Many people struggle with negative thoughts and negative patterns of thinking. The power of these thoughts can seem overwhelming, because one though leads to another, which leads to another, and it quickly snowballs, and it often ends up making us feel anxious or depressed. It’s easy to see why this happens – scientists think that our minds are slightly biased towards negativity as a survival instinct. But the good news is that we can easily overcome these patterns, and replace our negative thoughts with positive ones, and feel happy every day. Here’s how:
Speak your thoughts
Sometimes our negative thoughts are simply our emotions bottled up inside us and left to fester and grow. When we are able to talk about these feelings with someone else, it can be a huge relief. Getting your feelings out is what makes counseling and therapy so effective for some people, because if we talk about our negative thoughts and feelings, it’s like setting them free.
Talk to someone you trust, and explain the way you feel and what you’re thinking about it, even it sounds silly. They may be able to offer advice to help you, or they may just be someone willing to listen. But once you’re able to release the thoughts, you can move on to feeling like yourself again.
Negative thoughts move fast, spinning around our heads and jumping from one to the next like a pinball. It can be hard to control these thoughts when they’re moving quickly, and this causes a lot of stress, both physical and mental. We need to slow down our breathing to bring our body and mind back down from its heightened state of arousal.
It’s really very simple. Instead of trying to take deep breaths, just focus on your breathing. Pay attention to each inhale and exhale. This is part of mindful meditation, and it’s an effective way to calm your mind and eliminate the negative thoughts. Some people even suggest thinking of each exhale as releasing the negativity from your body and mind.
Separate from your thoughts
We tend to feel intimately connected with our thoughts, but the odd truth is that we don’t have to be. With practice, we can actually separate from our negative thoughts, and start to see them for what they are: just thoughts.
The way to do this is to mentally step away from your thoughts and “watch” them pass by. One way to do this is to imagine that your thoughts are projected upon a screen and you’re watching them like a movie, flickering past. A thought appears on the screen, and then it’s gone and another comes, and another comes, and soon your negative thoughts don’t seem so important anymore and you can feel free and in control of your mind once again. It doesn’t have to be a screen, it could be perhaps a stream of water, or really anything you choose. The point is to separate from the thoughts, see them for what they are, and try to just watch them pass through until they’re gone.
Hopefully these strategies will be helpful in eliminating negative thoughts. There are many other helpful tips out there, so find what works best for you, try more than one, and begin making a habit out of thinking and feeling positive.
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