Negative Thinking: Be More Aware
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When your mood is down, it can become a vicious cycle with negative thoughts that compound upon the ones that you are already experiencing and laying the groundwork for even more depressive thoughts. This further harms your low mood and makes everything worse. Chronic negative thinking can prevent you from overcoming your depressive periods, which can have a major negative impact on your life, so it is important that you understand this so that you are able to better evaluate your feelings and thoughts and gain control. Once you have control of your negative thoughts, you are able to change your mind, and in turn, your life.
Achieve Awareness of Your Thoughts
Before you can fight back against negative thoughts, you have to acknowledge that you are having them. This is not only the first step, but it is often the most difficult step because it involves looking deep within yourself and taking responsibility for the things in your life that you are not happy with. The easiest way to become aware of your thoughts is to understand where they stem from. Your core moral attitudes and beliefs play the largest role in what and how you think. This can be difficult because it may require you to question your core beliefs to determine if they are beneficial to you.
Next, you want to look at your life experiences and determine how they may be influencing your thoughts. For example, if you have a job that does not have growth potential, you may feel stuck, which could fuel your negative thoughts.
There is also the factor of mental illness and those with disorders like bipolar disorder or depression do not have control over what they think, allowing them to continue to spiral. In the case of mental illness, you often need help to get your positive thinking back on track because this involves getting your disorder under control, which is difficult to do without the right tools and resources.
Explore Negative Thought Patterns
All negative thoughts have power over you at first, and some are far more powerful than others. It is important to take some time to evaluate your thoughts and identify those that are most affecting your life. You may feel like you are a victim of your own life and that other people do not have your best interests in mind, which is a very powerfu negative thought because it prevents you from being able to take personal responsibility for your actions and life.
Another common very negative thought is that you are just prone to bad luck and there is nothing that you can do to change your circumstances. When you give into this type of thinking, you simply let things happen and do not take the initiative necessary to make positive changes in your life. This can lead to a sense of despair and depression that leaves you feeling that there is no way to get ahead or and take charge of your life.
You Focus on "What If"
Many people with negative thinking patterns often resort to "what if" thinking to try and find a reason for the negative parts of their lives. You may think something like "what if I skipped vacation last year" if you are having money troubles or "what if I went to college" if you are not having luck in the job market. These thoughts prevent you from finding solutions to the problems in your life and they feed into other negative thoughts. It is important to leave this mentality behind because you want to be a problem solver and not a problem creator.
Once you identify the root causes of your negative thoughts, you can begin to regain control and replace negative thoughts with ones that are positive and productive. This type of control is very rejuvenating and it gives you a burst of motivation to make the right changes to your thinking patterns and your life. The key is to simply start doing the opposite of what you have always done. For example, instead of sticking to your guns about a specific belief, consider an alternative perspective and how it can change your thinking for the better.
Once you are aware of the thoughts that you are repeating to yourself, you will have power over them. This power gives you the strength and motivation to fight back so that you can take your negative and depressive thoughts and turn them into something positive. Positive thoughts help you in all aspects of your life such as improving your health by reducing the risk of stress and depression, improve your personal relationships, better your job performance and help you to feel happier and more fulfilled.
- Rosemary Kitchen
Krull, E. (2010). Becoming Aware of Your Depressive Thoughts. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 21, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/becoming-aware-of-your-depressive-thoughts/0003759
Krull, E. (2010). Replacing Your Negative Thoughts. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 21, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/replacing-your-negative-thoughts/0003762
Marano, H. E. (2001). Depression Doing the Thinking. Psychology Today. Retrieved January 21, 2015 from http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200308/depression-doing-the-thinking