How To Stop Negative Thinking & Depression
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Have you ever over reacted to a situation? Have you always felt that if you make a mistake than you will always make another mistake? Or, have you ever had thought that you were a failure? These are signs of negative thinking. Many professionals believe that negative thinking is the root of depression. Everyone has negative thoughts. It is natural to feel sad or “down and out” about an event in your life. But, it becomes a problem when you have prolonged negative thoughts.
What is Negative Thinking?
Negative thinking, also known as pessimism, is the tendency to see, anticipate, or emphasize only the potentially bad outcomes, results, conditions, and problems of one's experience. If you have ever experienced prolonged negative thinking, it is a sign that you have a symptom of depression. The best way to tackle is negative thinking is to recognize that you have a problem. I know that this statement may sound cliché. However, recognizing that you have a problem in any illness, situation, or a specific issue is the most important first step. It also lets you know that you are ready to take the first steps to recovery.
Types of Negative Thinking
Researchers have identified several types of negative thinking. In Chris Woolston’s article, Overcoming Negative Thinking, he identifies and gives a detailed explanation of the types of negative thinking. The four most common types of negative thinking are list below.
1. All-or-nothing: The simplest way to explain this type of negative thinking is when you believe that everything is in black or white. You don’t see an alternative solution for any situation, and you strive for an unhealthy level of perfection.
2. Diminishing the Positives: This type of negative thought occurs when you look for the negative in everything, even when things are going extremely well. People who primarily think this may always discredit any type of praise or reward from their employer and/or peers. In other words, they will always have something negative to say and can’t accept a compliment.
3. Labeling and mislabeling: This is a type of negative thinking occurs when you need to equate yourself with what you do.
4. Overgeneralization: Overgeneralization is when you believe if something happens once than it will always happen again.
The other six types of negative thinking are personalization, the mental filter, jumping to conclusions, the binocular trick, emotional reasoning, and ‘should’ and ‘must’ thoughts. For more information about the negative types and other topic’s click the link, Overcoming Negative Thinking.
Stop Negative Thinking (How To)
1. Keep a journal. Writing down your thoughts is a great way to reflect on your feelings about negative situations. Start by writing down all the things that went wrong that day and develop alternative solutions to how to react to the same situation.
2. Build your self-esteem. Negative thinking is a side effect of low self-esteem. Start writing down all the negative things that you feel about yourself and write the opposite word or sentence next to it. Instead of I am ugly, write I am pretty.
3. Socialize with positive people. Always remember that misery loves company. Surrounding yourself around positive people can help you to overcome negative thinking. You will start to see how other people handle negative situations in a more healthy and adaptive way, which will naturally re-condition you to function more positively.
4. Start Reading. Read books on positive thinking and dealing with stressful situations. Amazon.com is great way to find good books at the best price.
Negative thinking affects individuals differently. Before you start reacting negatively about any situation ask yourself some of the following questions: Am I jumping to conclusions? Am I taking the situation personally? You can use the following link, 20 questions to challenge your negative thoughts, as a guide to help improve your positive thinking skills. More importantly, learn to let it go. Some situations are not as bad as you think. Take these steps, and you will have begun to shift your thinking into a more positive way of experiencing the world - You just might feel a little better after a while!
- Heather Browning, MBA, BA
Glasgow SPCMH. 20 questions to challenge your negative thoughts. Retrieved January 12, 2015. Dictionary.com. Pessimism. Retrieved January 12, 2015. Woolston, C. (2014, March 11). Overcoming Negative Thinking. Retrieved January 12, 2015.