We all have negative experiences that happen in our lives and sometimes they leave a lasting effect causing us to suffer negative thinking routinely.
When something bad happens we can be consumed by it and it begins to take over our everyday life.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how many good things happen after a negative, it feels impossible to stop your mind from remembering the negative. All the little things add up.
How many times have you had one bad experience that just absolutely ruins your day?
And then it ruins your week.
Next thing you know it ruined the next week or the next time you were faced with a similar situation.
Before long the weeks turn to months and the months into years.
Before long you have had “the worst year of my life”
How many times have you found yourself saying “this is the worst year of yet”?
How many times have you heard others say “I wish this year was over, this is the worst year ever!”?
Especially in 2020, this is something I hear and read constantly on social media.
There is no good that could possibly be found when the focus is all on the negative.
It is just too hard for our minds to stop and say see the good, see the positive and stop the negative thinking.
UNLESS you train your mindset to find the positive and banish the negative thinking!
Why Our Brains Focus On Negative Thinking
I just want to quickly cover the why of negative thinking because I believe if someone can understand the process, they are much more likely to be able to change the outcome.
When something bad happens to us a lot of emotions occur.
You may experience fear, embarrassment, anger, sadness or pain.
These are all feelings that have an impact on our fight or flight senses.
Our mind registers this as a harmful event it needs to protect us from so we don’t feel these uncomfortable feelings again.
Feelings are powerful!
When something good happens our serotonin (the feel-good hormone) rises and we get a burst of joy and happiness. Our levels may not stay high with the constant reinforcements of this happy feeling.
Therefore the positive feel-good moment does not last long and is easily eliminated by the negative moments.
Some people will even go as far to say that every time something good happens to them something bad happens as a result.
Negative thinking enforces protection mode, we are surrounded by negative thinking and this, in turn, supports our fixed mindset to redirect focus.
Over time it becomes a part of your everyday life and before you know it, it is all you can focus on.
How to beat negative thinking
I have put together 5 ways to beat negative thinking to help get you started right now.
If you are ready to take it a step further be sure to check out my Etsy shop for some very valuable tools on finding happiness, and eliminating limiting beliefs that hold us down!
#1 Admit you’ve got a (negative) thinking problem.
Sounds like a negative thing to say, hey?
Well, we can not fix something if we do not know what we are looking for or if we do not understand the severity of the problem.
Remember everything is fixable if you know where to start!
It can be downright impossible to do self-reflection on this topic because we often don’t pay attention to our own words or body language.
One helpful way to assess your negative thinking is to create a chart with two sides.
On one side of the chart, write down all the positive thoughts that you had throughout the day.
All of the thoughts that made you feel joyous, confident, clear, purposeful, productive etc.
On the other side of the chart, write down all your negative thoughts.
The thoughts that made you procrastinate, not speak up, not take action, criticize yourself etc.
You will be shocked by how much negativity the average person has floating around in their head.
Once you see these on paper they will better help you with step #2 and being mindful of what you speak.
#2 Change the voices in your head.
No, you are not crazy, we all have voices in our head and we all need to be aware of them so that we can stop them in their tracks and change the negative thinking.
I want you to become super aware of the words you use.
Do you say any of these negative thoughts to yourself?
- I can’t do this.
- I’m so stupid.
- This is so hard.
- It is too much to do.
- I don’t know where to start.
or do you use words like
The lists of negative things we say in our minds can go on and on. When we are not watching for this negative thinking it is easy to let it continue and grow into something. These are limiting beliefs!
My Empowering Beliefs Workbook, Journal & Guide
Eliminate self-doubt and limiting beliefs with My Empowering Beliefs Workbook, Journal & Guide. Change your beliefs from negative to positive empowering beliefs.
We need to keep focused and learn to speak a more positive language to ourselves.
Be Aware of these negative words when you hear them, stop and think of how you could change it to something positive.
- I can do this.
- I might need some help.
- I need to break this down and get started.
- It is not a failure if I keep trying.
- I am enough!
#3 Get the negative thoughts out of your head.
A simple method to release negative thinking is to talk about it!
Whether it be your best friend, a family member or a professional talking about the negativity that is consuming you is a key step to eliminating negative thinking.
Sometimes our negative thoughts can be difficult to share with others so another useful tool to get the thoughts out of your head is to journal about them.
Vent in a healthy way!
When we talk about negative situations we need to ensure we do it in a healthy, positive manner.
We need to focus on the part that we can control not the things we can not control. Learn how to vent in a healthy way here.
#4 Discover your positive thinking.
In #2 we discussed making a list of negative thinking and positive thinking.
You may have struggled to embrace the positive. Now it is time to discover positive thinking and practice gratitude.
It may help to think about all the things we often take for granted, the simplest things we might not even notice that we are grateful for.
- I’m grateful for the roof over my head
- I’m grateful for the food I have to eat.
- I’m grateful for the air I breathe.
- I’m grateful for my family.
- I’m grateful for the solitude.
Once we are able to start noticing these simple positive thoughts it becomes easier to notice other gratitudes we may have overlooked.
- I’m grateful for my ability to learn new things.
- I’m grateful for my (insert skill).
- I’m grateful for my (insert personality trait)
Once you start listing the positives you will gain momentum.
Once you have built up your positive thinking, you can start to break down the negative thoughts by replacing them with thoughts of gratitude.
Every time you hear yourself say something negative, stop and replace it with one of these positive thoughts or words.
#5 Reduce negative thoughts with exercise.
You know that feeling you get when you are overwhelmed, burnt out and stressed beyond your ability to control? The feeling of wanting to run away?
Do it! Take action, if you do not regularly exercise then going for a run might be a bit out of your league just now. But go for a walk allow yourself to burn off some steam by getting it out of your system.
The fight or flight response we have in these situations is a natural occurrence that our body is conditioned to use.
So give it what it wants. Fight or flight!
Get your heart pumping, get your serotonin up and feel the release of the pent-up energy. See our full list of self-care ideas including exercise and take a peek at our relaxation methods too!
Don’t fight your body’s natural instinct, instead, tune into it and allow yourself to satisfy this humanistic need.
- Dance like nobody is watching
- Go for a fast-paced walk
- Skip rope with the kids
- Hit the gym
- Go for a swim
5 ways to stop negative thinking in a nutshell
Let’s recap, shall we?
- Admit you’ve got a (negative) thinking problem.
- Change the voices in your head.
- Get the negative thoughts out of your head.
- Discover your positive thinking.
- Reduce negative thoughts with exercise.
Which of these methods do you think would work best for you?
Which of these negative thinking hacks do you already use?
Which of these would you like to learn more about?
If you are looking for more info on this topic and want to take a deeper look into calming your mindset you may find the following articles helpful.
- How To Be Patient: Building Calm Composure
- Creating A Calm Mindset
- Take A Mind-Cation
- Surviving The COVID 19 Mental Health Crisis
- How To Stop Overthinking Everything
- Stop Worrying About These 4 Things!
- Changing A Bad Experience To An Empowering One
Drop a comment below and let me know what your favourite method for eliminating negative thinking is!
Take action and implement one of these into your life right now and start working towards a more powerful positive mindset!
Love Your Guts! Take care & Chat soon,