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How Do I Stop Negative Thoughts? Six Easy Tips
Negative thought patterns plague everyone from time to time. Once they get traction in our minds, it seems as if they will not let up. The cycle of negativity can feed on itself and succeed in blocking a return to positive thinking. If you allow this to go on, it can have a real damaging effect on your everyday life. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to break this cycle of negative thinking and get your attitude turned back around. This article will present you with six quick and easy tips to make the glass look half full once again.
– Different Shades of Gray. People prone to negative thinking patterns often only see life in extremes. Things are great or terrible; black or white. Life is more complex than that, and our thought processes should reflect that complexity. Next time you start to get on a negative track, slow down and analyze the situation logically. Likely, there are some positives and negatives within the situation that you can point out. Taking this more rational approach will help your brain to see that it’s not all bad after all.
– Imagine Both Sides. Some of us get stressed out just by imagining upcoming events and all the ways they can go wrong. Even if you can’t get yourself to stop imagining the negative (which would be ideal), at least spend some time imagining what it would look like if everything went right. You can even talk through imagined dialogue out loud if that helps make the situation more real. You are not capable of predicting the future good or bad – so stop trying. Imagining both outcomes will at least balance out the feelings you are creating inside.
– Don’t Act Like a Mind Reader. You don’t know what other people are thinking. It’s that simple. When you project your guesses as to what other people are thinking onto them, you create negative situations out of thin air. Try to stop looking into other peoples’ minds and creating a narrative for you to play off of. Focus more on yourself and you will find many more positive thoughts at your disposal.
– Put Down the Wide Brush. Negatively thinking people will often use one bad situation to color their whole life as being negative. For example – ‘I didn’t pass my Spanish test, I’m so stupid!’ Failing one test doesn’t make one stupid, just like losing one race doesn’t make a runner slow. If you are prone to this manner of thinking, try to stop making generalizing statements altogether. You will feel much more optimistic when you understand that negative events can remain in their specific place, and don’t need to be applied to life in general.
– Take Credit When It’s Due. Just like negative events shouldn’t be applied to your whole life, positive events shouldn’t be minimized. For example – ‘I got an A on my Spanish test, that was lucky!’ It wasn’t lucky; you got an A because you did a good job. Someone who is stuck in a negative thought pattern will tend to discount their successes while playing up their failures. Celebrate, and even brag about, your successes as a great way to escape negative thinking.
– Meditate. Negativity can run out of control if you never take time to reign in the thought processes of your mind. Meditating is a great opportunity to sort out your thoughts, quiet the negative mind, and just relax. When you emerge from a meditation session, you will feel a sense of calm and peace with yourself. That state of being lends itself nicely to being more positive about your life, and is a great way to stop negative thoughts.