“I want to get rid of my stress right away!”

Many people feel that way, but don’t know how to handle their struggles of daily stress. When negative emotions such as irritation and anxiety are left untreated, they can eventually lead to serious stress reactions in our bodies and minds. In some cases, it can lead to mental illnesses such as depression. As a preventative measure, it’s important to eliminate stress as soon as you feel it.

Let us introduce you to a stress care technique that’s scientifically proven to have positive effects on our mental health. It’s easy to implement. It’s called the “Negativity Trash Can” method.

All You Need is a Pen and Paper

note pad and a pen

The Negativity Trash Can”, as in the name, means to “throw away your negativity into the trash.” In practice, you write down negative or troubling thoughts onto a piece of paper and rip it to shreds before tossing it in the trash. It is that simple. Writing out your negative thoughts only requires 2 or 3 minutes. It can be as simple as a single sentence, or a whole paragraph, but the important thing is to write down your current emotions directly as they are. The paper you use can be a piece of notebook paper, a sticky note, or even the back of a scrap paper. It’s an easy stress-relief method that can be done anytime, anywhere, whether you’re at home, at work, or at a cafe.

Build Stress Tolerance with Practice

Throwing away our negativity

The negativity trash can was proven effective through a study held in 2012 at a university in Spain. When we write down a hazy thought on paper, that act is called “thought materialization.” This action convinces your brain that your stress has become a material object. Throwing away our materialized “stress” in the trash can will help eliminate stress, leaving our minds lighter from the mental load.

However, just practicing this won’t actually get rid of our negativity completely. In fact, the thoughts might still linger in our minds. Still, our brain will remember the fact that we threw it away, and the repeated process of this exercise will slowly negate our negativity. This repeated deception to our brain will also help improve our stress tolerance at the same time.

paper trash

Throw Away the Negative, Embrace the Positive

Next time you’re feeling a little negative, try the Negativity Trash Can method. It’s easy and very effective!

Having a coping mechanism on hand, such as the Negativity Trash Can method, keeps our mental health in check. This is just one of the many easy stress-care techniques you can try. Figure out what works for you and get into the habit of practicing. One of the keys to living a healthy and happy life is to properly cope with stress.


Briñol, P., Gascó, M., Petty, R. E., & Horcajo, J. (2012). Treating Thoughts as Material Objects Can Increase or Decrease Their Impact on Evaluation. Psychological Science, 24(1), 41-47. doi:10.1177/0956797612449176

About the Author


As a writer, worked on many medical-related articles based on academic papers. Specializes in articles on mental health and stress care.

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