In today’s article, you will learn how to overcome negative thoughts and embrace positive thinking.
Negative thoughts are perceptions, expectations, and attributions about oneself, others, or the world in general that are associated with unpleasant emotions and negative behavioral, physiological, and health outcomes.
It all starts with a single concept or feeling. Or perhaps with a sentence said by someone else.
Then it begins to draw you down.
Feeling sorry for yourself, being concerned, or wondering, “What’s the sense of taking any action at all?” ” as you go around in a depression, your personal rain cloud above your head.
Negativity that builds up within you or in the world around you can quickly become toxic and prevent you from living the life you desire.
So, in this week’s post, I’d like to share 12 tips and habits that have helped me – and continue to help me – prevent and overcome both my own negative thoughts and the negativity that sometimes surrounds me.
How to Overcome Negative Thoughts
1. When you’re in what appears to be a bad circumstance, look for the good.
If you’ve had a setback, stumbled, or failed, things may appear bleak, and negative thoughts may begin to surface, threatening to dominate your perception of the situation.
To offset this, ask yourself more probing questions.
Questions that will make you feel better while also allowing you to learn and grow.
Questions such as:
- What is one positive aspect of this situation?
- What is one thing I can do differently the next time to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome?
- What is one thing I can take away from this?
In this case, how would my best buddy encourage and assist me?
2. Reminder: what you say or do isn’t that important to most people.
It’s easy to get caught up in negative thoughts when you consider what other people could say or think if you do or don’t do something.
As a result, you deplete your personal power and risk becoming paralyzed by analytical paralysis.
Getting locked in your head and having such thoughts will lead you further away from what you want and reality.
Because the truth is that most people don’t have the time, attention, or energy to think about or discuss what you do.
They are preoccupied with their children, work, pets, hobbies, and their own fears and concerns (like for example what people may think of them).
This awareness and reminder might help you free yourself from the limits you may have created in your head and begin taking tiny – or larger – steps toward what you truly desire in your life.
3. Put the idea to the test.
When a bad concept taps me on the shoulder and tries to grow in my head, one thing I prefer to do is simply question that thought.
I think to myself:
- Do you think I should take you seriously?
This usually prompts me to respond, “Well, no, I really shouldn’t.”
Because I was exhausted at the time. Or famished. Or I may be overworked, in which case negativity may try to cloud my judgment.
Or I’m becoming overly concentrated on a minor blunder or a terrible day. Instead of focusing on the other 95 percent of my life, which is generally great.
This question sometimes helps me recognize that just because I did one minor item incorrectly does not imply that I performed poorly overall.
Or that this one unfavorable event does not imply that things will deteriorate and remain so for an extended period of time. Not if I choose to be optimistic and take modest strides ahead.
Essentially, this inquiry serves as a reality check and brings me back to a level-headed perspective.
How to Get Rid of Negative Thoughts
4. Replace the negative in your environment.
What you allow into your head in your daily life will have a significant impact on you. So begin to scrutinize what you allow in.
Consider the following:
- What are the three most significant sources of negativity in my life?
- People, websites, periodicals, podcasts, music, and so forth are all possibilities.
Then consider the following:
- What can I do this week to spend less time with these three sources?
If you can’t find ways to achieve that right now for all three, take a smaller step and focus on just one of these sources.
Then, using the time you’ve gained this week, focus on more positive sources and individuals who are currently in your life or whom you want to discover and possibly become a new part of.
5. Stop trying to make mountains out of molehills.
To prevent a minor bad idea from growing into a large monster in your mind, face it as soon as possible. You can accomplish this by, for example, following Tip #3 in this article.
You can also zoom out. Do so by asking yourself a question such as:
Will this be relevant in 5 years? Or how about 5 weeks?
In most circumstances, the answer is no, and you were only beginning to construct a mountain out of a molehill (or out of plain air).
6. Let it all out and talk about it.
Keeping negative thoughts that are beginning to cloud your mind at bay will not help.
So, let them go. Discuss the situation or your opinions with a close friend or family member.
Simply ranting for a few minutes will frequently help you see the problem in a different light.
If not, a discussion about it in which the two of you establish a more useful perspective and perhaps the beginning of an action plan can be both relieving and refreshing.
7. Live in and return to this moment.
When you engage in negative thinking, you frequently reflect on something that has occurred. Or anything that may occur. Or both, all jumbled together as your mood and thoughts dwindle.
To get out of it, focus your entire attention on the present moment. Into what is happening right now.
Make it a practice to spend more time in the present moment, and you’ll automatically have fewer negative thoughts and be more open and constructive, in my experience.
There are a few things you may do to bring yourself back to being mindful and in the present moment:
- Concentrate solely on your breathing.
- Take a 1-2 minute stop right now and breathe a little deeper than normal. Check that you’re breathing from your stomach and through your nostrils.
- During this time, concentrate solely on the air flowing in and out.
- Take in your surroundings.
- Take a 1-2 minute pause, get out of your thoughts, and focus on what is in front of you right now. There is nothing else.
Simply concentrate on the people passing by outside your window, the muffled sounds and noises from the street, the fragrances around you, and the sun streaming in and warming your skin.
Get Rid of Negative Thoughts
8. Go for a quick workout.
When I’m having difficulties thinking myself out of pessimism, I find that changing my headspace using my body typically works effectively.
So I go for a 20-30 minute workout with free weights.
This allows me to let go of my inner tension and anxiety. And it brings my thoughts back to a more concentrated and constructive state.
9. Don’t let your nebulous concerns get the best of you.
When it comes to anxieties, one typical error individuals do – and one I’ve made many times – is to become terrified and run away from them instead of taking a closer look.
It’s natural to feel that urge and desire to avoid it, but when worries are imprecise, they can become far worse than they need to be.
So, what are your options? This question has been quite beneficial to me:
What is the worst that may happen in this situation, realistically?
When you start to ground a fear like that and look at it with your feet firmly planted on the ground, you usually realize that the worst that may happen isn’t actually that horrible.
It is frequently something from which you may devise a plan to recover if it occurs.
You can also probably start making a list of and taking action on a few items that will lessen the possibility of this worst-case scenario occurring.
By doing so, you get clarity about the problem and what you can do about it, and the anxiety tends to diminish.
10. Bring joy into the lives of others.
If you find yourself engaged in negative or victim ideas, one of the quickest ways to get out of your own head and the thoughts that are bouncing around inside it is to focus outside and on someone else.
You can help him or her feel better and more positive by contributing positivity to his or her life in some way.
Among the many things you may do to make someone’s life more positive are the following:
- Be considerate. Give him a genuine compliment, hold the door open for him, or allow him to merge into your lane while driving your car.
- Please assist. Give her some good advice that has benefitted you, or assist her with moving or arranging and preparing for the next weekend’s party.
- Simply show up. Listen intently for a few minutes as he vents. Or discuss his terrible position with him to assist him in beginning to find his way out of it.
11. Be thankful for a handful of the things you may take for granted on a regular basis.
When we become negative, it is easy to lose sight of the positive aspects of life. Especially those that are just a typical part of life that we may take for granted far too frequently.
Among the things I like to focus my attention on and be grateful for at such difficult moments are the following:
Three consistent meals per day.
Having a roof over my head during the frigid nights and rainy, windy days.
I can have as much pure water as I want.
Family and friends who are kind and helpful.
12. Begin tomorrow in a way that sets a favorable tone for the rest of the day.
The way you start your day frequently sets the tone for the rest of it.
It is difficult to turn things around after a pessimistic or negative start. However, a happy start makes it much simpler to just keep going with that emotion and optimistic way of thinking until it is time to go to bed again.
Here are a few simple strategies to get your day off on the right foot:
A simple reminder that you see immediately after waking up.
It could be just one or two quotes that inspire you. Or perhaps the aim or dream about which you are most passionate right now.
Make a note of it on a piece of paper and keep it on your bedside table or on the fridge. Alternatively, you can enter it as part of your phone’s lock screen.
Allow some pleasant knowledge or discussion to enter your mind.
Listen to a podcast, read a new blog post, or a chapter in a book that inspires or amuses you.
Alternatively, engage in a lighthearted or upbeat chat with your partner, children, or a coworker.
How to Embrace Positive Thinking
On a daily basis, follow these three steps to energize your mind.
1. Change your focus.
Concentrate more on the positive aspects of your life. Shift your attention away from what you’re attempting to manage (earning a higher-level job title, for example) and toward what’s currently working (having a successful career).
2. Turn off negative thoughts.
When you see the bad train approaching, observe it objectively and even chuckle at it. Whether it’s a sibling feud or a nagging weight issue, notice it, then steer away from it and onto a more positive thought—to halt the train in its tracks.
3. Return to the basics.
Creating a new notion is the most effective technique to transform your thinking. So make it a memorable one.
“The key to happiness – or that even more desired thing, calmness – lies not in always thinking happy thoughts. No. That is impossible. No mind on earth with any kind of intelligence could spend a lifetime enjoying only happy thoughts. They key is in accepting your thoughts, all of them, even the bad ones. Accept thoughts, but don’t become them.
Understand, for instance, that having a sad thought, even having a continual succession of sad thoughts, is not the same as being a sad person.”