Dealing with Negative ThoughtsSep 16, 2021
Negative thoughts are a natural part of life. We all get them, and we should be able to deal with them in healthy ways. Unfortunately, negative thoughts can make us feel like our lives are horrible, but this is not the case. There are many strategies that you can use to help yourself overcome negative thinking patterns. In this blog post, we will explore these strategies and discuss how they can change your life for the better.
A negative thought a day keeps the happiness away.
Negative thought patterns form in our minds because we react to the many things that can bring negativity daily. The news and social media are big culprits nowadays for getting us all sorts of information centered on adverse events instead of positive ones. Go into any website that has comments, and you are bound to eventually come across one where people are arguing with each other due to the most minor or most significant things. Then there are the actual people around you, like your coworker or peers, who might talk about all sorts of negative things with you. Bring these things together, and now a heavy and dark aura will surround you when you take these all in too personally.
Negative thoughts can make a person feel sad and become more anxious. These thoughts remove the joy we are supposed to feel and make us see the world with gray-tinted glasses. Other people might say, "it's just a thought," when in fact, prolonging negativity in our minds can harm our health. We can incur possible health problems like increased stress and anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stomach problems. Negative thoughts can also make our body weaker when it comes to resisting diseases and infections.
How to deal with negative thought patterns
Knowing the health risks that negative thoughts can bring, we can't dismiss these things as "just thoughts." The expression, "Is the glass half empty or half full?" can come into play. It is up to us how we would want to deal with negative thoughts. When negative things come or happen to us, we can either say, "This is okay, this will eventually pass," or we can say, "I'm screwed, my life's busted, this is the end." Our upbringing in life and the environment we have around us can influence our way of thinking. One can try living like a hermit and get away from society to run away from sources of negative things, but this is a powerful solution that most people can't probably do. However, there are things in life that we can control and do to help us in overcoming negative thoughts.
1. Stay away from sources of negativity
Many things around us can cause negative thoughts to pop up in our minds. We have the news, social media, the people around us, and the media that we consume daily. By themselves, these things are not inherently harmful, but the information that they bring to us tends to lean towards the negative. If you can, try to stay away from media that focuses on the negative. Maybe you can take a glance but run away the moment you see something hostile or antagonistic, like in the comments section of websites. Unfortunately, people can also bring in negativity, and it's a bit more challenging to stay away from them, especially if the people concerned are people you see daily, like coworkers. There are other ways to deal with them, though.
2. Practice mindfulness
If you can't avoid the things that can bring negativity in your life, practicing mindfulness and self-awareness can help us overcome them. Having mastery of these things can help us manage our thoughts better by seeing negative things in a new light. By being mindful and self-aware, we can separately observe the ideas in our minds and analyze if these thoughts will help or benefit us. If not, we can discard negative thoughts and not let them stay in our minds. In the case of negative things coming to us, a mindful and self-aware individual will not react too much emotionally to these things. They will just let these come in on one ear and out of the other. A self-aware individual can observe the things happening around him and discard unhelpful thoughts in his mind. It's not that easy to attain such a state of mind, but doing constant mindfulness meditation and practice can help us break free from negativity.
3. Be like Pollyanna
There's this term called the "Pollyanna Principle," which refers to humans' tendency to look on the bright side and focus more on the positive. Unless somebody is clinically depressed and on edge, we humans, in the end, still want something good and beautiful to happen in our lives, even for pessimistic individuals. It's just that we can't bring ourselves to such a happy train of thoughts when many negative things have already happened to us.
The term "Pollyanna Principle" comes from the novel "Pollyanna." The titular character is a cheerful and optimistic girl who always looks on the bright side of things. She practices a thing called the "Glad Game," and it's acting like a filter or shield for her against everything negative around her. The "Glad Game" can easily be summed up as practicing gratitude. No matter how bad or negative a situation is, she tries to find a silver lining. Applying this in our own lives means being grateful for what we have and that even if a bad situation directly happens to us, we try to find something positive out of it. Of course, it's only normal to feel bad or sad when something wrong happens to us, but we can't feel sad forever and linger on the negative for too long. Instead, find something to be grateful for and then move on.
4. Be healthy
One thing that can influence our way of thinking is our physical health. Eating well, sleeping well, and regularly exercising can improve our general well-being and immune system. A healthy body has more energy to do activities like work and play, and anxious thoughts have more minor occurrences due to feeling less stressed and better about yourself. Likewise, our mental health becomes better, and it is easier to be optimistic if we feel good and healthy about ourselves.
5. Take a break
Sometimes, all we need to do to get rid of negative thoughts is to take a break from whatever we are doing. People tend to get too caught up in all the drama around them, so when you start to have negative emotions affect you and are getting overwhelming, take a break. Do something that makes you happy and feel nice, like your hobby or passion. Talk with somebody you trust or who is close to you and share your feelings. Letting out things in our minds helps us release the heavy emotions we have before making things worse. Surrounding yourself with positive people and talking about encouraging things can also bring more positive thoughts to our minds.
Away with the negative thinking
Automatic negative thoughts can be a habit if we react to every negative thing that enters our minds. However, not everything has to be a big deal. It's up to us how we will take things as they happen; are we going to think about these positively or negatively? Reinforcing our minds to filter out the negativity involves a dedicated practice of engaging with the positive and telling your mind not to focus too much on the negative. If our negative thoughts are getting too much in our lives, it might be a good idea to seek a mental health professional, but it will be better to avoid getting to this point and improve by ourselves. Focusing on positive emotions and improving the thought pattern of our minds can lead to a more fulfilling life.