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  • Mindy McCarthy

Take Out the Trash

For the majority of us, we have experienced the lovely household chore of taking out the trash. Depending on how much trash you have on any given week, this chore needs to be completed periodically to make sure the trash does not overflow or cause some issues like foul odors inside. In addition to physically taking out the trash, are you taking out the trash of the things that come in your mind?

We are all human, so removing negative thoughts all together is certainly not a realistic expectation. However, we can evaluate the thoughts that are coming to mind. Are these thoughts serving us anymore, or are they trash that should be taken out?

When you experience negative thoughts, think about the purpose of these thoughts. Are they actually serving you in any way?

These thoughts historically were designed to help our ancestors survive. While we certainly do not need these instincts and thoughts in order to survive in today’s society, it is helpful to figure out what kind of thoughts will actually benefit you in various situations. If you are experiencing a negative thought in the middle of competition, how is it serving you?

These are questions that you can ask yourself when you are noticing these negative thoughts come to mind. Are these thoughts serving me, or are they trash items that I need to take out?

When you stop and evaluate the purpose that these thoughts are serving, you can determine if you need to keep reflecting on them or if you can change them to better serve you. For example, if you are exaggerating one mistake to say that you always make that mistake, how can you counter that argument? This thought is not serving you, especially if you can think of a time where you were able to do this certain skill well.

A great practice to use to really evaluate what thoughts you are experiencing and how they are serving you is to write them all down. Use individual pieces of paper to write down the negative thoughts that you are telling yourself. Writing them down in general can be a useful tool to really understand what you are thinking and telling yourself. Remember, though, we still need to take out the trash. Physically ball up these negative thoughts, and throw them away. (For added fun, shoot them into a trash can like your favorite basketball player).


Physically putting these thoughts in the trash signifies how these thoughts are no longer serving you, and they can be taken out. Make sure to then replace these thoughts with ones that can actually serve you, and keep these as reminders when it may be a little more difficult to take out the trash.

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