10 Steps To Stop Negative Thinking
Negative thinking can hinder your performance, destroy self-confidence, harm personal relationships an increase the risk for depression. Those who have negative thinking often think things like "I will never succeed" or "why me?" This results in someone not having the motivation to make positive changes in their lives that will fix the negative issues that are occurring. If you have negative thoughts, you can take the steps to change this and improve your outlook on life.
1. Refocus Your Focus
Activities like yoga and meditation allow you to center yourself and focus on the present. Both of these ease your mind so that you are not thinking about bad things that could potentially happen. When you are focusing on the moment, it prevents your thoughts from shifting to the negative.
2. Be Around Positive People
Positive energy is infectious and when you are around people who are positive, and this boosts your own positivity. You will see things from a more positive perspective and get feedback that is positive and constructive. It's great when there is no negativity around you to feed the negative thinking you are trying to resolve.
3. Simply Smile
Smiling boosts the release of endorphins in your body, a chemical that promotes a positive mood and happiness. This also alleviates stress and allows you to take a second to consider the negative thoughts you are having. When you confront your negative thoughts, it is more difficult for them to fester.
4. Change Your Thought Tone
This sounds very difficult, but it's not. Instead of thinking something like "it is going to be very difficult to adjust to a new job," think "this new job will present new challenges that will expand my abilities." Both thoughts are the same, but the second thought is positive and gives you something positive to look forward to.
5. Do Not Play the Victim
The victim mentality is a common trend among those who are chronic negative thinkers. When you play the victim, you essentially throw your hands in the air and give up trying to find viable solutions to your problems. You must take charge of your thoughts and start working toward creating solutions to your problems instead of just living with them.
6. Allow Yourself to Move Forward
There are things that you cannot change and when these things happen, it is important that you recognize this and move on. For example, if you plan to get a lot of work done on Thursday, but do not reach this goal, take the evening to relax and resolve to make Friday more productive, Dwelling on what you did not get done on one day will prevent you from being productive the next day.
7. Lend a Hand
Helping someone else is a way to increase your positivity because it takes your mind off of the challenges you are facing in your life. This can be something simple like taking a friend out for coffee, or you can spend more time helping others by volunteering at a homeless shelter or a nursing home.
8. Remind Yourself about What You Are Grateful For
Even when life throws a few curveballs, you still have positive things in your life that you can turn to for comfort and positivity. When your thoughts turn to the negative, reverse this by taking a few minutes to write down what you are thankful for. This can be anything, such as looking forward to your favorite show's new episode, your friends and family, the nice weather or even buying yourself something that makes you happy. The key here is to focus on the good things in life so that they can outshine the negative.
9. Send Negative Thoughts Away
When you are having negative thoughts, physically remove them from your mind. Things like writing your negative thoughts on a balloon and then releasing it or writing down your thoughts on paper and then burning it are two options. When you do this, you pull the negative thoughts from your mind, bring them into the real world, confront them and then allow them to go away. This is effective because it forces you to confront negative thoughts so that you can identify them and then push them out of your life.
10. Question Your Thoughts
The mind is very complex and a single thought can spiral out of control if you continue to feed it. When you are having negative thoughts, as yourself the following questions:
a) Is it important?
b) Is it true?
c) Is it helpful?
When you are having negative thoughts, the answer to all three questions will be a solid "no." This method gives you the chance to separate your thoughts so that you are able to quickly identify and move past those that are negative.
Use these steps to make changes to the way you think and view life. Once you overcome negative thinking, you will find that you are more productive, have healthier relationships and have a higher quality of life. Changing your way of thinking does not happen overnight, but it is a journey that allows you to rediscover your potential and the good things that are already in your life.
- Rosemary K.
Burkeman, O. (2012). How to Harness the Positive Power of Negative Thinking. Retrieved January 19, 2015 from http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_harness_the_power_of_negative_thinking
Grabmeier, J. (2012). Bothered by Negative, Unwanted Thoughts? Just Throw Them Away. Retrieved January 19, 2015 from http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/matthoughts.htm
Lilienfeld, S.O. & Arkowitz, H. (2011). Can Positive Thinking Be Negative? Retrieved January 19, 2015 from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-positive-thinking-be-negative/
University of New South Wales. (2006, June 23). Brain Function And Negative Thinking Linked To Late-onset Depression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 19, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060623100203.htm
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