2020, so it hasn’t really hit the radar yet.

I had actually never heard of this book until I was given it as a present for my birthday.

By the same person who bought me, ‘You’re Not Listening’ by Kate Murphy.

(Either they know me too well, or they’re trying to tell me something!)

Having been in an unproductive rut for the past couple of weeks, I felt like there was no time than the present to read this book.

‘Eliminate Negative Thinking’ essentially offers practical advice on how to overcome negativity and stop overthinking.

There’s a big emphasis on how to control your negative thoughts by shifting your focus towards positive thinking, self-acceptance and self-love.

Spread over 10 chapters, ‘Eliminate Negative Thinking’ shows you how you can better understand your thoughts, clear your mind and practice self-compassion.

It’s all about helping you find long-term solutions for negative thinking.

Rather than just temporary fixes such as indulging in drugs and alcohol or distracting yourself from your thoughts.

“Rather than spending all your efforts struggling with negative thoughts, consider the possibility that they are there to teach you something”

DERICK HOWELL | ELIMINATE NEGATIVE THINKING

Sounds good huh?!

One of the main solutions that stuck out to me was to “create a daily worry period.”

Instead of allowing yourself to be overcome by worrisome thoughts throughout the day, you allocate time during the week to worry.

Usually in the morning rather than at night so it doesn’t interfere with sleep! (You know I can’t live without my solid 9-hours!)

Creating a “worry period” enables you to deal with your worries at a more convenient time rather than having your worries disrupt your day.

It is also encouraged, during this time, that you journal down all the things you are worried about. This will help you clear your mind and offer a sense of relief.

Derick concludes that if you practice this method consistently, it can actually “significantly reduce your tendency to worry and lessen anxiety.”

So I think I’m gonna give it a go!

My biggest takeaway

When I was teaching English as a second language my favourite word was ‘should’.

Purely because it was so damn easy to teach.

But since becoming an entrepreneur and entering the online space I’ve realised how damaging the word ‘should’ actually is.

‘Should’ evokes feelings of guilt.

Derick tells us that by using ‘should’ statements you are pressuring yourself into completing or doing something.

“(Should statements) exert undue pressure on you to act in a certain way in order to achieve certain expectations, which may not be realistic.”

Derick Howell | Eliminate Negative thinking

And when that thing doesn’t happen, you of course blame yourself, maybe for being lazy or unproductive or unorganised.

This can ultimately lead you into a never-ending cycle of self-doubt and guilt.

Derick demonstrates that if you just change the wording of your statement and eliminate the word ‘should’ you can save yourself a whole lot of pressure and guilt.

A mental shift then happens where you don’t feel so bad after all.

So the next time you hear yourself using ‘should’ just stop and think.

Ask yourself if there is another mindful word or phrase you can use instead.

My favourite alternatives being ‘allow’ or ‘want’.

example

Should statement = “I should not feel this shit, I should be grateful for the fact I’m alive.”

Alternative statement = “I allow myself to feel low right now because I know this negative cycle will pass.”

Should statement = “I should post on Instagram today.”

Alternative statement = “I want to try to post on Instagram today.”

You can also try repeating the ‘should’ statement to yourself and assess whether this is actually something you want to be doing.

Or is it because you feel as though it’s expected of you.

example

Should statement = “I should get married before turning 30”

Alternative statement = “I know I’m expected to get married before turning 30 but screw ‘the norm’. I’m gonna do things my way!”

These pages on explaining ‘should’ statements really helped me come to terms with how I put so much pressure on myself just from this one word.

And really, I can save a lot of negativity towards myself if I just change the language I’m using.

Final thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed reading ‘Eliminate Negative Thinking’.

There were some great pointers in there and I made a tonne of underlinings.

The book is not long at all and just like the must-read book, Atomic Habits’, it’s an easy and digestible read.

A summary is also included after each chapter so you can easily refer back to the main points again and again.

I will definitely start implementing a lot of the tips mentioned in this book, especially being more mindful of using ‘should’ statements.

However, I felt as though the book was slightly too repetitive.

Derick uses a lot of the same points in each chapter but changes the words slightly.

And I would have liked to have seen more variation in the way we can overcome negativity.

I also felt that the book slightly promoted toxic positivity as Derick pushes positive thinking way too much. He says things like, “it is important to remain positive about every aspect of life.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I do like to be optimistic and limit my time with negative people as they drain my energy but sometimes it’s impossible to remain positive all the time.

Life is hard and there are times when you will feel low, anxious and depressed.

There are times when you just want to curl up and cry.

And no amount of positive thinking can fix that.

And that is completely fine.

So I would’ve liked to have seen Derick normalise this and put more of an emphasis on a few other practices other than positive thinking that can help you feel better.

Like taking time for yourself, being compassionate and indulging in a bit of self-care.

Which is exactly what I like to do when I’m feeling a bit neggy!

“By treating yourself with more compassion and understanding, you will realise that your happiness is entirely dependent on yourself”

Derick Howell | Eliminate Negative thinking

Until next week,

♡ Thalia xx

If you love a good book just as much as me, then check out my review on ‘You’re Not Listening’ by Kate Murphy

Book Review; ‘You’re Not Listening’ by Kate Murphy