How to Deal with Your Negative Thoughts? 5 Easy Ways to Overcome Them
We all have experienced negative/unhelpful/bad thoughts at one point or the other of our lives.
And you know what? You don’t have to feel sad or guilty about the same.
We are humans! We all have our own rough patches. And it’s OKAY for these bad thoughts to occur. BUT! Letting these negative thoughts reoccur every now and then, stay with us, control us, and let them take a toll on us is what is NOT RIGHT!
If you are letting negative thoughts be powerful on your inner strengths then it is time to learn to deal with negative thoughts. Wondering how to deal with negative thoughts? Keep reading to find your answers…
To begin with, let us find what can cause negative thoughts?
Causes of Negative Thoughts:
Firstly, remember we are in charge of our thoughts and the cause of negative thoughts is hidden in our negative thinking. Mainly our negative thoughts can be caused by any of the three thinking patterns:
1. Cynical Hostility
Cynical hostility is marked by viewing other people as perceived sources of threat. As a result of this, people with this thinking pattern start to interpret other’s behavior in an unhealthy manner, coating it with anger and mistrust.
2. Negative Rumination
Negative rumination is more like a hamster running in a wheel. Here we get mentally stuck at one point and keep spinning around it. For example, if you feel anxious about going to a date, you may start building more anxious thoughts like your date won’t turn up, you will say something not-required in front of him/her and we start to run in that wheel of anxiousness. Thus, leading to negative thoughts.
3. Cognitive Distortions
A major source of our negative thinking is our pattern of perceiving reality in a faulty and negative manner. Psychologically, it is a result of cognitive distortions. Cognitive distortions have their roots in our Should statements that lead to the automatic negative thoughts aka ANT. There are 10 types of cognitive distortions that lead to negative thoughts and feelings.
Read More: How To Turn a Bad Day Into a Good Day
Don’t worry, remember we told you that you are in charge of your own thoughts. If you take you will enjoy being able to flip
Mental Note: We have let these negative thoughts build for a long time now give it some time to get eradicated from your life.
Tips to Deal with Negative Thoughts
An important part of dealing with negative thoughts is to first be able to identify them and this can be done by maintaining a thought diary.
1. Maintain a Thought Diary
Thought diary is ideally a part of the cognitive behavioral therapy approach. It works as a tool to identify and understand our negative thought patterns. You can work on your own thought diary. Just divide your diary into three columns and name them:
Situation: Is there any particular situation that gives rise to negative thoughts? Analyze it by considering where you are, with whom you are, or what are you doing.
Mood: Once you track the situation make a note of your mood in that given situation. Felt angry? Write it down! Had a feeling of guilt? Jot it down. Don’t filter them.
Thoughts: Next, write the thoughts that accompanied your emotions. Be honest with yourself and make a note of the same.
With this, you just managed to identify your negative thoughts. Now time to work on these thoughts.
Now let us look at ways to work with the thoughts that we have identified.
2. Be Easy on Yourself
It is ok if you couldn’t go to the gym today! Don’t be the hamster running in the wheel! Similarly, it’s okay if those negative thoughts are coming. Be easy on yourself and get rid of the essentials that you have attached with your life pattern and crush that notion of being a perfectionist. Start by noticing the usage of should in your sentences like- I should stop my negative thoughts or I should finish the project today. Why? Because when these shoulders are not accomplished you start building negative thoughts and keep running in that loop. Just strike should from your thoughts and words, and rephrase them like- I will work on the project today or I will manage my negative thoughts effectively. Didn’t you just feel a release in that unnecessary pressure you were putting on yourself? Now breathe.
3. Challenge your Thoughts
Once you know your thoughts, time to challenge them. Don’t think of it as a process of starting another set of negative questions. Rather, they are those helpful questions that will help you find your way out of unhelpful and negative thoughts. Ask yourself these questions (they are drawn from ACT i.e., acceptance and commitment therapy):
- Is this thought in any way useful or unhelpful?
- Is it true?
- Is this just an old story that my mind is playing out of habit?
- Does this thought help me take effective action?
- Is this thought helpful or is my mind just babbling on?
Once you answer these questions time to create room for new possibilities in life. This can be done by asking certain insightful questions to you:
- What is the truth? My deepest truth?
- How can I make the best of this situation?
- Who would I be without this negative thought?
- What new story or thought can I focus on now?
These questions will help you stay calm and also give you a practical approach to look at your negative thoughts.
4. Mindfulness Meditation
The perfect way to detach yourself from thoughts (whatsoever). Through the practice of mindfulness, you will learn the art of floating past your thoughts instead of hooking to it and let it paint the entire picture for you. It will allow you to be the ultimate master of your thoughts. Mindfulness meditation might sound tricky but honestly, it is as easy as eating your favorite pie. Don’t believe me? Find easy ways to practice mindfulness in your day-to-day life here
5. Sticking by Little Things
Listen to music. Sometimes taking a small break from your thought pattern can help a long way.
Talk to your loved ones.
Sip on your favorite drink or munch on your favorite snack. It will uplift your mood.
Look at things you are grateful for.
Remember: Your life is not an outcome of your negative thoughts rather it is a result of what you do with the ones you have.
Now you know exactly what to do with these negative thoughts so start working on them with the right tools and tips.
Stay positive… more power to you!
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