The sandbox tree has sharp thorns and its fruit is poisonous but neither of these features makes it one of the most dangerous trees in the world. The danger comes from its sound. Or rather how it makes that sound. When the sandbox tree’s fruit is ripe, it explodes, spewing seeds at up to 150 miles per hour.

Most trees let birds and animals distribute their seeds by eating the fruit. The sandbox’s approach is just as effective yet pushes beyond the usual limits. When we want to dissolve unwanted meanings, we too can use an approach that pushes the limits. We call it the extreme thinking method.

What is the extreme thinking method?
It’s a technique we teach in the Lefkoe Freedom Course that involves taking a meaning you gave events and making it “worse” so that you can more easily dissolve it. For example, if you are coming late to work and start feeling anxious you might give the meaning “I’m going to be in trouble.” You can make this statement much more extreme by saying “I’m going to get fired from this job and no one will ever hire me.”

Or if you’ve just stepped in poo, you might feel annoyed and give the meaning “This is messing up my day.” You would use extremes by saying “This will ruin today and all days in the future.” When people use the extreme approach, it’s easier to dissolve negative meanings because it tends to create humor and shows the mind that the thoughts are just made up. They are not reality.

How do we use extremes to counter upsets?
First, notice the meaning you’ve given an event.

Second, exaggerate the meaning by amplifying the idea — make the meaning bigger in some way, use superlatives (worst ever, hardest ever), or use absolute terms with emphasis.

For example, Hugh used this technique when he was putting together a cabinet his father bought him. He felt dread and gave the meaning “This will be too hard.” He converted this to the extreme statement “This is so hard that no one in all of the world will be able to put it together.” This made him smile and the meaning was dissolved.

Alexa wanted to call her insurance company to tell them she was going to switch providers. She was concerned the salesperson would try to convince her to stay. She was feeling anxious and lethargic about this. She gave it the meanings “I won’t be able to say no to the salesperson”, “I’ll make them sad by making them lose a sale.”

She converted these to an extreme statement “I’ll be forced against my will to say yes and make the salesperson happy and pay 10 times as much money on my car insurance as I would have paid at another provider.” She said “The extreme form was so extreme it made me laugh and the anxiety dissolved. It sounded stupid when I said it.”

But what if I feel I’m ridiculing my feelings by using extremes?
If you feel that you have a serious emotion such as grief over the loss of a loved one and this technique doesn’t feel appropriate, then I would not use it. We tend to use it as a fun option for many of the ordinary annoyances that happen in life. I suggest only using extremes when it feels appropriate to you.

The extreme thinking approach involves converting the meaning you give events into an extreme form. This makes it much easier and often more fun to dissolve.

You can use extremes by identifying a meaning, then exaggerating it by making the meaning bigger, using superlatives or absolute terms.

When Morty first taught the Lefkoe Occurring Course, he had just one or two approaches to dissolving meaning. The idea was quite fruitful and as he taught it more techniques would sprout. This is a good thing as some of the strategies, like extremes, allow you to have fun while you dissolve meaning. Try this yourself to see how useful it can be for you. Think of an event that still bothers you, find the meaning, then convert it to an extreme form. You may be delighted by what you experience.

How to dissolve negative feelings in seconds (and make it a compelling habit)

Life brings us all big and small storms that can keep us from experiencing total joy. Wouldn’t it be great if we could somehow be a bit more like the eye of the hurricane, unaffected by the chaos around us?

Fortunately, my husband Morty created a way to do just that called the Lefkoe Occurring Course. In that course, you learn how to dissolve unwanted emotions in seconds. Then you make dissolving emotions a habit. You see reality with much greater clarity. As a result, positive and uplifting emotions tend to occur naturally.

You can register for the Lefkoe Occurring Course in July. However, to do that, you first need to join the waiting list here:

While you wait you’ll get several goodies teaching you more about how to dissolve unwanted feelings. So please join today and use what you learn to help yourself and contribute to others.