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12 Tips to Overcome Negative Thoughts

12 Tips to Overcome Negative Thoughts

It usually starts with a thought or a feeling. Maybe it starts with something someone has said.

Then it starts to drag you down in to that place of feeling sorry for yourself, feeling worried, or into thinking “what’s the point in doing anything at all?” as you walk around feeling low with the weight of the World upon your shoulders.

Negativity that builds up around you can quickly transcends into toxicity and will, without doubt, hold you back from living the life you want. Finding your inner peace is crucial!

1. Remember: People don’t care that much about what you say or do.

It’s easy to fall into negative thoughts if you overthink what peoples reactions to your words/actions will be. This causes you to reduce your perceived value to others and ultimately traps you in analysis paralysis. It’s easy to feel as though people are always holding you back.

Getting stuck in your head is easy to do, and difficult to escape, and in thoughts like that you will drag you further away from your goals and potential.

Outside of your thoughts, people really don’t have that much time, attention or energy to be worried about what you do. If they do, then they have their own issues and are likely not going to achieve their own goals as a result. People, in general, have their time and minds packed with their kids, jobs, hobbies and their own fears and worries (e.g. what people might think of them ;)).

Once you come to this realisation, and remember that you can set yourself free from these constraints you create in your own mind, it will help you to start taking small – or bigger steps – towards what you want deep down in your life.

It’s understandable that if you’re going in to a social setting that you may have some anxieties, we talk more about overcoming social anxiety here.

2. In a Negative Situation? Find what’s good or helpful.

Let’s face it, we all have setbacks. Things might look bleak and negative thoughts will arise, it’s natural. It’s how you deal with it that counts.

To counteract the negativity, you need to ask yourself better questions. Questions that will help you to feel better but also to learn so you can grow.

Questions such as:

  • “What’s can I learn from this?”
  • “What’s one good thing about this scenario?”
  • “How would a friend support and help me in this situation?”
  • “What’s one thing I can do differently the next time to likely have a better outcome?”
  • “Can I do anything to fix this?” – If the answer is either Yes or No, then don’t worry about it…simple.

“It’s better to be an optimist who is sometimes wrong than a pessimist who is always right.” – Unknown

3. Question Yourself.

When a negative thought pops up and starts to grow, question that thought.

Ask yourself if it should be taken seriously? Your first answer will likely be ‘Yes’ because it’s a concern right now, but if you take a step back you’ll change your mind.

Your mind is easily clouded because, at that moment in time, you’re tired, or hungry, or overworked.

It’s easy to focus on one small mistake or one bad day instead of focusing on the other 95% of your life that tends to be positive.

Sometimes questioning yourself helps you to see that just even though one thing may have gone wrong, it doesn’t mean that you have done poorly overall. Equally, it doesn’t mean that things will get worse and stay like that for a long time. Not if you chose optimism and take small steps forward. Every journey starts with one step.

The real purpose of questioning yourself is for a reality check and allows for a level-headed perspective again.

Remember, there are 86,400 seconds in a day. Don’t let 10 seconds get in the way of the rest of it.

4. Replace the negativity in your surroundings.

What you let into your mind in your everyday life will have big effect on you. So start questioning what you allow in.

Be honest with yourself and figure out the following:

  • “What are the top 3 sources of negativity in my life?” – It could be people, social media, magazines etc.
  • “What can I do to spend less time with these 3 sources this week?” – Think of the positive things you can use this new time for

It might take a while to find ways eliminate/reduce that right away for all 3 sources, if it is then take a smaller step and focus on doing that with just one of them until complete and take the next step afterward.

The key to all of this is to spend the time you’ve freed in pursuing more positive sources and people that are currently in your life. It will allow you to explore and perhaps make the changes you’ve been seeking for your personal growth.

5. Stop the over-emphasis.

To avoid allowing a small negative thought into becoming a bigger issue in your mind, you need to confront it early. Tip #3 in this article is an example of how.

You can also take a larger view by asking: “Will this matter in 1 year? Or even 4 weeks?”

Perspective is critical. This answer is likely that it won’t.

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” – Anais Nin

6. Release.

Internalising is extremely damaging to your health when it comes to stress. Keeping negative thoughts bottled up won’t help.

The only way to fix that is to let them out. Talk the situation or your thoughts over with someone close to you. A quick vent can often help you to see the situation in new light.

If you don’t want to talk just yet, there are many other ways to make yourself happy instantly.

7. Live in the moment.

When you’re in a negative mindset, you’re often thinking in the past, or something that may happen. Sometimes it’s both jumbled in to one and you’ve lost clarity.

To snap out of that put your attention fully into this moment instead. Into what’s here right now, in front of you.

Making it a habit to spend as much time in the present as possible and you will, without question, have less negative thoughts. Why? Because you have abandoned all of the what if’s and maybes.

It will make you more positive and considerably more productive.

A couple of ways to bring yourself back to being mindful and this moment are:

  • UnplugGet rid of all of your devices for a set period of time.
  • Focus only on your breathing. Take a break right now and focus just on your breathing. Take breaths a little deeper than you usually do. Make sure to breath with your stomach and through your nose. During this time focus only on the air going in and out and nothing else.
  • Notice the world around you. Take a 1-2 minute break, get out of your head and put your attention on what’s around you right now. Nothing else. Just focus on the people walking by outside of your window, the sounds from the street, the smells around you and the clothes on your skin.

8. Exercise.

Using your body to clear negativity has well known health benefits, and is proven to work. Exercise releases endorphins, which make you happy.

Go for a run, or swim, or lift some weights. Whatever it is that you do, you need to make sure you have no access to social media or a smartphone. If you’re checking these, then you’re focused on the task at hand.

The exercise will help release inner tension and stress, as well as making the mind focused and productive again.

9. Avoid vague fears.

The most common mistake people make when it comes to fears run from them instead of taking the challenge head on.

Fight or flight, right!? It’s natural to feel the flight impulse for most people, which means avoiding the fear. When you can’t quite pin what the fear is though, it can become much scarier than it needs too.

Ask yourself: “Realistically, what’s the worst that could happen in this situation?” – Again, see tip #3.

When you ground yourself, you begin to look at it with your feet firmly planted on the ground. By doing this, you gain clarity about the situation and what you can do about it.

10. Be Kind, Always.

One of the simplest ways to get out of your own head and the thoughts bouncing is to focus outwards and on someone else.

By adding positivity to someone elses life in some way, you too can start to feel better and more optimistic again.

Ways to add positivity into someone’s life:

  • Help
  • Be Kind
  • Be Available
Give up some advice where appropriate, help out with their chores, help them in planning a personal event.
Smile genuinely toward someone, give a compliment, hold the door open for them.
Be willing to listen for some time, in a focused way. Help them discuss a difficult situation to help them find a way out of it.

11. Be grateful.

It’s easy to take things for granted, especially the ones that are part of everyday life. Be mindful of this and show gratitude as nothing lasts forever.

Focus on the things you have, and give sincere gratitude toward them, such as:

  • Having food available.
  • Having a roof over your head.
  • Having as much clean water as you need.
  • Having kind and helpful family and friends.

12. Start your day by setting a positive tone.

Breakfast, they say, is the most important meal of the day. The same goes for how you create your thoughts for the day ahead too.

Negativity or pessimism at the start of your day makes it difficult to turn things around. A positive start makes it much easier to keep momentum with that same mindset. If something negative pops up, revert to tip #3 and ask yourself: “Can I do anything to fix this?” – If the answer is either Yes or No, then don’t worry about it…simple.

Some easy ways to start your day off right::

  • Breakfast. Have a good, solid breakfast, and a pint of water. It’ll get the bodily functions working correctly, which will allow the brain to operate at a higher capacity too.
  • Visualisation. It could be a quote you like, a picture of your family or a destination you plan to travel to. Maybe you can imagine the goal or dream that you’re most passionate about right now. Write it down on a piece of paper and place it on your bedside counter, on the fridge.
  • Positive affirmation. Remind yourself of what you’re grateful for. Listen to a podcast, read a new blog post that motivates you or a chapter in a book that makes you laugh. Have an uplifting conversation with your partner, kids, friend or co-worker.

“Having a positive mental attitude is asking how something can be done rather than saying it can’t be done.” – Bo Bennett

 

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