From the teachings of Swami Sivananda Saraswati

Thoughts of worry and thoughts of fear are fearful forces within us. They poison the very sources of life and destroy the harmony, the running efficiency, vitality and vigour. While the opposite thoughts of cheerfulness, joy and courage heal and soothe instead of being irritating. They immensely augment efficiency and multiply mental powers. Therefore, be always cheerful, smile and laugh.

Grand law of nature

Every thought, emotion or word produces a strong vibration in every cell of the body and leaves a strong impression there. If you know the method of raising an opposite thought or counter-thought, then you can lead a happy harmonious life of peace and power. A thought of love will at once neutralize a thought of hatred. A thought of courage will immediately serve as a powerful antidote against a thought of fear.

When there are diseases, discord, disharmony in the cells of the body owing to the influence of vicious thoughts, worry-thoughts, fear-thoughts, hatred-thoughts, jealousy-thoughts, passion-thoughts, you can neutralize the poison or canker in these diseased, morbid cells and establish peace, harmony, health and new vigour and vitality, by entertaining sublime, soul-stirring, life-giving, sattwic and divine thoughts.

This is done using the vibrations of Om chanting, by repetition of the different names of the Lord, by pranayama, kirtan, singing of the name of the Lord, by the study of the Bhagavad Gita and the holy scriptures, and by meditation.

Very carefully watch all your thoughts. Suppose you are assailed by gloomy thoughts. You experience depression. Take a small cup of milk or tea. Sit calmly and close your eyes. Find out the cause for the depression and try to remove the cause.

The best method to overcome the gloomy thoughts and the consequent depression is to think of inspiring thoughts and inspiring things. Remember again, positive overcomes negative. This is a grand, effective law of nature.

Now think strongly of the opposite thoughts, the opposite of gloom. Think of those things that elevate your mind. Think of cheerfulness. Imagine the advantage of cheerfulness. Feel that you are in actual possession of this quality. Again and again, repeat the formula, Om cheerfulness, mentally. Feel, ‘I am very cheerful’. Begin to smile and laugh several times.

Various methods

Sing. Sometimes this can elevate you quickly. Singing is very beneficial to drive off gloom. Chant Om loudly several times. Run in the open air. The depression will vanish soon. This is the pratipaksha bhavana method of raja yogis. This is the easiest method.

The method of driving gloom by force, by willpower, by assertions, by command, taxes the will very much, although it is the most efficient. It demands great strength of will. Ordinary people will not succeed. The method of displacing or dislocating the negative feeling by substituting the opposite, positive feeling, is very easy. Within a very short time the undesirable feeling vanishes. Practise this and feel it. Even if you fail several times, continue. You will be successful after some sittings and some practice.

In the same manner, you can treat other negative thoughts and feelings as well. If there is the feeling of anger, think of love. If there are thoughts of jealousy, think of the advantages of charitableness and magnanimity. If there are thoughts of gloom, then think of some inspiring scenery that you saw some time ago, or recall to mind some inspiring passage.

If there is harshness of heart, think of mercy. If there is passion, think of the advantage of celibacy. If there is dishonesty, think of honesty, integrity. If there is miserliness, think of generosity and generous persons.

If there is infatuation or moha, think of discrimination and atmic vichara, reflection; if there is pride, think of humility. If there is hypocrisy, think of frankness and its invaluable advantages. If there is jealousy, think of nobility and magnanimity. If there is timidity, think of courage.

You will drive off the negative thoughts and feelings and be established in a positive state. Practice of a continued type is essential. Also be careful in the selection of your companions. Talk very little, and that too, only on useful matters.