When we’re not overwhelmed with work, we tend to spend time with our own thoughts. We think about how the day went, what went wrong, the past or life regrets. If not, we worry about the future. If something goes wrong, people tend to think that they will never be good enough or that they are not capable of doing things right. But if you focus too much on the aspects of life that have left you unhappy, you won’t be able to enjoy the present. So tell your negative thoughts to leave your side so you can be happy. Read on to find out how to deal with negative thoughts.
Negative thoughts can be caused by various factors such as past experiences, stress, anxiety or underlying mental health issues, says Dr Pallavi Joshi, consultant psychologist at Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute in Delhi. It is essential to consider these factors when trying to understand why some people have persistent negative thoughts.
How to deal with negative thoughts?
Before learning how to manage negative thoughts, it is important to identify them. This involves self-awareness and monitoring your inner dialogue. You can also look for patterns of self-criticism, pessimism, or irrational fears. Here’s what to do:
Practicing mindfulness can help you observe your thoughts without judgment. This will allow you to let go of the negativity brewing in your mind.
2. Cognitive-behavioral therapy
It’s a therapeutic approach that helps identify and challenge negative thought patterns and replace them with more positive ones, the expert tells Health Shots.
3. Positive affirmations
Use positive statements to counteract negative self-talk and boost your self-esteem and confidence. According to a 2013 study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the words we choose are important, so saying short positive quotes can help combat stress.
4. Gratitude Journal
You don’t have to be a professional writer to have your own journal. Regularly write down the things you are grateful for to move from negative to positive.
5. Physical exercise
Exercise isn’t just about losing weight or building muscle. It is also known to release endorphins, considered natural mood enhancers. So, it can also help combat negative thoughts.
6. Social support
Talk to friends, family, or a therapist about your negative thoughts. Sharing can bring emotional relief and different perspectives. But they must show understanding and support.
7. Limit exposure to negativity
The world is full of negativity, and you can hear about it in newspapers or on websites and on television. But try to reduce your exposure to negative news, social media, or toxic environments that can trigger negative thoughts.
8. Take care of yourself
It’s good to take care of your family members, but don’t forget to do things for yourself too. You should prioritize self-care activities, like getting enough sleep, eating well, and doing hobbies you enjoy.
9. Set realistic goals
Whether it’s fitness or work, having goals in life is essential. But unrealistic expectations can lead to negative thoughts. So, set achievable goals to avoid unnecessary stress.
10. Think about your strengths
Don’t neglect the positive and focus on your strengths. If you have negative thoughts about your actions or your personality, think about something you like about yourself or something good you did.
If negative thoughts refuse to leave you and are affecting your daily life, consider seeing a mental health professional.