Negative thoughts can be overwhelming, at times even feeling as if the thoughts are out of your influence. If you find that negative thoughts are affecting your quality of life, there are changes that you can make to ease your mindset. These include a number of exercises and new habits that will make it a little easier to look on the bright side of things. Below are 6 steps for how to overcome negative thoughts.
How To Overcome Negative Thoughts
Target The Source
When you find yourself thinking negatively, take a moment to actually listen to yourself and recognize what the thoughts are. Are they rational thoughts? Often times, we find ourselves automatically thinking things that don’t make sense and we take no time to decide if these thoughts are the truth. Take time throughout the day to actively and positively correct these thoughts.
Throw Your Thoughts Away
Try writing your thoughts down, then throwing them away! One study experimented by having people write down their negative thoughts on paper or type them on a computer file and save it. Then, half of the participants threw the paper away or dragged the file to the recycle bin. The rest kept their thoughts intact. The researchers found that those who threw their thoughts away or deleted them were less affected by those thoughts and felt better about themselves. Try out this exercise yourself to clear your mind of negative thoughts.
Analyze Your Surroundings
Negative thinking is contagious! Take a look around. Who do you spend most of your time with? If you realize that they tend to be pessimistic, consider finding some new friends. It has been found that if you spend time with a pessimistic person, you’re likely to end up thinking that way yourself! However, surrounding yourself with positive, optimistic people can have the opposite effect – so aim for a cheerful crowd.
Fake It Till You Make It
Pretend to be an optimist for a day (or a lifetime). The theory is that if you act like an optimist externally, the negative thoughts will soon disappear internally. So what do optimists do? They speak about their blessings (instead of set-backs), they smile, they put a positive spin on things, and much more. See this list for a good idea of what optimism is about. You might just fake it so long that you forget it’s an act.
It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of your day-to-day life and forget how fortunate you truly are. Even though the roof of your house might leak, be grateful that you have a place live. Appreciating what you have can do a lot to change your mental status. Try writing down 5 things that you’re thankful to have write now. If this exercise is helpful to you, do it every day. Start a journal of everything you’re thankful for and turn negatives into positives.
Getting And Staying Positive
The first step to anything is to recognize that you have a problem and commit to making a change. If you’ve done this, you’re already on the right track. Begin with the above exercises and work towards achieving positivity in your life. It’s not necessarily an easy task, but it will be worth your time.
Chelsea Lord is a writer by career who continually pursues personal growth. In her personal time she enjoys yoga, meditation, and long reflective walks.