How to Stop Negative Thoughts: 4 Steps to Happiness

how to stop negative thoughtsWhat are you thinking about?  If you can go a week without a negative thought, then I applaud you.  Most of us, no matter how positive we try to be or portray ourselves, are plagued by a negative thought at one time or another.  This is normal; however, it can be detrimental to get caught in a web of negative thinking on a daily basis.  Constant negative thoughts can make you feel depressed, anxious, and can prevent you from enjoying life.  If you want some positive advice on how to stop negative thoughts, we have four simple steps that you can apply to your life to help you keep your thoughts positive, encouraging, and under control.

How to Stop Negative Thoughts

Get into the habit of reversing negative thoughts.  You might not even be aware that you are practicing negative thinking.  Watch out for thoughts such as these:

  • Thoughts where you blame or shame yourself for things that were out of your control or that were not your fault.
  • Blowing up small and simple mistakes and turning them into personal failings.
  • Exaggerating small problems into seeming bigger than they are and blaming yourself for those problems.

Step 1: Eliminate Negative Thinking

This might seem hard at first, but once you get used to it, reversing your negative thinking can be easily managed.

  • Be aware:  It is important to be aware of your negative thought patterns when they arise.  If you have a negative thought, stop and figure out why you are thinking the way you are, and what reason you have to make yourself feel sad or discouraged.
  • Negative vocabulary:  Stop using negative vocabulary or words in your daily vernacular or thoughts.  Words such as: terrible, disaster, and unfortunate should be avoided.  Learn to change these negative words into a more positive and healthy perspective.  For example, a “disaster” can be looked at as a “challenge”.  To get yourself into the habit of doing this, make a list of 5 negative words that you find yourself using regularly, and write down their positive counterparts.
  • Find the good in things:  Try looking at things in a “half full” type of way instead of “half empty”.  Black or white thinking can be a contributor of negative thinking, and the truth is, there are usually no situations where something is either good or bad.  You have the power to be able to find the good in a situation and turn something around for the better.  For instance, if your laptop shuts down and you need to replace some parts, look at this as an opportunity to learn more about technology and how your devices work.  You could end up picking up some new skills in the end.

Step 2:  Start Your Day Right

Wake up each morning with the intention to make your day a positive one.

  • 5 good things:  As soon as you wake up, write down five things that you are thankful for, 5 things that you are happy about, or 5 things that you look forward to doing today.  These do not have to be huge things, they can b small and simple, such as “listening to my favorite song” or “eating my favorite Thai takeout”.  To be ready for this, keep a journal or a notepad handy by your bed to access first thing in the morning.  As you go about your day, make sure you keep these positive thoughts in your head.
  • Laugh:  Laughter is the best medicine.  If you find yourself feeling semi-negative or overwhelmed with things, take some time to laugh and appreciate the happiness in small things.  Call up a friend or meet up with someone and take the time to smile.
  • Relax:  We all have busy lives, and it can be hard to find time to relax.  Of course, being overworked can run us down and cause us to think negatively.  Be sure to allow yourself to take breaks though out the day and control your environment so that you provide yourself the opportunity to relax when things start feeling too heavy.  If you have trouble factoring this into your day, make it a point to set aside 15 minutes each day to relax.  Happiness is not associated with stress.

Step 3:  Ask for Help

Negative thoughts can be overwhelming, and sometimes you might not be in the best condition or in the right mind to control your own negative thoughts.

  • Find a counselor:  There are plenty of good counselors out there that you can speak to, to get the help you need.  First visit your primary care doctor and ask for a referral to a counselor.  Alternatively, you can ask a friend or family member for counselor recommendations, or consult the internet for reviews of counselors in your area.
  • Evaluation:  Arrange for an evaluation with a counselor.  Remember that if you feel uncomfortable, you do not have to go back.
  • Disclose your feelings:  Speaking with a counselor is always done in confidentiality and in a safe manner.  Remember that you need to be completely honest and up front with what you are feeling and what is happening in your life so that the counselor may help you in the best way that they can.

Step 4:  Take Care of Yourself

Many people do not recognize how healthy living and negative thinking can go hand in hand.  Taking care of yourself and healthy living practices can help you feel good about yourself.  If you do not already practice healthy living, following these simple steps will help you achieve body and mind balance.

  1. Eat fresh, nutritious, and healthy food.   Avoid anything that is pre-packaged or already made.
  2. Keep any harmful substances out of your body.  For example, avoid smoking, drinking, or taking any other types of drugs.
  3. Exercise for at least 20 to 30 minutes 3 to 5 times a week, or as much as possible.
  4. Make sure that you get a good amount of sleep each night.  Aim for anywhere between 6 to 8 hours, depending on your age and needs.

Benefits of Positive Thinking

Once you taking the steps to rid yourself of negative thinking, you will start to feel the benefits of positive thoughts.

  • You feel happier.
  • You feel in control and responsible for your own thoughts and feelings.
  • Your mind is more open and able to recognize and see other points of view.
  • You are able to love others unconditionally because you love yourself first.
  • You are able to practice feelings of compassion, kindness, and patience on a daily basis.
  • You become more appreciative and grateful for the people in your life and the opportunities that you allow yourself.
  • You are able to relax more and allow the universe to control what you cannot.
  • You will notice that others treat you with respect and kindness.  Basically, you get what you put out.
  • You do not allow yourself to get caught up or invested in petty drama, negative situations, worry, or conflict.
  • You become focused on the present and living in the moment rather than focusing on the past or future.

Conquer Your Negative Mind

By taking these steps on how to stop negative thoughts, you will be able to break out of your negative thinking habits and replace any negative thinking with positive exercises and thoughts for a healthy and productive frame of mind.  To help you start overcoming negative thinking today, enroll in this course to learn about goal-setting and overcoming obstacles with other students who want to reverse their negative thinking patterns.