Negative thoughts seem to be all too pervasive. Although we all have either major or minor stresses to cope with, how we think about difficulties makes a difference. Adopting a more positive mindset will help us get through any challenge a lot more smoothly.
1. Naming It to Tame It
Many people are unaware that the human brain has a “negativity bias” as part of our basic survival instincts. Fighting with your negative thoughts only makes them worse.n Instead, you are better off identifying what the negative thinking is and stop giving it attention when it surfaces.
2. Coming Back to the Present
Regrets or resentments about the past, as well as worrying about the future, can drain you emotionally. Take note of what you see, hear, touch, smell, or taste without getting into mental dialogue. Researchers have found that greater attention to our senses helps provide healthy grounding.
3. Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation has become very popular in recent years for benefits like:
- Healthier immune system function
- Reduced anxiety
- Less depression
- Reduced stress
When you practice mindfulness, you’ll enjoy a calmer mind and find your thoughts wandering less.
4. Ask Yourself Some Questions
Asking yourself questions about negative thoughts can help you redirect your thinking. Some examples include:
- Does this thought help me in any way?
- Am I likely to take useful action because of this thought?
- Is this thought something I should have stopped thinking about a long time ago?
- Are these thoughts even true?
As you ask yourself these questions, answer them in positive ways, like identifying the truth, how you can make the most of everything, and what you are grateful for.
5. Stop Worrying About What Others Think
Although it’s tempting to spend a lot of time dwelling on what everyone else thinks, in reality, most people have too much going on to think about what you do. One of the worst things about this way of thinking is that it can make you limit yourself, so it is best to avoid it.
6. Stop Making the Problem Bigger Than It Is
The sooner you confront a problem with negativity, the sooner you can keep it from blowing up out of control. Ask yourself important questions:
- Does this situation even matter in the long run?
- Will there be short-term consequences?
- How will I deal with the effects of any consequences?
7. Vent About It and Let It Go
Talk about what is troubling you and let it out. Sometimes the result is having a plan for coping, and sometimes the result is just getting your concerns out in the open.
However, understand that there are times when it becomes unhealthy due to rehashing. You’ll do better getting it out and being done with it.
8. Focus on Your Breathing When Things Get Tough
When your stress level gets hard to manage, take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Shifting your focus to breathing alone will usually help you feel much calmer.
9. Take Some Time to Exercise
A 20 to 30-minute workout can help give your mind a much-needed break. Some examples of helpful exercise include:
- Stretching-related exercises
- Using free weights
- Walking or jogging
10. Face Your Fears
Fear can be overwhelming, and it’s tempting to run from what you fear instead of confronting it. Sometimes, one of the best ways that people get through dealing with fear is considering the worst-case scenario and finding it is less severe than you realized.
11. Stop Mentally Beating Yourself Up
You may find affirmations of little value if you’re beating yourself up for your failures deep down.
Releasing yourself from such thinking by acknowledging your right to feel frustrated or forgiving yourself for mistakes can be vibrating.
12. Don’t Focus on Being Perfect, Just Making Progress
Sometimes, it helps to focus on what you are becoming, instead of focusing on a goal of perfection. Goals and affirmations related to those goals that are achievable make it easier to stay focused.
13. Have Some Dedicated Time for Addressing Stress
Many therapists recommend having time dedicated to addressing your negative thinking so that it is less intrusive.
Spending the allotted time focusing on these thoughts will help keep them from intruding on the rest of the time, you need to devote to everything else.
14. Avoid Negative News Stories When Possible
Watching negative news stories, especially in the morning, will likely negatively impact the rest of your day. Uplifting stories, however, improve things.
15. Throw Away Bad Thoughts and Replace Them with Good Ones
Writing down and then discarding negative thoughts helps you emotionally release these thoughts.
After you’ve tossed out the negative thoughts, take some time to reflect on something positive that did happen.
16. Have a Friend Hold You Accountable
A friend who will be honest with you, no matter what, is one of the best ways to combat negative thoughts. Your friend will know how to help you redirect your thinking to help you think more positively.
17. Replace Negatives With Expressions of Gratitude
Think about what you can be grateful for is an excellent way to overcome negatives in your life. Think of at least one thing you’re thankful for with each negative thought.
18. Find Your Silver Lining During Tough Times
When you’re having negative thoughts, think about the lesson you can learn from the experience, and see if you can find a silver lining. You might find it difficult to see anything positive, but finding your silver lining can help you change your thinking.
19. Give Yourself a Good Talking-To
Sometimes, the best way to stop and replace a negative thought is by giving yourself positive self-talk. Reminding yourself that things will get better will help keep you from getting overwhelmed.
20. Start Keeping a Journal
Writing down any thoughts on your mind makes it easier for you to come up with an action plan. If you can get to the bottom of what makes you think negatively, you’re in a better position to think of what you can do to fix your thinking and circumstances.
21. Reduce Negative Influences
Negative influences can come from people or even media, such as TV and websites. Think about which three forces in your life are the most negative. Cutting these out will help your peace of mind.
Even though we will all cope with negative thoughts at some point, knowing how to turn them around for good makes a huge difference.