More often than not, Negative Thinking is a matter of habit. If you let thoughts linger in your mind, they will stay there unless, of course, you take action and get rid of them.
You might be tempted to use brute force on those thoughts. Don’t.
It doesn’t work that way. Pushing them out or using force often backfires on you.
You reinforce what you pay attention to. When you resist negative thoughts, you actually reinforce them. Then they become stronger. It’s a vicious circle.
The more you try to avoid them, the more you think about them.
Obviously, you should do something different. Devise a different strategy.
Below I will suggest several strategies how to get rid of your negative thoughts.
Change your posture
There’s an intimate link between your body and your mind.
Monitor your body language for a moment. Chances are, if you are in a state of negative thinking, your body will reflect that.
What’s your body language telling you? Are you slumped, as opposed to standing tall? Do you have a closed posture?
What is your facial expression?
If the answer to these questions is yes, you will be prone to negative thinking, even if you are not at the moment.
The solution here is to change your bad body language. Let your body express your confidence. Stand up straight. Smile more often.
Once you change your body posture, you will notice a change in your mental state. You will feel much better. The negative thinking will be less dominant or it may disappear entirely.
Science confirms that. In an article published in the Biofeedback journal, Professor Erik Peper found that just by choosing to alter your body posture to an upright position, you can improve energy levels and mood in general.
So, just a simple change of posture might do the job with your negative thinking.
Talk to someone
It’s never a good idea to keep these negativities to yourself. It helps if you talk to someone. If nothing else, it makes you formulate your concerns and dilemmas much better.
Who you decide to talk to is not unimportant. Choose a good and considerate friend, who you know for sure won’t judge you.
When you decide to share your thoughts with someone, you will be able to see your emotional issues much better and put things into perspective.
If needed, you can then deal with the causes of the problem much better.
It is also important how you talk to someone. In a recent interview, Andrew Newberg explains the need to minimize negativity that goes on in conversations. For example, people should try to make three positive comments for every negative statement in their conversation.
Calm your mind in meditation
You don’t need a long meditation session. Just a couple of minutes of your time.
Just to calm your mind.
Throughout the day we often let our mind run like a crazy horse. When you combine this with negative thinking, everything just gets more difficult.
So, sit down for a moment. Close your eyes. Do nothing. Just be present. Don’t try to stop your thoughts. Whatever happens, just be present.
It’s a kind of rebooting.
After a minute or two, you will feel much better. It often takes that little to slow down and stop rushing.
If you have more time, you can even thy some free guided meditations from UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center.
Change your perspective
Negative thoughts can be the result of wrong perspective. Can you identify your point of view on the cause of concern?
Is the problem really so big as you imagine it? Is it a real problem or not?
Let’s take an example. Suppose you are thinking: “These problems are so difficult, I’m in a great trouble.” Instead, you could change your thinking to this: “Right now I face challenges, I’m working on them and trying to find a solution.”
Both statements reflect the same truth.
In the first you are negative. In the second you have a positive outlook.
Always try to find the positive in every situation. This shift in perspective could mean a great deal to your mental patterns.
Set aside some creative time
Being creative is a fantastic mood changer.
Especially if you are affected with negativity.
So, instead of obsessing with negative thinking, decide you are going to spend some time creatively.
It could be any form of art: writing, drawing, painting… Or even cooking, as long as you are creative in it.
The negative mental patterns disappear under the light of creativity. Use it. It works.
Creative work also enables you to explore your inner emotions. It can be a sort of self-therapy. It also leads to emotional discharging and brings about elevated mood.
Go for a walk
I know. This is trivial. But it helps.
So, take a walk, alone or with a friend. Ideally, it should be a walk in a forest, or at least in a park.
The idea here is that, sometimes, your thoughts are a result of your surroundings. You receive (positive or negative) thoughts from the people around you.
If they are filled with negativity, I bet you will be in a negative mood too.
So, if you change the environment, you may start to lose that negativity.
Wood is the best environment to transform your negative patterns. Science is clear about the health benefits of spending some time in a wood.
Even a park can help, or any cultural event or artistic performance that’s uplifting and fills you with joy.
Make it your habit to distance yourself from any negativity that surrounds you in your day to day life.
You can combine walking with searching for good things. Stacey Kennelly reports about a study in which the participants were instructed to consciously search for good things while in a walk. They were feeling happier than the people who were instructed to look for bad thing.
Gratitude seems to be a magical cure for everything.
If you have never tried cultivating gratitude, now is the best time to do that.
Why? Because it works so well on dissipating your negative thoughts.
The famous spiritual growth guru Tony Robbins talks about 10 power emotions, or 10 emotional seeds you should plant in your soul right now. Can you guess which one is at the top of the list?
We often tend to forget all the good stuff in our life. In the midst of our busy days, we simply have no time to focus on the positive. Not to mention the negativity we are constantly being bombarded by the media.
Now, you absolutely have to train your brain to start cultivating gratitude. For all the good things in your life.
There’s always something you can be grateful about.
Do you have a roof over your head? Are you grateful about it? Do you know how many people are homeless?
If you are homeless, are you healthy? Are you grateful about it? Do you know how many people are not healthy?
You get the point here? Make a list of things, no matter how small, that you are grateful about.
And, never, never take anything for granted. Often the wonderful things are right in front of your eyes, but you fail to see them.
Learn to appreciate the positive things in your life. They are already there for you and you should be enormously grateful for them.
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