With so many things that are happening around us in this increasingly busy, it is now very easy to get discouraged and let us succumb to negative thoughts.
Negative thoughts can be very dangerous and harmful, and when not managed can lead us to an unproductive mindset and even unhealthy life. Ignoring negative thoughts can let them grow into stress, anxiety, and even depression, which in turn can severely affect our social life and productivity in life.
The good news is, we can change these negative thoughts into positive ones. By understanding the way our mind processes information, we can start to implement strategies that can help transform the negative mindset into positive thoughts. Slowly but surely, your mind will adjust to the new way of thinking and have a positive mindset that will produce F outcomes.
Here, we will learn how.
Positive Thoughts: General Principle
Rather than focusing on reducing or eliminating negative thoughts, it’s generally more effective to encourage positive thoughts and make them a habit.
Having positive thoughts essentially means you change how you approach conflict, unpleasantness, or any negative thoughts and channeling them into a more productive way. The simplest approach is to think something along the line of “this too shall pass”, believing that the best is yet to come.
Self-encouraging thoughts can be a great start to mend your negative mindset. By doing so, you become aware of how your mind produces negative suggestions, and so you can try to break this habit. When you start to fill your mind with self-encouraging thoughts, you’ll start to produce an optimistic mindset, and eventually, you’ll be able to change your way of thinking into a positive vibe.
Below, we will have a more in-depth discussion on how we can do this.
How Can You Change Your Thinking Habits
Transforming your negative thinking habits so that you can consistently generate positive thoughts is certainly not as easy as it sounds, but it is also not impossible either.
As long as you have the will to change yourself for the better, you can definitely start to think positively.
Here are some actionable tips you can use to change your thinking habits:
Mindfulness: Be Aware of Your Thoughts
First, we have to understand that we are not always aware of our own thoughts, and without awareness (mindfulness), our mind can corrupt our thoughts.
Negative thoughts can be harmful, causing you to feel grief all the time. However, by being aware of how your own thinking works for you, we can consciously stop the negative thoughts and channel them into positive ones instead. This is the basic principle of mindfulness, and there are several forms of negative thoughts you should be mindful of:
In this case, your mind jumps to the worst possible scenario and can only focus on the potential disaster ahead. You can’t see the positive side of the event, and so this kind of negative thinking often leads people to be reluctant to try new things and is a major cause of anxiety.
- Zooming on the negative
Your thoughts are focused on negative things, for example, the thoughts might magnify past embarrassing experiences, which may cause you to take the wrong decisions. By focusing only on the negatives, we may end up disregarding anything that is useful to you, so it’s important to be aware of these types of negative thoughts and try to filter them so you can see better in a neutral or positive stance.
- Playing victim
Yes, the “it’s not fair” attitude can be categorized as a negative thought, and in fact one of the most harmful ones. In this case, you start to think that each letdown or grief that happens in your life is caused by others, and you always think that there is no justice in the world. It’s important to be mindful of such thoughts, and embrace the fact that you can make mistakes (and it’s okay), and you are willing to take responsibility for your past, present, and future actions.
- The “I can’t” habit
One of the most dangerous types of negative thoughts is when you always think that you aren’t capable of achieving anything and giving up at every opportunity. This attitude will only fill your thoughts with anxiety, sadness, and even loneliness.
This kind of thinking will corrupt your mind, and will only ruin your mindset further. It’s important to start being mindful of these thoughts and attempt to take control. This is one of the best ways to overcome these negative thoughts and change your way of thinking.
Related Reading: How Do My Thoughts, Beliefs, and Actions Affect My Outcomes? – Opens in new tab.
Challenge Your Thoughts
Now that we are mindful and aware that our thoughts can be wrong, the next step is to challenge our thoughts objectively.
Whenever any negative thoughts appear in your mind, doubt them and challenge them. By focusing on having a positive mindset, you can have a more objective judgment of your own thoughts, which can help you sustain your positivity.
As you adopt a positive mindset, you will also transform your thoughts pattern into a more positive one. This way, your inner thoughts will then start building a “room” where you can objectively justify every thought that you are aware of, giving you the strength to doubt and challenge the negative thoughts that occur.
By doubting these negative thoughts, you’ll also remove the anxiety, stress, and depression produced by these negative thoughts effectively.
We can challenge these negative thoughts by asking ourselves critical but self-loving questions such a:
- Am I making this mistake deliberately?
- Am I really a bad person?
- What positive side of the story can I focus on?
- What can I make the best out of this situation
- How can I be grateful for this moment?
- How can I view this from a better perspective?
Challenging your thoughts can help you remove the shackles of negativity and refocus your mind towards positivity. You can also transform your positive answers into actual actions, that will lead to a more meaningful life.
Write It Out
If you still find it difficult to manage negative thoughts, writing them out can be an effective way. You can write your thoughts onto a journal or diary, or if you don’t want to use pen-and-paper, you can write it out on Word, Google Docs, Evernote, or other digital document tools.
Writing the negative thoughts can help us unload the burden, and can also help us in exploring the thoughts to become more aware of them. You can also challenge the thoughts (as discussed above) in a written manner, write out your questions and your answers to represent your inner debate.
This can allow you to process the thoughts carefully, acknowledging what you are thinking, and counter the negative thoughts. By self-analyzing yourself in your written notes, you can further remove the negative mindset from your life.
Related reading: Gratitude Journal (What is, Benefits, What to write, Step by Step Guide) – Opens in new tab
Controlling Your Thoughts and Feelings: Tips and Tricks
Gaining control of your mind is very important in maintaining positive thoughts. If you can’t control your thoughts, you’ll be more easily overwhelmed by negative thoughts that may result in stress, depression, and other mental health issues.
A controlled mind can help you overcome any negative bursts and adjust your feelings, and here are several tips to help you achieve that:
- Embrace a growth mindset
According to Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (Aff.link), there are two kinds of mindsets: fixed mindset and growth mindset. People with the fixed mindset believe that their characters and qualities are carved in stone, but the growth mindset is the belief that you can change and cultivate better qualities through your efforts.
Having the growth mindset is important if you really want to transform your negative thoughts into positive ones: you believe that you can manage your mind better, and eventually, you’ll develop the mindset that you can achieve more. This will effectively remove your negative thoughts and assumptions.
- Put yourself in a relaxing environment
In order to more easily control our thoughts and feelings, a good and relaxing environment will significantly help. Use the tools necessary to make you feel more relaxed: relaxing music, have your own “me-time” room designed for relaxation, scented candle and aromatherapy, and so on. Find something that works for you, if you feel more relaxed when walking in parks or running on the beach, do so.
Meditation can especially help you in achieving mindfulness and become more aware of your thoughts. There are various types of meditation techniques you can choose from, so choose one that works for you.
Meditation will help you control and direct your mind’s energy into more positive purposes, and aside from helping you control your mind, meditation will also help you relieve the burden and negative thoughts that might be dwelling inside your mind.
Aim to meditate regularly, start from 20 to 30 minutes every day, and increase the time once you’ve got comfortable with the exercise.
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Featured Image by Gerd Altmann & Yakir from Pixabay