5 Habits That Help You Stop Negative Thinking
Nothing good can come out from negative thoughts.
Negative thinking has no purpose and it doesn’t define you as a person. It doesn’t determine your destiny or define your character. Only you determine the power of each and every negative thought.
Unfortunately, sometimes these negative thoughts can consume us and then they cause damage.
The Buddha once said: “Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.”
Those unguarded, negative thoughts are really dangerous and can cause much damage and harm. Even more arm than your worse enemy. When you feel those thoughts taking over, it’s time to do some cognitive restructuring.
Dr. Alice Boyes, who is a former child psychologist and author of “The Anxiety Toolkit”, describes cognitive restructuring as a core part of CBT- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. DR. Boyes also explains that it’s one of the most psychological treatments.
These 5 ways to stop negative thinking will help you learn the fundamentals of cognitive restructuring:
1. Observe your thought
Take a moment to sit alone in a room and go to the quietest and most peaceful place of your mind. Once you’re there, observe your negative though. Those negative thoughts are a product of cognitive distortions and irrational patterns.
You don’t need therapy, just sit there, observe the thought and then watch it disappear.
2. Question any ruminations
Ruminations is the same as overthinking. Unfortunately, constantly overthinking an issue won’t make it go away, therefore ruminations are pointless. Wonder how to reframe those thoughts?
Here’s what to do:
Grab a sheet of paper and create two columns. Name the first column “thoughts” and the second “solutions”. Once the rumination begins, write down the time. Write anything that comes in your mind in the “solutions” columns. At the end of the week, count the number of times your thought appeared and insights. Are you seeing anything of value? If you’re not, read number 1 again.
3. Determine the evidence
If you want to reframe your thoughts, you need to evaluate the evidence behind them.
On a sheet of paper, draw two columns. In column A write the supportive proof of your thought and in column B write the objective evidence demonstrating the opposite. What information did you convey through this exercise?
4. Practice mindfulness
Christopher Bergland is a three-time champion of the Triple Ironman triathlon and a scientist. He explains mindfulness as basic, much more basic than most people think.
“Stop. Breathe. Think about your thinking. Anyone can use this simple mindfulness technique throughout the day to stay calm, focused, optimistic and kind,” says Bergland.
If you want more formal training, you can try structured mindfulness meditation techniques and practices.
5. Understand impermanence and neutrality
Negative thoughts don’t have any real powers and they’re temporary. No matter how much negative thoughts cross your mind, it’s important to remember that they’re just thoughts and they don’t have any power over you. If you just observe them and not engage, they’ll go away.
Do something positive, something that you love to do so your mind will be occupied and there will be no room for negative thoughts.