While casual and mild negative thoughts are part of being human, thinking negative all the time can be extremely problematic. This includes feeling hopeless and miserable. When you allow negative thoughts to prevail, they can gradually take their toll on your mind and body.
When you are in a loop of negative thoughts, you feel like you’re on a hamster wheel, spinning and getting nowhere. Fear gives you the sense that you’re just waiting for something bad to happen. You feel like there’s no point in trying because you’ll never succeed. You’re so caught up in your negative thinking that you can’t enjoy life.
One thing is sure, you can’t continue living with your negative thoughts, thoughts that are fake, and unreal. So, how to overcome negative thinking? How to be happy every day? Well, no matter how negative your thoughts have become, you can completely overcome them, erase them completely, and step into the positive realm.
At ListPink, we have compiled a list of 20 things that you can do to get rid of negative thoughts for good. Please keep in mind that some of the things on the list require practice and consistency.
1. Write Down Your Thoughts on a Paper
When negative thoughts just keep coming back, one of the best things you can do is to write it down. This is an old trick that has been used by many successful people. Writing down your negative thoughts is one of the best ways to overcome them.
When you write down your thoughts, you are able to clearly see what you are thinking. This process allows you to be objective about your thoughts, which is much more helpful than letting them roll around in your head.
What’s the best way to write down your thoughts? Try to write down exactly what you are thinking, without judging it. This way, you will be able to see your thoughts with your own eyes.
1. Kill Negative Thoughts With Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a real negative thought killer. It is a mental state in which a person is fully alert to the present moment. In other words, mindfulness is about being aware of what is happening in the present moment. It is a deliberate process of awareness, observation, and acceptance.
Can you imagine how powerful mindfulness is? Mindfulness allows you to observe your negative thoughts without judging them. When you are mindful, you become aware of what is happening, instead of just reacting to it. In mindfulness, you are just an observer – not a judge.
While there are more practical and better ways to practice mindfulness including yoga, you can do a simple mindfulness exercise as follows:
Focus on your breathing. Breathe in and out slowly. Notice the air move in and out of your nostrils. You can use a meditation app to help you with this. When you notice that your mind has wandered, gently bring your attention back to your breathing. It is simple, isn’t it?
3. Stop Watching The Morning News
If you want to keep your negative thoughts in check, stop listening to the news. The news media has a tendency to make everything look bad. If you listen to the news, you will have a tendency to interpret everything in a negative way. The news is not your friend, and you should avoid it as much as possible. If you must listen to the news, listen to it at the right time and with a critical mind.
A study published in Science Daily showed that following a stressful event, those who watch a lot of negative news are more likely to feel pessimistic about the future and to have a lower self-esteem than their peers.
A daily dose of pessimism can take a toll on your mental health. It can cause you to lose hope and to give up on the good things in life.
4. Stay Away From Negative Company
Your friends and family members may be a major source of negative thinking. If you have negative people in your life, they will bring you down. They will encourage you to think in a negative manner and start complaining.
In order to stay away from negative people, you can choose to be with positive people. You can also spend time with yourself. You can read a good book or do something that you enjoy.
A study conducted by Psychology Today shows that if you spend time with positive people, you can drastically improve your mood and reduce negative thinking.
2. Talk to a Well-Wisher
When you feel negative and down, you can talk to someone who cares for you. Well-wishers can be any of your friends, family members, or relatives. They will understand you, and you can share your feelings with them. It doesn’t matter if you talk to them for a few minutes or hours.
All that matters is that you feel loved and cared for. The importance of talking to someone when you feel negative thinking cannot be overstated.
5. Do Something That You Enjoy
Doing something that you enjoy is the best way to overcome negative thinking. You can try different things that will help you feel better. You can do meditation, yoga, read a good book or watch funny movies.
A study conducted by the University of California gives us the results of a study in which they found that people reduce their negative thinking almost instantly by doing what they loved doing.
6. Exercise Can Forcefully Stop Negative Thinking
Exercise is a very effective way of reducing negative thinking. It is a scientific fact that exercise can improve your mood.
A study shows that even one session of a simple 20-minute walk can make you feel better. You can easily do some push-ups, squats, and crunches at home. Just 20 minutes of exercise can help you break the cycle of negative thinking.
What exercise actually does is, it stimulates the production of serotonin and endorphins. These are the chemicals that are responsible for making you feel happy about yourself and your surrounding.
You don’t need sweat buckets in the gym to feel happy. You can start with a simple 20-minute walk. It has been proven that even a simple 20-minute walk can be as effective as antidepressants.
Regular exercising is a great part of self-development strategies. The important thing when it comes to exercise is that you need to stick to a routine and never give up.
7. Brainstorm Solutions to Problems
In a negative thought loop, you could probably think of at least 10 reasons why something won’t work out. This can be frustrating because when you try to solve problems, you don’t know where to start. When you have nothing else to hold onto, you start to feel depressed.
What could you do then? Well, try to list out all the reasons why you are thinking negatively. Then, start looking for at least 10 reasons why it is possible to make things work. This way, you can have a positive thought in the back of your mind to push you forward.
8. Figure Out and Replace, ABCDE Thinking
This method is called ABCDE Thinking. When you feel overwhelmed by your negative thoughts, what do you do? You try to escape from them by focusing on something else. Well, that’s not going to work. Instead, applying the ABCDE method may give out results.
First, identify your negative thoughts. Then, think about the negative consequences of those thoughts. Next, think about the constructive ways to deal with those consequences. Then, consider the positive consequences of your thoughts. Finally, develop a new thought about the situation.
The purpose of ABCDE thinking is to challenge the irrational thoughts that you have. The ABCDE method is all about challenging your thoughts and beliefs. Unlike Socratic questioning, ABCDE thinking allows you to challenge your thoughts and come up with new insights. It’s all about using rational thinking to create more rational thinking.
10. Take A Break
Sometimes a break is all you need to get rid of negative thoughts. When you are feeling tired, stressed, and overwhelmed, it is very easy to develop negative thoughts. You can take a short break. You can have a cup of coffee or go for a short walk.
In fact, research shows that taking a break is even more effective as a negative thought killer than doing something else.
11. Think Of A Positive Memory
When you are feeling down, you can try a simple technique that can change your mood in a matter of a few seconds.
Try to think of a positive memory that you have. It can be a happy memory from the past, or a memory of a happy event that is about to happen. It could be a memory of a happy event that will happen in the future.
12. Think Of Something That You Are Grateful For
When you are feeling down, you can try a gratitude exercise. It is a very simple exercise. You can think of five things that you are grateful for. It can be something that you are grateful for in your life or a person that you are grateful for.
You can think of your health, your family, and your friends.
13. Listen to A Motivational Speaker
If you are feeling down and negative about yourself, you can watch a motivational speech. It can help you get out of your negative mindset.
Motivational speeches are very helpful if you want to change your mindset. Such speeches help you focus on the positive side of life. They make you feel good about yourself. They help you realize your potential and your ability.
You can watch a motivational speech on YouTube or you can go to a local library and watch it in person. This Tedx speech by Scott Geller about the psychology of self-motivation is already watched over 10 million times.
Alternatively, you can choose from these 40 great books for motivation and self-development by inspirational authors and set a goal to finish the book in a week.
14. Overcome Negative Thinking: Smile
Smiling and laughing are two very powerful tools to overcome negative thinking. You will find it very difficult to think negatively when you are smiling and laughing. In fact, smiling is the quickest way to lift your mood.
According to research, smiling can change your mood for about twenty minutes. It is a free and very powerful anti-depressant. So, if you are feeling down, just smile. Smile for as long as you can.
15. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Comparison can be toxic to your mental health. If you are comparing yourself with others, there will always be someone who is doing better than you.
It is highly recommended that you stop comparing yourself with others. It’s not healthy either for you or for the person with whom you are comparing yourself.
A study by the University of Michigan shows that people who are constantly comparing themselves with others tend to have higher levels of anxiety and depression.
16. Don’t Hold Grudges, Forgive Instead
Holding grudges is a big no-no. It can ruin your relationships and your health. Forgiving someone is not the same as forgetting.
Forgiving someone means you are not going to hold any grudge against that person. You are going to give him another chance to prove himself. You are going to let go of all the negative emotions that you were feeling towards them.
Holding a grudge will only make your situation worse. It will make you feel angry and frustrated.
17. Seek Professional Help
It is understandable that sometimes the negative thoughts are so strong that no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get out of them. This is the time when you need professional help.
A professional can better understand your situation and use his deep experience to provide the needed support. When looking for a doctor, or a psychologist, don’t forget to check their profiles and client reviews beforehand.
That’s all for this article. What else do you think one should do to overcome negative thinking? How about your personal experience with such thoughts? We would love to hear from you.