Today I will be writing about managing negative thoughts.
When you’re having negative thoughts, you know that getting your mind off of it is easier said than done.
In fact, research shows that when people are instructed not to think about a specific topic, it makes it even harder to get that topic out of their minds.
But rehashing negative thoughts over and over in your head, also known as rumination, can be unpleasant and counterproductive – and in some cases, it can even lead to chronic depression.
Luckily, there are a few techniques that can help you stop negative thinking and refocus your mind on something positive, the best though, is to distract yourself with something else, something that requires focus and best of all, is productive and helps you improve your life.
Disclaimer: I am not in any way a certified councillor/therapist, therefore all the advice given is from my own experience and should not be taken as medical advice.
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Managing Negative Thoughts – Ultimate Guide!
So here are some tips and tricks to get started.
By following these guidelines, I have gone from being a pessimist and perfectionist, to having a strong and healthy mind where I have the self-belief and confidence to try new things (like this blog), to just go for it.
And my positive mindset means that when I do have negative thoughts (because I am just human, I can’t switch them off completely).
I can redirect my thoughts without allowing them to infiltrate my emotions and ruin my good mood for the day.
Surround yourself with positive people
People who we spend most of our time with often determine our thought process.
If a colleague of yours has a habit of judging people from their dressing sense, you are bound to feel conscious about your own dressing sense when you are around them.
Similarly, when you are with someone who doesn’t have a habit of fault-finding and always manages to appreciate little things in people, you will feel good about how they make you see things in a positive light.
Energy, negative or positive, spreads fast and you don’t want to be wasting your time sitting amongst those who aren’t helping you in beating negativity.
Recognise negative thoughts and silence them
If you want to maximize your positivity, I recommend that you start to learn to silence any negative thoughts.
You need to stop them telling you that you can’t do it, that you don’t have what it takes.
Paying attention to discouraging thoughts that don’t believe in you automatically decreases your self-confidence and prevents you from acting.
Negative self-talk, it happens to all of us and it’s hard to control.
Those negative thoughts come to our mind, most of the time without us even knowing why. But that’s’ ok, don’t beat yourself up for that.
However, it’s really important that you learn how to recognise negative self-talk as soon as it occurs, in order to lessen its power.
When you’re able to identify negative thoughts, it’s then much easier not to listen to them and to replace them with neutral thoughts – or even better – with positive thoughts if you can.
When you’re able to recognise negative self-talk, you can finally ignore your inner critic!
So that’s why being self-aware of your own thoughts is so important!
Bring positivity into someone else’s life
If you get stuck in negative thoughts or victim thinking then one of the simplest ways to get out of your own head and the thoughts bouncing around in there is to focus outwards and on someone else.
By adding positivity to his or her life in some way you too can start to feel better and more optimistic again.
A few ways to add positivity to someone’s life is to:
- Be kind: Give him a genuine compliment, hold up the door or let him into your lane while driving your car.
- Help out: Give her some good advice that have helped you or help out with moving houses or planning and preparing for the party next weekend.
- Just be there: Listen for a few minutes in a focused way as he vents. Or talk his difficult situation over to help him to start finding his way out of it.
When you’re in what seems like a negative situation, find what’s good
If you’ve had a setback, stumbled or failed then things might look bleak and so negative thoughts may start to crop up and threaten to fill your view of this situation.
To counteract that ask yourself better questions.
Questions that will help you to feel better but also to learn so you can grow.
- What’s one good thing about this situation?
- What’s one thing I can do differently the next time to likely have a better outcome?
- What’s one thing I can learn from this?
- How would my best friend support and help me in this situation?
Learn from the past
It’s never fun when we make mistakes or fail. It doesn’t feel good, and we feel bad for a while. Still, it’s no use going back to it several times after the fact.
Let’s say you made a mistake at work and your boss scolds you. It sucks at the moment.
But then it’s done and you go home. When we ruminate, we go back to the moment when we messed up and we get scolded, and relive the moment repeatedly.
This is what makes us feel even worse than the actual situation.
It’s almost like we’re punishing ourselves repeatedly for that one mistake – instead of doing that, take it as a lesson to learn from.
Think about the situation once again if you will, and think about how you can prevent that from happening again.
What actions can you take next time to make sure to do it right?
Once you’ve figured it out, take note of the action, and let go of the mistake.
Practice being grateful
Take the time each day to write down some of the things that you are most grateful for.
Whether it is sunny days, a good night spent with your family or friends, a job that you love going to, or even just the gift of life, write down some of the things that make you happy and that you are grateful for.
Practicing gratitude is one of the best things that you can do to immediately shift your perspective.
It’s why I recommend keeping a daily gratitude journal, and it’s why I do keep one.
It’s a great way to help remind you of all of life’s blessings and will help to keep them at the forefront of your mind.
Gratitude journals are a great way to bring some self-care into your daily routine and they only take about 10-15 minutes out of your day – try adding them either into your morning routine or right before bed.
Either way, they are a great way to reflect on positives in your life and remind you that no matter how you feel there are positives to be thankful for.
Plus, they are easily affordable! This one is only £7, bargain! Or, you can also just use any notebook you have and write the date and 1-5 things you are grateful for that day.
Live in and come back to this moment
When you’re tapping into negative thinking then you’re often thinking about something that happened. Or something that may happen. Or both, all jumbled up as your mood and thoughts sink.
To snap out of that put your attention fully into this moment instead. Into what’s here right now.
Start making it a habit to spend more of your time in the present moment and you’ll, in my experience, naturally have fewer negative thoughts and be more open and constructive.
A couple of ways to bring yourself back to being mindful and this moment are:
Focus only on your breathing.
Take a 1–2-minute pause right now and take a little deeper breath than you usually do. Make sure you’re breathing with your stomach and through your nose.
During this time focus only on the air going in and out and nothing else.
Take in the world around you.
Take a 1–2-minute break, get out of your head and put your attention on what’s around you right now. Nothing else.
Just focus on the people walking by outside your window, the muffled words and noises from the street, the smells around you and the sun shining in and warming your skin.
Remember to let things go
As much as you’d like to control everything that happens, truth is you can’t. This is an especially tough pill to swallow for people who like to be in control all the time.
However, we need to remember that there’s only so much that we can control. Most other things are beyond our control, and that’s just how it’s always been and always will be.
See the beauty of letting go. Once you let go, you’ll feel free of the drama.
Reminder: people don’t care that much about what you say or do
It’s easy to fall into negative thoughts when you think about what people may say or think if you do or do not do something.
And so you zap your personal power and may trap yourself in analysis paralysis.
Getting stuck in your head and in thoughts like that will drag you further away from what you want and from reality.
Because the truth is that people don’t have that much time, attention or energy to think or talk about what you do.
They have their hands and minds full with their kids, jobs, pets, hobbies and their own fears and worries (like for example what people may think of them).
This realisation and reminder can help you to set yourself free from the constraints you may create in your own mind and help you to start taking small (or bigger steps) towards what you deep down want in your life.
Let it out and talk it over
Keeping negative thoughts that are starting to cloud your whole mind bottled up won’t help.
So let them out. Talk the situation or your thoughts over with someone close to you.
Just venting for a few minutes can often help you to see the situation in new light.
Or if not then a conversation about it where the two of you find a more useful perspective and perhaps the start of an action-plan can be both relieving and recharging.
Set boundaries around social media
Just like it’s important to protect yourself from toxic relationships by setting boundaries, they also need to be set around social media.
Many of us are using social outlets for hours every single day. This can lead to comparing ourselves to others, negative thoughts, and even anxiety.
A study found that when volunteers limited their social media use to just 30 minutes per day, they had major improvements in their well-being. Some even felt less lonely and less depressed.
What does this tell us? This is proof that stepping away from our phones and not immersing ourselves in the social media world all day can actually have a very positive effect on our mood.
The result may be less negativity, and you may even find you have more time and energy to put into things that truly matter (like self-care and spending time with loved ones).
Energise your morning routine
Mornings set the tone of your day. When you feel sluggish in the morning, you can bring the same disposition all throughout the day.
Pump up your morning routine to start the day with a bang.
You don’t need to wake up as early as 4 AM as other successful people do – follow what works for you.
Planning your day in advance towards a particular goal helps create a laser focus on what needs to be done. Some routines that you should do in the morning:
- Setting your top 3 priorities for the day
- A 20-minute exercise ((At the very least)
- Listening to a podcast or reading a book
I remember when I started meditating sitting for 7 minutes was excruciatingly painful. Now I sit for 30/40 minutes and I love it.
Meditation was the doorway to so many new things for me. It taught me to be more present in my daily life. It taught me to witness or observe my thoughts and feelings instead of getting hooked by them.
It taught me to hear my own soul speak – it helped me more confident and not get wrapped up in negative thoughts.
I knew my meditation practice was making a difference with how I am in my everyday life. I once had a short fuse and temper, but now I am a more peaceful person.
It has had a massive impact on my life.
Instead of having emotional meltdowns, over certain situations, I feel complete peace. I smile joyfully and takes things in my flow.
That is the power of meditation. It naturally turns you into a calmer, confident, more peaceful person. Make it a part of your daily routine.
Practice a brain dump exercise
Brain Dumping is a form of psychological Self Care that gives you a feeling that you can free yourself of negative thoughts by writing them on a piece of paper.
Negative thoughts find a way to creep in when the mind is cluttered with all kinds of thoughts. You need to declutter your mind in order to make space for positive thoughts to set in.
Brain Dumping is one of the most useful ways to get rid of the negative thoughts and clear your mind.
Go for a short work out
I find that when I’m having trouble with thinking myself out of negativity then it often works well to change my headspace by using my body.
So I go for a 20-30 minute workout and do some yoga or cardio.
This helps me to release inner tension and worries. And it makes my mind focused and constructive once again.
Affirmations are a great way to appeal to the good side of any individual. The sad truth is, you often, by default, speak ill of yourself every day.
Positive affirmations can turn the table around. They are like the essential elements for a plant to grow. Without them, the plant will wither and die.
Create a list of at least three affirmations per day. Recite these affirmations throughout the day when it’s tough.
Managing Negative Thoughts – Final Thoughts
Many a times, negativity makes you believe that the problem lies within you. But the fact is, it’s how you allow yourself to feel that determines what your mind will eventually think.
If you feel happy and grateful about everything that you have, negativity can come nowhere near you. Get over the feelings of regret, hate, jealousy and sadness and you will find yourself feeling more alive and positive.
What are you tips for dealing with negative thoughts? I would love to hear them.
I would love to hear your thoughts on what you are doing to change your life in the coming days and years!
If you have any questions please reach out to me via email@example.com. I would love to hear from you!
I really hope you found inspiration in this article.
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Hello! My name is Adam and welcome to my space on the internet. Here you can find me writing about subjects such as spiritual growth, self-discovery, wellbeing, addiction recovery and mental health. Please connect with me on my journey and join the community!