Letting go of negative thoughts can be difficult for some people. Those thoughts can consume a person, and when that happens, the negativity can have a devastating impact on all aspects of their life.
Negative thinking can become a habit, and you can pick it up from the people around you. Mrs. Mindfulness likens it to building a prison in your own mind. The darkness holds you captive. You feel so alone and trapped in your negative thoughts that they consume you entirely.
When you recognize that your negative thoughts are getting in the way of a happy life, you might be tempted to tell yourself that you are going to be done with negativity. The hard truth is that negative thoughts probably won’t ever go away entirely, and that’s okay. The struggle isn’t that we sometimes have negative thoughts; it’s when we believe those thoughts to be true and refuse to let them go.
Here are a few tips on how to deal with negative thinking:
- Surround yourself with positive people. If you are having negative thoughts, call a friend who you can count on to give you constructive and loving feedback. Michelle Uy says that when you’re stuck in a negative spiral, talking to people who can put things into perspective and won’t feed your negative thinking is key.
- Use humor. John Kehoe from Learn Mind Power writes that we get serious and stressed when we’re thinking negative thoughts. To fight back at your negativity, think of something funny to change the energy. Don’t let your undesirable thoughts have power over you—be proactive in eliminating them.
- Label your thoughts. Psychology Today suggests that you label your thoughts. Instead of saying “I’m a failure,” say, “I’m having the thought that I’m a failure.” Instead of saying, “I’m going to blow this interview,” say “I’m having the thought that I’m going to blow this interview.” The difference is subtle, but it can help you gain the perspective that you are not your thoughts.
- Watch your thoughts. To become free of negativity, you need to become more aware of how you think. Remember that thoughts and feelings aren’t facts, and pay attention to what is going on in your mind at any given time—especially any patterns of negative thinking. By attending to these thinking patterns, you are being more aware and mindful of your thoughts. You’re able to step back and become the silent watcher. In this way, the damaging thought patterns start to lose their hold over you.
- See a therapist. If you try these tips and you still feel that you can’t break free of the negativity, seeing a therapist would be beneficial. Your therapist can help you find the source of those destructive thoughts. They’ll also be able to help you work toward freedom by nurturing a more positive attitude. This can be the first step toward building the life you really want to have.