Negative thinking can ruin your life. It’s not a joke; this is one of the major obstacles towards happiness. Even when you’re on your way to achieving something great, the negative thoughts can stress you out.
“I said the wrong thing again. How could I be so stupid?”
“I hate this job. But I couldn’t possibly leave. It will be hard to find a new job. The new one will probably be just as bad, if not worse.”
“I don’t deserve to be happy. That’s why bad things happen to me all the time.”
Those were only a few examples of negative thinking patterns. Do you notice how infectious they are? Your mind just needs a trigger, and it will easily go down the whirling of negative thinking.
Fortunately, there are ways to fight and stop negative thoughts. We’ll discuss seven of them.
1. Change your entire mindset
Barbara Fredrickson, a researcher from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, has been studying human emotions for 25 years. According to her findings, a positive mindset will produce powerful emotions, such as happiness, joy, gratitude, amusement, and inspiration.
She describes positive emotions as nutrients. We need to eat our fruits and veggies to stay healthy, right? Well, we also need a healthy dose of positive vibes on a daily basis, so we’ll keep preserving our psychological health, too.
Now; “change your entire mindset” might seem like an impossible thing to do. However, we can all get there if we just recognise the negative thinking patterns and start fighting them. The following methods on our list will help with that.
2. Practice loving-kindness meditation
One of Professor Frederickson’s research studies was focused on the effects of loving-kindness meditation. In this type of meditation, the practitioner is focused on wishing wellbeing for themselves, for the people they love, and all other people… the planet itself. They start from themselves and expand that point of interest to indefinite limits.
The findings showed signs of psychological and physiological changes in people who did this meditation.
So try to practice the meditation of love and kindness. You have those emotions in you. When you allow them to prevail, they will help you overcome the negative thinking patterns.
3. Express positive emotions
When you’re happy, there’s more ease in your whole body. Your shoulders are relaxed. Your posture and your face express your inner state. What if that relation works the other way around?
Just relax. Smile and greet people. Be there for them. Tell some jokes.
This won’t be acting. You’ll still be aware of your inner state of being. However, the efforts you’re making will reflect on that inner state, too.
4. Spend more time with positive people
You can’t avoid all negative people, but you can try to spend more time with positive friends and family members. These are the people who do their best to be good. They make you feel happy, energised, and motivated. Search for these people. Spend time with them. Become like them!
5. Plan a good day
When you arrange your day in a good way, you’ll be more focused to achieve your goals. At the end of the day, you’ll feel better about yourself. You’ll remember what you did and you’ll think: “I stayed focused. I completed important tasks. I’ll be focused tomorrow, too.”
Without a proper plan, you know you have plenty of things to do, but you feel like there’s more than enough time to handle them. So you procrastinate. The daily schedule will stop procrastination. It will leave you with time for a daily exercise routine, work, and personal time. That alone will give you plenty of good things to think about.
6. Acknowledge the success you already achieved
When the negative thoughts attack, it’s time to fight them back. Sometimes you hit a low point in life. That’s okay. Just stop and give yourself some credit for what you’ve achieved so far. You’ll probably start thinking of the long way that’s still ahead, and the negative thoughts will come up again. Just remember: it’s the journey you have to appreciate.
You’ve overcome tons of obstacles before. Whatever the current situation is, you’ll go through it, too. You’ll come out stronger and more resilient. You just need to stay positive.
Did you know that a daily practice of writing can make you happier? It’s similar to meditation in that aspect. When you write about your day, you give yourself a chance to re-evaluate the events, thoughts, and emotions you’ve been through.
Get a plain notebook and turn it into a diary. If you prefer typing, you can rely on Penzu – an online journal. Write every single day! Write about trauma, so you can understand and overcome it. However, you shouldn’t focus on the negative thoughts. Include things you’re grateful about. Write about the happy thoughts you had, too. Keep this practice consistent!
We cannot force positive emotions and suppress negative thoughts. The negative thoughts will still appear from time to time. With enough effort, however, we can overcome them. We can make our positive side stronger!
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