Ways To Eliminate Negative Thinking
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Most psychological problems can be attributed to negative thinking. When someone is stressed, it isn’t always a result of something that happened to them. In most cases, humans generate their own stress through negative and pessimistic thinking. There are often times when small stresses are allowed to transform into major ones because of negativity. Negative thoughts may be triggered by almost any type of situation and are usually involved in causing anxiety, depression, anger, and even relationship problems. The ability of an individual to perceive a situation as stressful or merely as a surmountable challenge will depend on just how they size it up in terms of their own ability to overcome and deal with it.
Coping with Negative Thinking
Negative thoughts are sometimes clear and obvious. However, at other times, they may be somewhat ambiguous and hidden, even as they are causing distressing emotions. If someone has a difficult test pending or is soon to board a plane and yet they have a phobia for flying, they may inevitably end up experiencing undue anxiety where they perceive clear, negative thoughts that they are likely to fail and get kicked out of school or that they will be the victim of a plane crash. If they end up being depressed, their negative thoughts may have to do more with their own perceptions that they are bad and worthless.
On the other hand, a pupil may be only remotely aware of their worry about not doing well because he or she has an overachieving older sibling. The pupil may perceive that out-doing, or at least matching their sibling’s performance in the same exam may be an exercise in futility. This thought may not be as apparent as one would expect. Oftentimes, the first step in effectively dealing with pessimism and negativity is just to become aware of exactly what it is that is going through the victim’s mind.
When negative thoughts arise during stressful circumstances, anxious or depressing feelings will likely result from the specific incident initially. However, once such strong feelings like anger, anxiety, and depression have occurred, negative thoughts may then arise spontaneously centering on a wide range of issues that are completely unrelated to whatever triggered the event. At that juncture, the negative thoughts may appear to take on a life of their own, taking little or no effort for them to occur. They seem to pop up almost automatically.
An apt description for these automatic negative thoughts is that they throng your brain like ants at a picnic. A single ant sting may not be so bad, but the combined effect of multiple stings may be too painful to bear. In a similar manner, any negative thought may be tolerable, but many negative thoughts combined can be very distressing and unbearable.
Addressing your concerns
There is no need to suffer anymore from the effects of negative thoughts which can lead to stress overload and result in various health problems. There are countless practical ways in which you can avoid, reduce, or alleviate negativity and prevent stress. While they might not all work for you, the 101 ways to eliminate negativity that are detailed below, will nonetheless prevent any distorted automatic negative thoughts from swarming your mind to wreak psychological havoc.
Ways to eliminate negativity by positively supporting yourself
1. Dissect what exactly is triggering your negativity and depression: This should be the first step on your road to recovery. After a thorough analysis, you are likely to conclude that a major contributing factor to your negative thoughts is your own inner voice. You must strive to change this somehow by finding ways to re-orient all your thoughts to be more positive. By trying several different things like reading books, seeking professional help, talking to friends and family, taking vitamins, or exercising, you will eventually find what works for you.
2. Adopt a more Aggressive Approach: Whenever you feel yourself slipping deeper into the onset of a negative mood, jot down all the reasons why it is better not to feel that way. You will be surprised by how easily this method works. Who knew that expressing your thoughts on paper can have the effect of helping you avoid falling into an unhealthy mood?
3. Time to do Yoga or Meditation: Attending a yoga class will teach you how to take your focus away from your negative thoughts by bringing your attention to your breathing instead. Yoga and meditation are also quite relaxing which helps to ease your mind. They will both help you stay present with all your experiences instead of jumping to conclusions about what could happen in the future.
4. Smile More Often: You can practice by bringing yourself in front of a mirror and forcing yourself to smile. A pleasant smile or grin really does a lot in helping to change your mood and alleviate stress. It is also the best way to spread your good mood to others and you will feel lighter as well since it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown.
5. Surround Yourself with Positive and Enthusiastic People: Whenever you get stuck in a negative spiral, you should have people to talk to who can put everything into perspective rather than feed your negative thinking. Try calling that reliable friend you have on your speed dial because you know he or she is always available to give you constructive, yet compassionate feedback.
6. Shift the Tone and Framing of Your Thoughts from negative to positive: When you find yourself in a difficult situation, for example, rather than think, “It is going to be very hard to adjust to our current financial circumstances,” try thinking, “We will encounter a few challenges in our current financial situation, but, as always, we will be able to come up with workable solutions that all will be happy with.”
7. Avoid Playing the Victim: Only you can control and determine what your life will be, so take responsibility and stop thinking and acting as if you’re stuck. Even if your current health, financial, or living situation becomes difficult and unbearable, try to remember that there is always a way out. You will always have the ability and choice to make change happen, if necessary.
8. Try Helping Others: Doing something nice for another person is an excellent way to shift focus away from you and your negative thoughts. Volunteering at your local soup kitchen or donating to the Salvation Army will take your mind off of things and leave you feeling better. It will also remind you that no matter how bad things are, there are many people in worse situations.
9. Remind yourself that Nobody’s Perfect and Allow Yourself to Forge Ahead: Although dwelling on our past mistakes is easy, it is a huge waste of time. Feeling terrible when you act in an unbecoming manner is normal but you shouldn’t focus too much on the negativity that may result. The best and only thing you can do is to learn from your errors and move forward.
10. Try Humming, Singing, or Whistling: Singing, humming, or whistling the tune to your favorite music will always leave you feeling better every time. This is always the case even if don’t remember the lyrics very well or don’t particularly enjoy music. These three activities provide an avenue to show your feelings and give you amazing stress relief.
11. Schedule a Regular Time to List the Things You are Grateful For at the Moment: Showing gratitude allows you to be fully aware and appreciative of everything you already have. Your list may include things like your health, pets, a recent holiday to an exotic destination, enrolling in a new yoga class, your relative finding salvation, and just about anything else that you consider to be relevant.
12. Read Motivational and Positive Material: For constant inspiration and reminders to stay positive, try sticking Post-It notes inscribed with encouraging quotations on your mirror, fridge door, or computer. Practice reciting them whenever you happen to be working in that particular area.
13. Always Fight Your Fears: The fear of failure will keep feeding on itself. You must make plans to survive this temporary discomfort, and you’ll find that you can not only overcome it but also end up feeling more comfortable with yourself.
14. Maintain Perspective: Avoid constantly focusing all your attention on your fears. Instead, try asking others questions about their own fears. You will be amazed to find that most people are more than happy to talk about themselves as a way of allaying their own fears.
15. Watch the Worry: When you constantly fret aimlessly about things that are beyond your control, you are more than likely to end up acting inept. You will have made this inevitable by convincing yourself any shortcomings will mark you for life. This cascading worry should be corrected at any point in its cycle.
Ways to eliminate negativity while socializing
Beware of Your Definitions: Defining a personal encounter or social event as a possible staging ground for looking and acting like a fool will more than likely translate to you feeling and behaving exactly the way that you think.
Accept Feeling Awkward: It is okay to feel awkward sometimes and this acceptance will lessen your fear. Rather than become burdened by these self-handicapping feelings, where you always give yourself excuses to avoid socializing by assuming you will miserably fail, you should instead imagine yourself communicating cordially.
Temper Your Shyness: In order to defeat all your needless inhibitions, try imagining yourself as a decisive and effective general cooperating on a battlefield with other decisive and effective generals and working towards a common good. Let that be your guiding image in all your work activities and remember that it is always better to mingle softly than to not mingle at all.
Immerse yourself into the Fold: Instead of quietly waiting to be rescued, push yourself into participating more in your work activities. Try keeping it light because not everything you contribute has to be brilliant. You could start by making small talk about common things around you such as the weather.
Avoid Ambivalent Thoughts: Having internal conflicts where you debate yourself on things like whether or not you should say something, are excellent formulas for letting conversations float past you. Strive more confidently by avoiding the temptation to second guess what you are about to say. Speak up, even when in doubt.
Use Your Bashfulness as a Positive Signal and Weapon: View others as your potential friends instead of trying to be aloof. You could always start by saying a simple, “Hello”, if your mind goes blank. No matter how weary you are, never take a backseat. Just introduce yourself and see what will develop.
Control your Modesty: Make it a habit to occasionally note and share any positive attributes that characterize you and you will find yourself blushing less often. If you are naturally shy, you should accept it since it is impossible to completely get rid of our natural tendencies. Your shyness or modesty can nonetheless be managed effectively. Don’t expect immediate acceptance or jubilance. When you are shy, it probably takes you some time to warm up to new situations.
Avoid being Bold or Aggressive: Even when you’re in a foul mood or having negative thoughts, try communicating in a low-key, nonassertive, manner. Downplay listening to your heartbeat by shifting focus from how tense you feel to what you can do. Participating in other thoughts or activities will allow your heart rate to take care of itself.
Retreat From any Rejections: The fear of being rejected is normally a fictional concern. If your work ideas are justifiably rejected by someone, you can always still accept that there are parts of that idea that will remain valid despite the rejection.
Avoid Blaming your Genes or Anatomy: Although studies have correlated shyness and social anxiety with the sensitive amygdala region of our brains, we should nevertheless not take this as a license to allow ourselves to be overcome by stress and negativity. There are numerous ways one can buffer himself or herself from being hindered needlessly by such afflictions. The same applies to those who use their genetic predisposition as a fallback.
Watch Your Body Language: Always hold your head up when talking to others. Habitually gazing downward makes you look insecure. To signal confidence, you should instead glance around without staring and nod your head to signal approval. Try smiling as well, by thinking of something pleasant and letting your smile extend from that thought.
Base your Decisions Only on Facts: Avoid reading too much into facial expressions. Making baseless assumptions about the motivation and meaning behind the facial expressions of others can be quite risky. Try shifting from self-absorbing negative thoughts to objectively observing everything that’s going on. Only then should you respond to the objective reality.
Thankfully everyone has the innate ability to effectively implement various strategies that will keep the negativity and emotional downers at bay and prevent them from completely ruining your high spirits and good moods. The way to eliminate negativity and the accompanying stress is not to avoid them. These proven methods will return your life to normalcy and bring you back to the present, which is the only moment that matters. There is nothing wrong with having a little chaos or negativity in your life.
How you deal with and learn from it is what is important. Always remember that you cannot be able to control everyone and everything- that is life’s reality so just learn to live with it. You simply just cannot change the way everything happens. You can however alter how you react to them. So why should you even be bothered with things that are far beyond your control? Just go with the flow and quit dwelling on the negativity that’s part of life. It will all just be a wasted effort that can ruin your health and harm your life.
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