So much of our time is spent lost in our own thoughts. And shockingly enough 80% of our thoughts are negative.
We spend so much time focused on what could go wrong in our lives, what has gone wrong, and what’s wrong now that we ignore the other 20% of good thoughts that we have. I know I have to constantly check myself whenever I’m having a moment where I’m thinking negatively about myself, or someone else, or a situation that I’m in.
Because once you’ve gone down that spiral it starts a snowball effect that’s hard to come back from.
But not impossible.
There are ways to not only bounce back from that type of thinking but to keep it from happening in the first place.
Here are some of the best ways to stop negative thoughts no matter what stage you’re in.
3 Ways to Gain Control Over Negative Thoughts
Use Your Emotions to Guide You
Your emotions are your number one tool when you’re deep in that downward spiral. A lot of the times we don’t realize the negative direction of our thoughts until it’s too late. This is why being aware of your current emotional state is super important.
Our emotions and physical responses never lie to us. When you’re angry you can feel the heat and energy releasing from your body. Just like when you’re sad or anxious, you feel the energy change and you begin to distance yourself.
These feelings that you have give you the opportunity to recognize that you’re not in your right frame of mind. And that even though an outside action or event caused the initial reaction, your own negative thoughts contributed to you holding on to that emotion rather than letting it go in place of something better.
It’s not until you acknowledge that your emotions are out of character that you can start to turn the negative thinking around.
To do that you have to find a thought that’s slightly better than the last one you had. I know that sounds crazy, but it works. And not just any thought, but one that you actually resonate with in that moment. And then do it again. Keep moving slowly up that ladder until whatever negative feeling you had starts to fade.
I do this whenever I’m angry with someone or even myself. It’s almost like counting backwards from 10 except every number in the countdown represents a different and slightly more positive thought than the last. Try it out next time you’re in a tough situation.
Change Your Perspective
For some reason, many of our thoughts are far from the truth. It’s like we prefer to paint a picture that’s so far from reality just so we can justify our way of thinking. Which would be great if we were always thinking positively. But that’s usually not the case. What we need to do is step outside the box and look at it from the outside in.
And instead of justifying your thoughts or feelings ask yourself these questions:
- Are my thoughts real or are they just my interpretation of the situation? Am I jumping to conclusions?
- Are there other ways I could look at this situation?
- Is it as bad as I am making it out to be?
- What are the good things that are happening in my life that counteract how I feel now?
And my favorite:
- Will this matter in 5 years?
Practice Mindfulness Regularly
This is one of the best ways to minimize that amount of negative thinking that occurs daily. I always recommend meditation to anyone, especially if you live an overwhelming lifestyle or if you have a hard time relaxing or finding peace of mind.
For anyone who’s not used to quieting their thoughts it can be difficult at first but over time it becomes easier to release the stress of life and become more self aware.
The best way to start is to find a quiet place where you can sit for 15 minutes. During that time you will close your eyes and just focus on your breathing. In and out. Yes, random thoughts will come to your head, and when they do, let them go and focus again on your breathing. Sometimes it helps to have relaxing music in the background, but pick something without lyrics to distract you.
Practice 15 minutes a day regularly and it will gradually become easier to silence those negative thoughts, or any thoughts for that matter, whenever you need to.
What helps you stop negative thinking? If you liked this post, share the love.