Our negative thoughts can consume us if we are not careful. It can ruin your perception and outlook on life. That said, you must learn how to stop negative thinking from occurring in your mind often.
How Can You Stop Negative Thinking?
The way we think can contribute to our general mental health. Negative thinking contributes to stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also affect our self-confidence and self-esteem if we continue to believe them.
And if you are in this kind of mindset, getting out of your negative thoughts can be challenging. However, it is not possible either. Here’s how you can identify these thoughts and stop yourself from feeling them:
1. Take a break
Pause and break away if you ever feel like you’re drowning in your thoughts. Negative thinking patterns have a way of keeping you stuck in a rut. And it can feel hopeless once you are in that situation. Taking a step back and pausing your thoughts can help you avoid going down the rabbit hole.
2. Replace the negative thoughts
Although we cannot get rid of our negative thoughts, we can always find a way to replace them. You can replace how you think when you notice that you are starting a pattern of thoughts. By acknowledging that you want to change this pattern, changes can happen.
Say out loud the things you want to change (if it helps) or think of habits you want to replace. Once you know what to replace, focus on it and choose different behavior. Make sure that this behavior aligns with your goals.
3. Write them down
Writing your negative thoughts can help purge how you feel; it’s cathartic. It is also a healthy way to vent and release those negative emotions. Keep a diary or journal whenever you feel or think of something terrible. Writing is also cathartic, and writing how you feel helps. It is also a lot easier to move on once you see these thoughts in writing .
If you don’t want to keep a journal or diary, it’s okay too. Find something to write your thoughts and when you are done, reflect on it. Understand why you think so negatively. Once you are done, tear up what you wrote and move on. You will feel a sense of freedom once you do it.
4. Develop new habits
Overcoming negative thoughts is not always easy, but you can always compensate by turning your “overcoming” into establishing new habits. How do you do this?
When you begin to think negatively, redirect your thoughts to something where there is nothing to overcome. It could be something you love like your pets, your favorite plant, a funny meme, or a podcast you love listening to. Redirecting your thoughts is doable but start with something easy. Once you know how to stop negative thinking, it is easier to change your beliefs into something more positive.
5. Practice mindfulness and being self-aware
The practice of mindfulness and self-awareness allows you to detach yourself from negative thinking and view them as an observer. It helps you to be more aware of your emotions and thoughts.
Once you know how you are thinking or feeling, you can ask questions like, “Is this the right response?” or “How can this be helpful in this situation?” – asking these types of questions will also help you understand why you are thinking that way. Mindfulness is like the mediator between yourself and how you feel.
6. Talk to Yourself
According to studies, talking to yourself is a sign of higher intelligence . Be your advocate and speak to yourself about this negative thinking. Most of the time, we are hard on ourselves. But if you talk to yourself, you can let go of what is bothering you. Once you do, track it – it will be easier to reframe these thoughts.
Consider yourself as your best friend whom you just confided in. What will your best friend say to you? Once you have pictured it out, tell yourself what you need to hear.
7. Affirmations help
Perhaps one of the roots of your negative thoughts is that you never received any affirmation when you were growing up. Now that you are an adult, the emotions you built up over time are creeping up on you.
One of my favorite quotes/affirmations is from the movie The Help. “You is kind; you is smart, you is important,” – at first, I thought it was funny, but looking back, it was one way to boost one’s confidence and positivity.
Using affirmations like this can help reduce these negative feelings and thoughts. Remember these affirmations whenever you feel like you are going down the same thinking pattern.
8. Focus your thoughts on gratitude
When you seek things to be thankful for, that can influence your thoughts for the day. Gratitude is not something we think of every day, but it is vital to a happy life.
Yes, life is not always easy, but we can focus on the good things. When you focus on the good, it can also change your mindset. Just remember to focus your mind on the things you are thankful for. It will help you get through the day. Practicing gratitude every day leads to a more positive and joyful life.
You cannot change the negative things in this world, and we cannot avoid negative thoughts. But you can always change your mind. It may take some time to get used to it, but it is not impossible.
Life is short; dwelling on negative thinking will not expand it. Instead, live your life free from it and enjoy the moment. Have some laughs, and find joy in everything; life is better that way.