How to Clean your Mind from Negative Thoughts and Embrace your Positive Thinking

Desiree Peralta

Negative thinking can be a habit of the mind

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Our mind doesn’t stop. Human beings think at the rate of 350 to 700 words per minute, but when we speak or listen we do so only at 150. What does that mean? That the largest number of words are the ones we say to ourselves.

We have thousands of thoughts a day. Sometimes we are aware of them, sometimes they are like background noise. Sometimes we think about things that happened, sometimes about things that are happening to us now, sometimes about things that are yet to come.

What happens in our mind has a lot of weight in our state of mind. That is why it is so important to clear our minds of negative thoughts. Thoughts and emotions are closely related.

Emotion is not a thought, but through our thinking, we can manage it and moderate its intensity, as well as choose the state of mind in which we will find ourselves later.

If we are always thinking, it is logical that during the day we feel many emotions. The problem comes when we are overwhelmed by a torrent of bad thoughts.

Only by being aware of our negative thoughts can we take steps to deactivate them. Here are the most common negative thoughts and an antidote to neutralize them.

Tunnel Vision

You focus your attention on the negative details of what happens to you, ignoring the positive ones, so your speech is usually a succession of complaints or regrets.

For example, a depressed person tends to stay with the details that cause the most pain, while an anxious person will stay with all possible problems.

How to beat it:

Be aware of how your emotions and thoughts go hand in hand. When you find yourself thinking about the bad, think of solutions, not problems. Focus your energies on what you can achieve to be better, instead of wondering why this is happening to you.

I know is difficult don’t think of a problem when is affecting your life. But think about this: If something has a solution, why you have to worry about it? and if something doesn’t have any solution, then it’s not worth worrying about.

Every time I think that I am doing everything wrong or that I am a failure, I start writing a list of all those things I have done that have worked for me, it can be as simple as I publish something that I liked.

Some things you can write on the list are:

  • You were able to finish your work.
  • You prepared a recipe that you have been practicing for a long time.
  • You were able to finish your exercise routine.
  • You managed to pass a level of a game that had you stuck.
  • You finished reading a book
  • You finished the course that you bought to be better
  • You could save money this month.

Although you see it simple, many people could not achieve this month even half of what you could. And creating a list is a way of remembering that if we are good, we just need practice.

The World in Black or White

You perceive situations in an extreme way, without nuances, which contributes to experiencing emotions also in an extreme way. This is typical in perfectionism when making a mistake (ours or someone else’s). They turn the whole experience into a total failure.

A perfect example could be that you managed to finish an article that you are very proud of, but it was rejected, you automatically think that you are a disaster and can not do anything right, without thinking that you were able to write it, many people don’t finish their stories.

How to beat it:

Something that has helped me a lot to understand that things are not as bad as they seem, is to see everything that happens to me with percentages.

For example, if something doesn't go as planned, you can say 70% of the work went well and 30% bad. 80% of my partner takes care of me, 20% does not. I was able to do 90% of my book, but I couldn’t publish it, which is only 10%.

In this way, we realize that life’s failures are small compared to all the good things that happen to us. Doing this we can see how our extreme thoughts are sometimes just bad in our heads.

Generalization

“I never do anything right” “it always does the same thing to me.” Suddenly, something that has happened to us twice is already something that always happens to us.

Thinking in absolute terms immobilizes you for change or distorts the image you have of people and the world.

How to beat it

We all have battles to win. Whenever you think that everything bad happens to you, remember that many good things also happen to you, and that does not mean that it is your fault.

The result of the “bad things” that happen to you is just part of life. Learn to see these things as something you can learn and change from, rather than “bad luck.”

The things that happen to you in one day are not the result of 365 days of the year, it is only one day. Tomorrow you will get up and have the opportunity to do things again.

Dramatize

Dramatize are those thoughts that begin with “what if”. A headache can be brain cancer; An argument with your boss, an imminent dismissal.

The catastrophic vision can trap you in a vicious circle in which, after turning it around, you end up causing the classic self-fulfilling prophecy.

How to beat it:

Start using your sense of humor, when you are able to take those thoughts to the extreme of the ridiculous, they will lose all their strength.

Just as a dollar is not a million dollars, a single problem is not the end of the world.

Every time I have those thoughts in my mind, I like to talk to a friend. They usually feel that my problems are small compared to all the things I have managed to do.

Read other Minds

It happens when you interpret what others think or feel as if it were real and not an interpretation; “She wants to put me in a bad place”, “she calls me just because she’s bored”.

When you think someone thinks you are an idiot, it is actually your own internal criticism calling you an idiot.

This process is also linked to a typical defense mechanism called projection; we project our own thoughts onto the other’s mind so that we no longer attack ourselves, but the aggressor is outside.

How to beat it:

Faced with the presumption of what someone else is thinking, consider that it is a possible hypothesis, but that, in reality, you do not read anyone’s mind. By testing your empathy.

Instead of thinking that someone has feelings for you, ask them. Never assume anything you don’t know.

Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.
— Pema Chodron

Also begin to be grateful for what people do for you, instead of thinking that they do it for a reason. Start changing those “she called me because she needs something” for “thanks for thinking about me when you have a problem.”

Blaming Others for all our ills

Closely related to the above, it is another way of projecting one’s mistakes onto another; thus one is freed from responsibility and guilt. The dark side of this is that, by blaming the other, in addition to hurting him, you remain immobile, you do not learn or evolve.

How to beat it:

Each one is the owner of her own life, even in an unfair situation, it is you who has arrived there, who remains there. Accept the consequences of your actions and understand that others also have the right to make mistakes.

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you are the only one responsible for your decisions, then start thinking about how you can change what makes you bad, instead of waiting for others to do it for you.

Taking the Blame for Everything

We must take responsibility for our actions, but not crush ourselves for it, because the feeling of guilt can lead us to a fairly self-destructive path. This means that you feel like you should always do everything right.

The thoughts and feelings of guilt come from childhood, from the moment when one forms their self-concept. Blaming ourselves is a way of feeling that we should always do things right, and when this is not the case, it is terrible.

How to beat it:

Take responsibility, learn from mistakes, and be compassionate to yourself. Beating yourself up with guilt is a dead end. Remember that we are all imperfect and mistakes are part of life.

Instead of thinking that you do everything wrong and that you will never be good at anything, start thinking about what you can do to improve. Successful people are not those who have always achieved everything well. They are those who despite all the failures, have managed to get up and continue trying.

Everything you can’t do’s because you lack some practice or something to learn, just that. Start thinking about things this way and negative thoughts about your actions will disappear:

  • Instead of thinking that you couldn’t make a cake because you’re bad at cooking, think that this time you need to practice better or read the recipe.
  • If you couldn’t get the job, maybe you should better prepare for the next interview.
  • If you couldn’t do all the tasks for the day, maybe you should organize your time better.

Also, understand that there are things you cannot control. You can control the way you speak in an interview, but not how the other person reacts, and that does not mean that you are wrong.

Personalize

It is the tendency to relate everything that happens with oneself, to take it to the personal level.

This occurs due to a failure in the empathy processes when, instead of putting oneself in the shoes of the other, one judges the world from his own; therefore, everything ends up related in some way to oneself.

How to beat it:

If you are looking for reasons to be offended or angry, you will find them. What each person has in his head depends more on his own way of being than on ourselves.

The things that happen are not personal. Someone did not reject your book because it was you, maybe something was missing. You were not chosen because they were looking for another profile, not because you are a good or bad person.

Comparing yourself with others

It happens when one has not learned to value himself, because he was never valued for his own achievements or was constantly compared.

Here there are usually self-esteem problems, especially in self-assessment processes; By not learning to value themselves, they need the handle of comparison to do so.

How to beat it:

Comparison is similar to gambling, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. The only thing I can tell you is that your value does not depend on others but on yourself.

Everybody is different. While you can achieve something in one week, others can take up to a month, and that’s not bad.

Life is not a competition, everybody can be successful in their own way. Learn from others instead of blaming them for things you can’t do. Because no one cares if you can’t do something that other people can, so the only option that you have is to learn from them.

The Shoulds

“You should have invited me to something”, “I shouldn’t feel this”.

The shoulds are inflexible rules that are demanded of both oneself and others and that make you act as a judge; everything that deviates from that norm is reprehensible, unfair, intolerable.

How to beat it:

You can get irritated when someone does not act according to your personal values, but remember this is what they are: “personal” values. Nobody owes you anything. If you think that someone “should” do something for you just because you do things for them, the one who is wrong is you.

Learn to depend only on you, and you will begin to realize that the negative thoughts of those people who “should” do things for you are not what you think.

Final Thoughts

Everybody is responsible for the way they manage their own thoughts. Negative thoughts are fleeting and temporary unless we do otherwise. They have no real power of their own, but they can do a lot of damage if we give them a chance to grow. A thought has no other power than what you give it.

It does not matter why that thought arose, the important thing is that you can turn it off and that you can create a suitable environment for that thought time to be reduced.

The key is to detect those negative thoughts before they have time to fill up in your head and take over.

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Turning ideas into reality. Programmer by profession, Writer by passion. Writing, productivity, and self-development advice.

Yonkers, NY
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