How To Stop Negative Thoughts Taking Over Your Life
Negative Thoughts Can Be Very Overpowering
They can get inside your head, wheedle their way into your thinking and become detrimental to your mental health. Negative thoughts suck. You might not even realise how much they dominate your thinking. Or you might be fully aware and want some relief.
I’ve had anxiety and stress for a long time, diagnosed when I was at primary school. Negative thoughts have been a huge part of my mental state. I have also struggled with intrusive thoughts. Therapy helped and I’ve learnt a lot from a few different therapists, and also my own coping techniques.
In today’s post, I want to share with you my tips and techniques on how to deal with negative thoughts. If you are really struggling with this and need further support, please speak to a healthcare professional. Don’t struggle in silence, please speak to someone as they will be able to help you.
1. Practice Repeating Positive Affirmations
To combat negative thoughts, you can practice repeating positive affirmations to yourself.
Positive affirmations are phrases that begin with I am… or I have… and reinforce a positive statement about yourself or your life. By repeating these to yourself often throughout the day, having them written as notes that you see when you go about your day or having them on your phone as reminders, you will begin to drown out the negative thoughts with positive ones.
There are many different positive affirmations out there. I make Pinterest pins out of positive affirmations for saving and keeping close when needed.
Some Positive Affirmations You Can Use + PIN!
These are really helpful, I repeat things like this to myself on a daily basis. The boost they give you is amazing, but not only that. They slowly reprogram your brain to focus on the positives. They train your mindset to be more switched on towards the success and the amazing qualities you already have.
2. Journal Out Those Negative Thoughts
One of the best ways to get negative thoughts out of your head is to write them down in your journal.
Looking at them on a piece of paper can really help you to see the thoughts for what they truly are. You might realise that they’re not completely rational or coming from a place of compassion.
It’s easier to let them fester when they’re inside of your head. You end up ruminating on them and focusing on them.
When you write them down, you’re opening them up. You’re able to see them without any shields your mind might use to make you think they’re real.
Trying it yourself might seem silly at first but it’s definitely worth doing.
You can also write the flip side of the negative comment alongside it, challenging that original thought.
For example, if you write down that you are ugly and unattractive, then you can help destroy that thought by crossing it out and underneath writing, I am beautiful and attractive. By challenging that thought, and repeating the new positive thought, you can help change your mindset.
3. Categorise Your Negative Thoughts
There might be many negative thoughts that you have, and you can’t actually do anything about them. Or you might have some negative thoughts that are caused by things you can actually change.
A good exercise to help reduce your negative thoughts is to go through them and categorise them.
Set up a piece of paper with columns titled –
CAN DEAL WITH //
CAN’T CHANGE //
NOT PERSONAL TO ME.
You can then go through all of the negative thoughts that you have, add to the list if more come to you, and decide how to categorise them.
If you can deal with the situation causing the negative thought, then put it in that category. If you can’t do anything to change the situation and it is what it is, then put them in that category. And if the thought isn’t actually personal to you but just lingers and stays within you, then put it in that category.
Having this segregation can help you reduce the number of negative thoughts you’re actually carrying around with you. If you realise that the thoughts either can’t be changed or don’t directly affect you, then you might be more inclined for your mind to focus on them less.
It also gives you the opportunity to see the ones you can deal with, and then work on actually doing the things!
Stress often comes from putting off things we know we should be dealing with. Get those things sorted, or at the very least start working on them, and feel the positive benefits of reducing things off the list and out of your head.
4. Look After Yourself Physically + Mentally
Making sure that you take care of yourself both physically and mentally will be instrumental in avoiding negative thoughts. You want to be getting enough sleep, eating good food, showering and doing your self-care for your physical health. It is also good to do your journaling, meditating and taking time to relax, for your mental health.
It is not only vital for your well-being in general, but it also helps reduce negative thoughts.
If you put yourself in the best place physically and mentally, then you’re going to be stronger and more resilient. This will help reduce the negative thoughts and make it easier for you to deal with any that do come up.
5. Practice Meditation To Help Separate From Your Negative Thoughts
I’ve been working on building meditation into my life because the benefits it gives are massive. I’m a very impatient person so struggle with sitting quietly and not getting distracted by I’m trying!
Meditation is great because it helps you to calm the rushing, ruminating thoughts and teaches you to be more of an observer of your thoughts.
Being able to step back and watch your thoughts go through, rather than being affected by them so intensely is a great skill to learn. It will help you to feel less overwhelmed and help to settle your mind when you can’t seem to stop it from going into overdrive!
I’ve really enjoyed practising meditation more – for me, I like to do the guided sessions because I can focus a lot better when someone is talking me through it. I have a bigger sense of achievement because it feels like completing something.
I put it out there on my Instagram stories about good recommendations for guided meditation sessions and got the Calm App and Eric Ho (from YouTube) sent to me so definitely check both of them out if you’re looking for something to follow!
6. Don’t Beat Yourself Up About It
At the end of the day, we all have negative thoughts.
There’s no harm in having some negative thoughts. Everything can’t be sunshine and rainbows all of the time!
It’s important to remember that you’re not a bad person, neither are you failing, if you are unable to completely eradicate negative thoughts from your life.
We cannot have good without the bad. We cannot have light without the dark. There is always the other side of the coin, and it’s okay to recognise that.
Try to keep yourself balanced and allow things to just be sometimes. Don’t feel pressure to become a perfectly positive person, because that just doesn’t exist.
I hope you’ve found this post helpful, and feel a little bit reassured, especially if you struggle with negative thoughts quite badly. There are things that you can do and things to try to help relieve these a little.
Again, if you are struggling, then please do speak to your doctor or a therapist, as they will be able to help you. Even if it’s just someone to talk to and give you some coping techniques. Remember that you’re not alone, and things will get easier.
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