Skip to main content

How To Overcome Your Negative Thoughts

When we have a physical injury, it’s usually easy to notice it. This makes it easier to manage, and eventually fix.  

The mind, on the other hand, isn’t so simple. We often struggle mentally without realising, and without anyone noticing. The way we think can easily impact our mental health, and it can be tough to break out of negative thought patterns.  

It’s perfectly normal to have negative thoughts, but they can become distressing when they start impacting your daily life. There is a variety of reasons as to why we might have them. Negative thoughts can come from stress, confidence issues, and even deeper mental health problems like anxiety and depression. 

Luckily, there are ways you can tackle your negative thoughts. This article will give you some guidance on how to challenge your negative thinking. 

Read Now: Better your Brain through Neuroplasticity and Positive Thinking 

Focus on The Thought Itself 

Take time to acknowledge your negative thoughts.

It might sound counteractive to focus on your negative thoughts. But the truth is, if you decide to ignore them by pushing them away, they’ll still come back. To make things worse, it’s likely that they’ll come back stronger than before and could become even more intrusive than they were previously. 

Allow yourself a little time each day to focus on these thoughts. Committing your focus to them, can help you to understand where they are coming from. Taking a moment to acknowledge them will prevent you from bottling up your emotions.  

Identify the Thoughts 

Now that you’re allowing yourself some time to focus on the thoughts themselves, the next thing to do is to identify them. This is not just the negativity, but the cognitive distortions created from them. Cognitive distortion is a more technical way of saying thought patterns, meaning you’ll be understanding why you think about those thoughts in the way that you do. 

There are multiple ways in which you may develop negative thoughts and thought patterns, which include (but are not limited to): 

  • Catastrophising – Assuming the worst is always going to happen, and not considering more realistic or likely outcomes. 
  • Blaming yourself –  Assuming you’re at fault for something that happened or might shortly take place. 
  • Jumping to conclusions – Making assumptions about something that will happen or what someone is going to think. 
  • Labelling – An identification method where we describe ourselves or the people around us. For example, you might not be good at cooking and label yourself as a “terrible cook”. This will then make you feel pessimistic about any activities that would require that skill. 
  • Overgeneralisation – If you’ve had one bad experience, you’ll develop a tendency to apply that to future experiences you’ll face. This can fuel your negative thoughts, increasing anxiety and making it seem as though another bad experience could happen again. 

Read Now: How to Overcome the Fear of Rejection

Stop Saying “Should” 

Remember what you are capable of!

‘Should’ is a dangerous word to use if you’ve been finding yourself experiencing a negative outlook on life. 

Saying “should” implies that what you’re already doing is bad – “I should eat fruit instead of crisps”, “I should walk or jog instead of driving to where I need to be later”, and “I should stop thinking about this” are all just a few examples of how we apply that one word to a problem.  

The constant use of “should” will lead to you developing a sense of guilt for not carrying out the actions or tasks which you know would be more useful for you. 

The solution is simple: replace “should” with more positive phrases. “I am going to eat fruit instead of crisps”, “I will walk or jog to where I need to be later”, and “I want to stop thinking about this and focus on something else” are all statements with an optimistic and determined approach opposed to the original’s pessimistic and not enthused attitude. 

Keep a Diary 

Keeping track of your thoughts is not an easy process. If anything, the mind can best be described as being non-linear. So how can we keep our thoughts organised enough to understand them? 

By using a diary or journal to jot down what those thoughts are, we’ll be able to understand not just why we’re thinking about them, but why we react the way we do when they suddenly occur. After this, we can learn what we’re being negative about and figure out how to be positive from then on. 

Read Now: A Guide to Handling Criticism

To Sum Up…

It can be hard to manage our thoughts, especially when they are negative. But it’s important to remember exactly what they are: they are thoughts, not facts! By following these simple tips, you will be able to reduce the negative thoughts you have and manage them in a better way. This is just one step in creating a more positive outlook on life.

If you’d like more advice on this particular topic, or perhaps another one altogether, don’t hesitate to contact us today at Ceed. 

Neuroplasticity: Better Your Brain with Positive Thinking

When we think about how the brain develops, it may seem like common sense that development stops after childhood. We all grow up with the understanding that at around eighteen, our personality traits are set in stone, our learning ability slows down and we become ‘us’ for good. 

Traditional forms of therapy are built on this view, often characterising us as doomed to repeat patterns throughout our lives. But over the past thirty years, neuroplasticity has informed modern behavioural therapy and come to transform how we understand the brain.  

Get a fresh outlook with neuroplasticity!

The most popular form of modern therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), focuses on changing patterns of thought and behaviour through repetition – by tapping into neuroplasticity.

When we understand how neuroplasticity works, we can see that positive thinking isn’t just a buzzword. Our happiness, outlook and sense of self can change dramatically through how we choose to use our brains.  

Read Now: A Happy Diet: 9 Foods Proven to Lift Your Mood

What is Neuroplasticity? 

Something has plasticity when it can be bent, shaped and altered. Neuroplasticity describes the changeable nature of our brains. 

The building blocks of our brains are neurons, which connect to form neural pathways. These pathways pass information around the brain, constantly firing in different combinations. A pathway grows stronger when we use it more and weaker when we use it less, much like a muscle can grow stronger or waste away.

When we feel hopeful, neurons responsible for hope fire together and bond, creating a stronger pathway. So, the more we feel hopeful, the stronger that pathway grows and the more our brain will take that well-exercised route.  

Positive mental habits can guide us through life!

Positive Thinking – Not Just a Buzzword 

Positive thinking has a bad reputation with many as just a surface-level fix for problems. However, neuroplasticity and an understanding of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) show us that positive thinking has the right idea

Thanks to neuroplasticity, we know that the brain can make dramatic changes at any point in our lifetime if we change our environment and what we input enough.

Thinking positive thoughts alone is unlikely to create lasting change, especially if you’re coming from a rut, or a place of feeling stuck. Instead, creating a structure to exercise your brain in this way can produce visible effects and help you to persevere.  

Read Now: How to Uncover Inspiration

3 Ways to Think Positive

When done right, positive thinking can call on little-used neural pathways and form brand new connections, drastically changing our experience of life.  

Here are three ways to use positive thinking and neuroplasticity. 

1. Daily Gratitude  

Taking time daily to cultivate gratitude is an effective and short-term way to see a meaningful shift in mindset. Daily gratitude involves spending time listing aloud or preferably writing down the things you are grateful for.  

You should ideally do this once a day, either morning or night.  It can include big, sweeping statements about your life, or very small things like the pen you’re writing with. Begin each sentence with “I am grateful for”, for example: 

  • I am grateful for the dinner I ate this evening.
  • I am grateful for the sun coming out on my way home today.
  • I am grateful for the people in my life.
Expressing gratitude trains the brain to look for the good in life.

Spending time focusing on gratitude practices framing life in a positive light. It’s less about creating a well-written list that will stand the test of time, and more about spending time actively looking for the good around us.  

In time, expressing gratitude for life daily rewires the brain to place its focus on what makes us happy, rather than what’s not enough in our lives.  

2. Reframing Difficult Situations  

When faced with a problem, the best thing to do is to work out how to tackle it. Instead of jumping to negative dead-end conclusions, try to break down the problem at hand and perceive it in a manageable way. By doing so, the brain learns to creatively find answers and solutions.   

A great way of making difficult situations more manageable is to try interpreting them in a different way. For example, instead of becoming frustrated when your route home is delayed, you could choose to focus instead on how you have more time to listen to that new podcast you’ve been meaning to tune into. Or perhaps you could take a different route home and experience something new.  

The more we can adopt an optimistic approach to our everyday problems, the better. With practice, you’ll find that your brain is less likely to go down negative pathways in the future. 

Read Now: How to Get Out of a Funk

3. Repeating Positive Affirmations  

A positive affirmation is a phrase you can say to yourself to remind yourself of your value and ability. Positive affirmations move your thinking along a neural pathway connected to a positive feeling such as hope, self-belief or love, and strengthen these pathways

They are both useful to repeat when you find yourself agreeing with negative thoughts about yourself, and when you are feeling confident and optimistic, in order to reinforce this outlook

In order for an affirmation to work, the brain has to really believe it, and this means tailoring affirmations to apply to your experience rather than something generic. Here are some tips to find personal affirmations that your brain truly believes:   

Boost your mindset with positive affirmations!
  • List a few of your good qualities – “I am…”  
  • Identify a problem you are facing, what qualities are needed to tackle it, and affirm that you have those qualities – “I can…”  
  • Think about something you’d like to achieve – “I will…”  

Read Now: How to Improve Your Productivity with Neuroplasticity

To Sum Up… 

Neuroplasticity brings the wonderful knowledge that far more is possible than we thought. The science of neuroplasticity shows us an optimistic view of human nature with a real sense of opportunity.  

By creating a structure around yourself that supports thinking and acting in joyful, positive ways, you can build a dynamic and happy brain able to take on any challenge. 

Related Articles

Need help building new habits and making a change in your lifestyle? Feel free to reach out and contact us at Ceed today! 

Learn More About Ceed

We’re on a mission to help every individual achieve their potential