Inside: Use these tips to stop being negative and grow more positive thoughts in your life.
How often do you find yourself facing negative thoughts?
Not everything can be sunshine and rainbows all the time. But more often than not, your outlook on the world and the way you engage with it should be on the positive side of things. Life is good, after all.
And if you don’t quite feel that way? If you feel like you’re dealing with negative thoughts all the time – or at least more often than not – it can be absolutely exhausting. Negativity isn’t productive, or pleasant, and doesn’t do any good.
But what are you going to do about it? When you’re in the moment, it can feel like there’s nothing you can do to stop being negative.
Fortunately, that isn’t true. There’s a lot that you can do to shift your negative thoughts to more positive ones – you’ve just got to equip yourself with the right tools and put forth a bit of effort.
Why Do We Struggle With Negative Thoughts?
Even when we can identify our negative thoughts, figuring out how to stop them can be a real challenge.
But before we focus on how to stop them, it’s good to start by exploring the why.
Why do we struggle with negative thoughts in the first place?
For some of us, our negative thoughts are caused by a chemical imbalance in our brain. We think that bad situations are way worse than they actually are, and our brains are trained to dwell on the unpleasant things that happen to us – instead of the good ones.
For others, negative thinking is caused by circumstance. A stressful job, an exhausting relationship, a poor financial situation, or a bad experience can all lead to negative thoughts – and a sequence of not-so-great events can put us into an even worse mental state.
Regardless of the cause, negative thinking can have a detrimental impact on your whole body. Negative thoughts lead to stress, which can impact your heart rate, blood pressure, and more. It can disrupt your sleep and leave you more vulnerable to illness.
That’s why it’s so important to stop being negative and focus on the positive. Not only will your mental state benefit from the shift, but your physical health will, too.
How to Stop Being Negative
Ready to take some actionable steps toward stopping those negative thoughts and emotions?
While there is no instant fix to negative thinking, there are some steps you can take to essentially retrain your brain, focus on the positive, and ultimately improve your outlook.
You can change your mindset and improve how you’re feeling by doing these eight things.
1. Practice mindfulness throughout your day.
As you navigate your day, it’s easy to feel like you’re moving on autopilot – staring at your cell phone, shuffling from one obligation to the next. We get so stuck in our routines that it can feel seemingly impossible to break free.
By embracing mindfulness and bringing more awareness to the present moment and your existence within it, you can take a step back from your environment and your emotions and examine them more closely.
As you check in with yourself, you can acknowledge your negative thoughts – and ask yourself why you’re feeling that way.
Mindfulness is like a muscle – it’s something you really have to work at, but over time, it becomes more of a reflex. Start by incorporating a few mindful moments into your day and expand as you become more comfortable with the practice.
2. Try writing in a journal.
If you find yourself harboring a lot of negative thoughts, it might be helpful to try a little journaling.
By putting pen to paper and letting your thoughts and emotions flow, you can work through problems and stressors that have been bottled up inside.
Journaling can improve your well-being and help increase your focus.
You may be surprised to see just how much clarity you can find through journaling – clarity that can help you see the “why” behind your negative thoughts and make a shift in a more positive direction.
3. Focus on gratitude.
A little gratitude goes a long way – but many of us don’t slow down enough to truly appreciate all of the blessings in our lives.
Instead, we grumble and complain, focused on everything that’s going wrong.
But try taking a minute to focus on all of the things that are going right for you right now. While you’re brushing your teeth in the morning, think of three different things that you’re grateful for in that moment.
Challenge yourself to come up with three different things every day – without repeating or falling back to easy ones, like your family, your home, and your health.
By forcing yourself to seek out the positivity in your life, identify it, and focus on it, you’re essentially training your brain to be more positive.
Over time, you’ll find yourself constantly scanning for positivity in the background throughout your day – searching for the positive, not the negative – to celebrate later on.
Looking for some gratitude inspiratioon to help you get started? Here are 77 of my favorite simple joys in life.
4. Embrace logical answers.
For many who suffer from negative thinking, it’s easy to jump to the worst-case scenario when navigating any situation.
For example, if your friend doesn’t text you back for a couple of hours, you might find yourself at the conclusion that they don’t like you anymore – instead of the far more logical conclusion that they left their phone charging in another room, or simply didn’t see your message.
Instead of letting yourself land on a negative outcome for any given situation, acknowledge your negative thought and ask yourself – is this the most logical option?
And if it isn’t, what would the most logical option be?
Most of the time, you’re going to realize that the answer is obvious – and way less negative than what you originally imagined. As a start, practice neutral thinking which is about accepting things as they are while focusing on what you can control.
5. Consider seeking support from a professional.
Just like we see a physician to maintain our physical wellness and a dentist to keep our smile bright, it’s important to take care of your mental health, too.
If you’re truly struggling with negative thoughts and can’t seem to shift your mindset, despite your best efforts, you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to a trained professional for guidance and support.
6. Reduce your stress levels.
For many of us, negative thinking is intensified by periods of stress. When we get frazzled, it’s easy to be hard on ourselves and gravitate toward unkind thoughts.
By eliminating some of that stress from our lives, we remove some of our likelihood to focus on the negative. Since we aren’t reacting to situations and new information from a stressed, anxious standpoint, we can more fairly examine our circumstances – and come up with a response that isn’t fixated on the negative.
Simplifying your home and life can help you to stop being negative as you’re no longer weighed down by all of the extra stuff.
And speaking of things that influence your stress levels…
7. Think about the influences in your life.
Whether we realize it or not, our thoughts and feelings are impacted by the things and people in our lives.
The messages we hear can impact how we think or at the very least inform what we are thinking about.
For example, watching the news for hours each day can negatively impact your mental health. It can leave you feeling depressed and anxious.
If you want to have a more positive mindset, it’s important to be aware of the influences in your life that may bringing you down so that you can minimize them. Consdier your media consumption and how it is impacting you. Create boundaries around when and how you use social media.
You may also want to increase the positive influences in your life to help you overcome negative thinking. This isn’t just the way you use technology and consume media, but also the people that you have in your life.
Are your friends having a positive impact on your life and outlook or do you leave conversations feeling negative and disheartened?
We are influenced by the people we choose to spend our time with. Consider which relationships in your life are ones that are helping you grow and which may be bringing you down.
“Your diet is not only what you eat. It is what you watch, what you listen to, what your read, the people you hang out with and the things you subject your mind and soul to. Always be mindful of the things you pt into your body emotionally, spiritually, and physically.” -Unknown
8. Find an accountability partner.
If you want to stop being negative, ask a trusted friend to help keep you accountable. Have them check in with you weekly to keep you on track with the patterns or behaviors that you want to change.
Creating specific goals for yourself will be helpful here. They can be ones that help decrease negative influences in your life , such as spending no more than thirty minutes listening to the news. Or they can be ones that increase the positive influences in your life, such as reading a book on how to create better habits in your life or writing down three things you’re grateful for today.
Having measurable goals will make it easier for you to make progress and it will give your accountability partner something tangible to ask you about.
What strategies have helped you stop being negative? Leave a comment and let me know!
Life can be very challenging at times and we need to be honest when we are in those seasons. However, we get to choose how we approach our circumstances and what habits we form for ourselves.
You can learn to stop being negative and the tips mentioned in this post can help you create a more positive mindset. That doesn’t mean everything in life will be perfect. But it does help you have tools that can help you to get unstuck.
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