Negative Thoughts and How to Change Them

Occasional negative thoughts are something that all of us regularly experience. And it is completely normal for such thoughts to cross your mind now and then. However, if you are engaging in negative thoughts consistently, the negativity starts welling up inside of you and dragging you down. Your subconscious mind starts accepting those negative thoughts as the only truth. As a result, negative self-thoughts wear down your self-esteem, confidence, and your mental health in general.

Here are some of the most common negative thoughts people load up their subconscious with:

o I am not good enough.

o I’m not worth it.

o I don’t deserve it.

o I cannot do it.

o I can’t build a positive relationship.

o No one likes me.

o I’m hard to love.

These and similar self-thoughts conjure up negative feelings about yourself. They can destroy your self-esteem, trigger anxiety and depression and completely drain you of energy.

Cognitive Distortions

When we take negative aspects of a situation and magnify them while filtering out the positive ones, we become prone to flaws in thinking known as cognitive distortions. These are negative thoughts that increase anxiety and diminish your ability to cope with life challenges.

Some of the most common cognitive distortions are:

o Generalization

o Catastrophizing

o Jumping to conclusions

o Mental filtering

o Labeling

o Black and white thinking

o Shoulding and musting

Once unleashed, negative thoughts are hard to stop. The only way to overcome them is to shift your focus to positive thoughts. Easier said than done, I know. Yet, it’s the only way to stop your negative thoughts from unnecessarily ruining your life. So, here are six things you can do to overcome your negative thoughts.

1. Embrace Positive Affirmations

One of the best ways to counter negative thoughts is to develop positive statements about yourself. Think of all those things you like about yourself. Focus on your strengths and skills and believe in your competences. If you often repeat them, positive statements will become imprinted in your subconscious mind. They will improve your self-esteem, boost up your mood, and help cope with anxiety or depression.

2. Practice Yoga or Meditation

Both yoga and meditation can take the focus away from your thoughts and bring your attention to the present moment. Also, yoga and meditation can help you relax and boost your resilience. In addition, mindful meditation can help you overcome anxiety and increase your overall well-being.

3. Express Gratitude

Being grateful inspires you to appreciate what you already have. Starting your day by saying out loud, or even better, writing down three things you are grateful for will help you focus on positive things in your life and enhance your overall mood and life satisfaction.

4. Surround Yourself with Positivity

Spend time with positive people who won’t feed into your negativity. Also, read positive books and motivational quotes. Post inspirational quotes around your house as reminders to stay positive. Spend time outdoors and surround yourself by nature, fresh air, and the sunlight.

5. Visualize Success

A great way to get rid of negative thoughts is to visualize yourself positively. Picture a version of yourself you want to be and think of steps you need to take to become that person. Also, picture accepting, loving and protecting yourself. Start visualizing the best about yourself and act as if you believe that you are a valuable and worthy person. This will help you tune off negative self-thoughts and develop your potentials.

6. Seek Professional Help

A therapy approach proven to successfully combat negative thoughts is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. One of the main aims of CBT is to reprogram the brain to think in a new way – to identify and replace negative thoughts with more positive viewpoints.

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