Aug 15

How to overcome negative thoughts

Everyone can think negatively about many things, whether its “I’m not good enough, “it’s never going to happen” or “I’m not lucky.” We can tend to put ourselves down and look at things from a negative perspective. Nothing is further from the truth however. It’s time to stop with all the negative attitudes and thoughts, as the glass is always half-full, not half-empty. Here are some tips to help you overcome negative thoughts and negative thinking patterns.

Do things that make you happy.

Constantly having negative thoughts are draining and the stress from negative thinking can create changes in the brain that can lead to low moods and a general lack of energy and joyfulness in life. In extreme cases this constant wallowing in negative thinking can lead to depression and burn out. It may seem hard initially, however the important thing is to push these stresses to the background. Don’t think about them and don’t let them dominate your life. What is done is done. Distract yourself with things that make you happy, like spending time with family, exercising, being outdoors and enjoying nature, going to the cinema, listening to music, shopping or even taking a nap. This will benefit you greatly and revitalise you. Being happier also improves sleeping habits and good self-care practices are important for concentration, productivity, performance and maintaining a healthy weight.

Surround yourself with positive people.

Talk to people who can put things in a different perspective or can help come up with solutions to difficult problems. Surrounding yourself with negative people and situations will only make you dwell on negative thoughts even more. You might not realise but this can have far-reaching effects on the way you feel and act. By filling your life with people who inspire you and make you strive to realise your potential, you not only enrich your own life, but help give back to your direct environment. Never let yourself get influenced by negative people as you do not have to get sucked into their negativity and you do not have to react to them. You can control your own behaviour and reactions, but you cannot control theirs so minimise contact with such draining individuals if this is necessary. Always remember that tomorrow is another day and you can get always pick yourself up after feeling deflated.

Don’t look at the glass as half empty.

Although it will be difficult at the start, you can always turn your negative thoughts into positive ones. This is a great learning. Keeping a diary or a journal helps in this process, as you can keep a record of your negative thoughts, which you then change into positive ones. For example, “I’ve messed up again and I always make stupid mistakes” can be replaced by “I always try to do my best and everyone makes mistakes, as long as I do my best and learn from it, I’ll not make the same mistake again.” Keeping a note of your negative thoughts is also helpful because you may notice a pattern, which can help you address areas in your life that are causing you distress or anxiety. As the Dalai Lama said, “See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.” It will also help you to see how far you’ve come when you read back your journal and see how your thinking has improved. Thoughts influence mood and that affects our behaviour. So positive thoughts are powerful in a good sense.

Thoughts have no real power (unless they are positive)

A thought is just a thought. Your perception of a situation may not be the actual reality. If you think something might have gone wrong, then make sure to remember that this may not always be the case, it may just be the way you perceive it. Worrying about it incessantly isn’t going to fix the problem and will only make you feel worse. It’s in the past and cannot be changed – so move on and learn from it. A good example is in an exam or interview situation.

We have all been there before, as we sit there anguishing and debating over whether we did well or not. But, at the end of the day, no amount of thinking and dwelling can change those results. Maybe you didn’t get the results you wanted, but this will always lead to different options and opportunities in life that you may not have stumbled upon otherwise. Sometimes the alternatives are even better! There is no point worrying about the things you can no longer control. Instead, focus on what you can do and have a positive attitude towards life no matter what the situation is.

Please get in touch with me for more tips and advice around life coaching, business coaching, and individual mentoring if you need some support in this area.