- February 12, 2019
- Posted by: Stephen Coleclough
- Category: Self-improvement
Everyone has negative thoughts from time-to-time.
This might include feelings of inadequacy, anger, self-loathing, and pessimism.
In most cases, we can push these thoughts out of our mind and get on with the day.
Unfortunately, some negative thoughts can become repetitive and take over the mind.
This can lead to anxiety, self-doubt, stress, and eventually, depression.
If you are struggling to deal with your inner critic, you have reached the right place.
This article will share four keys to overcoming negative thoughts.
These strategies will help you silence the nasty voice in your head and get more enjoyment from your life.
#1 – Learn to recognise common negative thought patterns
There are several types of negative thought patterns.
They are repetitive and unhelpful chains of thoughts that can stay in you mind for long periods.
These thought patterns are dangerous because they can eventually wear you down and make you believe each negative thought is actually reality.
By understanding these common negative thought patterns, you can notice the thoughts when they occur and replace them with positive thoughts.
You will also be able to take a step back and identify each thought for what it is — a work of fiction that clutters up your mind.
Look out for the following thought patterns:
“I’m not good enough”
This thought pattern involves frequent thoughts of inadequacy.
Perhaps you often think you are incompetent in the work place or you don’t have the mental prowess to do well at school.
When these thoughts occur, remind yourself that you are a talented, worthy, and skilled person deserving of a happy life.
“Worst case scenario”
Many people will have negative thought patterns that relate to upcoming events including imagining worst case scenarios.
Deal with these thoughts by reminding yourself they are imaginary scenarios that aren’t grounded in reality.
Remind yourself that you can change your reality through your actions.
“Nobody cares about me”
During periods of loneliness, you might have thoughts suggesting that no one cares about you.
These thoughts are completely irrational.
People do care, but they may express their love differently to you.
They may also have busy lives and simply haven’t had enough time to express how much they care about you.
Even if you don’t have many people in your life, you can find others who will find you to be a wonderful person.
Remind yourself that you are worthy of love and people around you do care.
“I’m not as good as other people”
It’s normal to compare yourself to other people. However, it can become unhealthy if you constantly tell yourself you are inferior to others. Shut this thought down by reminding yourself that you are becoming a better person every single day.
Other negative thought patterns to look out for
- I can’t do anything right (Wrong! You can do many things right)
- I’m not as lucky as other people (Good things will happen to you too)
- I am not clever enough (You have the tenacity and will to learn anything)
- If I fail this task, I am a loser (Failure is a part of growth and is not something to be feared)
- I am not strong enough (You have more inner strength than you think)
#2 – Learn to live in the present
Once you start analysing your negative thoughts, you will soon realise that most of these thoughts revolve around events in the past or future.
Unfortunately, ruminating about past mistakes or being anxious about future events doesn’t really help your mental state.
The simplest way to deal with these kinds of thoughts is to keep your mind focussed on the present.
What are you doing right now?
What are your goals today?
What can you accomplish today?
What improvement to your life can you make right now?
What are you sensing around you right now (light, colour, sounds, and physical sensations)?
Focusing your mind in this way will prevent pointless thoughts relating to the past and future.
#3 – Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness involves focusing your awareness on the present moment, while acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
It can be achieved by meditating and performing other mindfulness activities which range from breathing exercises to spending time observing natural environments.
Mindfulness is one of the most effective ways to become grounded in the present – eliminating those negative thoughts about the past or future.
It can also give you more control over your thoughts and emotions, making it easier to recognise negative thinking and stop it dead in its tracks.
#4 – Always question your negative thoughts
The human mind can be very creative and imaginative.
Unfortunately, it can use these attributes during negative thinking, creating all of fantastic irrational thoughts.
It’s important to debunk these thoughts as they occur.
You should also question the value of each thought.
- Is the thought true or does it make unrealistic assumptions?
- Does the thought involve imaginary scenarios that are unlikely to occur?
- Is the thought relating to an event in the past which has been replayed hundreds of times? Is there any value in replaying it yet again?
- Is this thought useful to me in any way?
- Is the thought making assumptions about what other people think of me?
By actively questioning your thoughts, you will be able to identify any which are irrational and push them away before they begin to monopolise your mind.
Thanks for reading The Four Keys To Overcoming Negative Thinking.
Try these strategies out, I am sure you will be happy with how much they can reduce negative thinking.