Trick and treat yourself to positivity.
Negative thinking is much easier than being positive. Just look at the news, war, poverty, pollution, and a whole collection of depressing facts and figures.
People like us are constantly trying to find new ways to rewire our thought patterns into something happier. Most of the time with very little success.
If you’re prone to intensive negative thoughts it can have a ripple effect on every part of your life. It could be a voice that keeps you up a night or an intense feeling of loneliness in a room full of your nearest and dearest.
Once you get stuck in a cycle of negative thinking breaking free from it can seem impossible but it’s not.
There are people out there who have happy thoughts, who think positive things. You deserve to be one of them.
Peace of mind. It could be yours for the taking. These are some of the things that helped me, but this is a life long battle. The more weapons we have in our arsenal the more likely we can beat those thoughts.
Negative thinking is a learned habit
Ruthless negative thinking is a habit that is really hard to break, that’s because it was developed over many years. It could be that your childhood experiences have warped the way you think. Even if we have left our childhood behind, it has unexpected ways of catching up with us.
Our brains have a very intuitive fight or flight system that is supposed to keep us from harm. Negative thinking can start as basic survival but over time neuron connections form which makes repeating negative thoughts more common.
The most useful tip for dealing with negative thinking is also one of the strangest. When you’re spiralling out and you catch yourself, do this.
Shout STOP. Shout it out loud. It breaks the spiral and what happens immediately afterward is… nothing. Your brain will get confused, it won’t know what to do.
It sounds silly, I know. But it works. It has saved me from spinning out more times than I can count.
This method is only for temporary relief as eventually, your brain will recover from its confusion. For a long-term change we need to be putting in a solid shift of effort, it’s not going to happen overnight.
Meditations and Affirmations
Half the people reading this just gave out an audible UGH.
Just because advice is commonplace, doesn’t mean it’s not worth repeating. This is exactly how affirmations work — you repeat.
Meditation can teach you and your mind a different way to communicate with each other. Often negative thought cycles persist because we naturally try to resist.
Instead, proper meditation is all about letting go and separating from your thoughts, releasing yourself from their power.
This is something that is developed over a long series of meditation sessions. If you go into this expecting it to solve the problem immediately, you’ll be disappointed and give up.
Affirmations can work in tandem with meditation or be something you practice independently. Using affirmations daily can inject your mind with some positives that could be sorely missing.
If your brain can send you negative thoughts with no consideration for your welfare, you can sure as hell fire back some positive ones. You can find plenty of ideas for affirmations online.
One thing that helps me is to acknowledge that my brain is only looking out for me, thank it for that, and reassure it that I am okay. Something like:
‘This thought is not warranted. I am safe from harm. Thank you for looking out for me.’
Challenge Your Thoughts
What then? I asked.
My brain responded with the worst-case scenario. And what then? I asked again. My brain responding with some equally as unlikely scenario.
And what then? I repeated and I repeated.
Chances are we would survive the very worst conversation we can imagine. Our brains could do with reminding that the worst-case scenario it’s picturing for us, is actually, probably not all that scary.
The rational part of your brain is not in charge of things when negative spirals start to happen. We can trick it back into the driver’s seat by asking the simple question of ‘what then?’
For me, a lot of my doomsday scenarios start with a what-if? And what if’s are distinctly unknowable, but my brain has a storyline in mind. Sometimes that storyline needs to be played out.
If I let my brain do its thing it would incapacitate me as it shows me all the ways I could have saved my marriage or how I ruined my relationship with my parents because I didn’t do ‘this.’
It helps speed things up by asking the question and once my brain has run out of responses, I am free. We played out all the scenarios, and I’m fine.
There are plenty of questions you can ask yourself to challenge negative thinking.
Am I confusing a thought with a fact?
Am I jumping to conclusions?
Am I asking questions that have no answers?
You Are Okay
It’s something as simple as hearing you are okay that can help to shift your perspective. If you are plagued with negative self-talk then you need to do all you can to combat it.
I know that it’s not as simple as any one article on the internet. If it’s something that you feel is not getting better, no matter what you try, I implore you to seek out professional help.
Having a third party guide you through your thoughts is an invaluable experience. Therapy has helped a lot of people and yes, it’s expensive, but it can work. I think it’s worth the investment if you can’t do it by yourself.
The important thing is to give things enough time to have an effect. If you try meditation, keep trying, and learning, a little day by day. Use different affirmations to regulate your brain by exposing it to positive thoughts.
When your brain’s irrational thoughts are taking over challenge them. If thoughts are getting too loud interrupt them with a loud audible shout.
I am okay. I feel safe, I am not in any danger. Thank you so much for caring but we got this.