Mark was a happy-go-lucky lad. Always upbeat, he had a smile for everyone he met on the street regardless of whether he knew them or not. Life can sometimes hit you hard and when the blows start coming, they never seem to stop. Mark’s dad died when he was 25, two months later, his mother died because she could not cope with being alone. Not long after, his loving girlfriend left him and called off their wedding. Mark started having many negative thoughts and questions.
He became a shell of the person he used to be. Before, life was smooth and easy, now it became a hurdle. His best friend encouraged him to deal with the damaging feelings which he explained would kill him if he continued harboring them.
If you are at a point in your life where you feel negative thoughts are taking over, it’s about time you learn how to overcome them. Everyone goes through low points in life and if given a chance, they can create thoughts that could make you spiral out of control.
Negative thinking is the mental position of foreseeing and expecting circumstances to turn out for the worst. Automatic negative thoughts are pessimistic and disparaging thoughts that seem to occur spontaneously. They can be ideas or images causing you to be anxious and troubled. They can persist in your mind and may lead to depression. Negative thinking is generated by pessimistic thoughts and emphasized the more such thoughts occur.
4 Common Ways Negative Thoughts Manifest
Automatic negative thoughts are common and sometimes you may not even notice them. They tend to manifest in 4 common ways.
You are always worried that bad things will happen either to you or others around you. Remember, problems are amplified by worrying, which results to anxiety. This hinders you from enjoying life. More than 90% of issues you have anxiety over may never materialize
You tend to judge yourself harshly and feel that you might never be as good as somebody else. Criticizing yourself may lead to low self-esteem thereby ignoring your positive qualities.
These kinds of thoughts cause you to feel you are not able to complete or achieve certain tasks or overcome circumstances. It manifests when we feel a lack of control or helplessness towards something. It renders us incapable of moving on and handling change.
You have feelings of not being good enough and unworthy. It becomes hard to attain satisfaction and more is always required of you. In spite of what you achieve, you are never happy or contented. This produces burnout.
How to Stop Negative Thoughts
Stopping negative thoughts is a challenging process, but you can do it. You require patience and persistence to do so. These are a few steps you can take to stop negative thoughts from taking over your life.
Question The Thoughts.
Any time a thought enters your mind, immediately identify what type of thought it is. If the thoughts are negative, probe if the thoughts might be true. Whenever you can, note down negative thoughts as they come into your mind. This will help you recognize them clearly.
Be keen and quick to spot how certain situations impact your thought response. The best signal to the type of thought occurring is the emotion being experienced. If you are feeling stressed, what goes through your mind? Cultivating self-awareness helps you stay in the present and deal better with the situation and your response. Acknowledge but do not focus on unpleasant feelings.
Live In the Present
Keep your focus on what is currently happening at the moment. Move away from the past and the future as this uses up your energy to concentrate on the present.
Have Positive Thoughts
Reflect on one or more positive thoughts daily. This is a simple way to help your mind get used to thinking positive thoughts and the feelings associated with that. Start simple and advance slowly.
Break Thought Patterns
A good way to stop negative thoughts is to simply do that; Stop them. When such thoughts sneak into your mind, say “stop!” to them. This can either be to yourself or out loud. Stronger words than “stop” will also work well. You may also find images more powerful than words. You can also take specific actions to stop the thought. Shaking your head, standing up are good examples.
How to Get Rid Of Negative Thoughts
Countering your thoughts is a great way to get rid of negative thoughts. Be quick to replace a gloomy thought with a positive one. Incorporate positive statements to counter the negative so as to empower yourself. Battle the negative with the positive at every given opportunity.
Talk to the thoughts you identify as false. You can be as detailed and descriptive as possible. A little practice in this and you become a master. This helps to teach your mind the kind of thoughts that are acceptable to you.
If negative thinking has been a major part of your life, a different tactic is required to handle it. Create a block of time where you specifically have the freedom to entertain negative thoughts. During this time, allow the thoughts and do not permit them at any other time. This safety of knowing there is some freedom helps to break the pattern
Write and Destroy
Another way to get rid of negative thoughts is to write the particular thought on a paper. This paper can then be destroyed by tearing, burning or shredding. This destruction is a symbol of your commitment to move beyond these thoughts.
Avoiding negative thoughts is a step by step procedure. It may take a while but give it time and it will definitely work out for you. 4 pointers will sum it up well
- Surround yourself with positive people
- Keeping a list of things you are grateful for
- Help someone in need
- Smile more
- Actively choose a thought to replace the negative one
- Have Awareness of what is going on and say, “I choose differently!”
- Focus on what you DO want and only that. Ignore the Rest of the thoughts that flow through