All of us go through negative thinking at some point of time or we can say almost daily. Thoughts come and go, some of the thoughts are negative and few of them are positive. But when it becomes difficult to control the never-ending spiral of negative thinking, it makes the mind totally negative. If you become aware of the situation, then only you can think of how to get out of a negative mindset.
We are shaped by our thoughts; We become what we think. When the mind is pure joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. Buddha
What is a negative mindset?
If you start getting negative thoughts which are difficult to control and they persist, you will create a negative mindset. This situation prompts you to think negative in every situation.
Sometimes you cannot even differentiate the negative thoughts from other thoughts. Along with anxiety and stress, a negative mindset can wreak havoc on our lives.
Examples of a negative mindset
There are many types of negative thoughts that make your mindset negative. Few examples are,
Thinking too much about past
If you find yourself thinking about the past too much and feeling embarrassed about something you did, you may be developing a negative mindset.
Change this thought: Past is past and mistakes are to learn and move forward.
I am good at nothing
If this is the thought that always comes to your mind, change it. I know it is not easy to break the destructive thoughts, but can be replaced with a better one. You may not be as successful as you want or you may be experiencing difficulties, but that doesn’t change your worthiness.
Change this thought: I am worthy of everything and good enough to accomplish everything.
I have bad luck
There is nothing like good or bad luck. But there is certainly one thing which makes a difference, “what you say to yourself when you talk to yourself”.
Say positive things to your self and talk in a positive manner.
Change this thought: I always get the right opportunities at the right time and grab them successfully.
How to get out of a negative mindset
If you think that you are turning your mind into negativity, stop and try to find out the ways to get out of it. If not controlled it may lead to serious repercussions. It may affect your overall health, relationships, professional health and much more.
1. Recognise the negative thoughts
Recognising your thought pattern is the first step for changing how you think. Negative thoughts are the repetitive thoughts that cause fear, anxiety and unpleasant emotions. Thoughts come and go, some of them are positive and some are negative.
I feel negative thoughts stay longer in the mind. They have that power to overpower positive thoughts. When you learn to recognise that your mind is moving towards the never-ending dark tunnel of negative thoughts, you will be able to control them.
How to do: When a negative thought occurs, step back and don’t let it take the centre stage. This is called ‘Cognitive Diffusion‘. It is the process of looking at thoughts instead of getting caught in them. Let the thought come and go and watch it moving through the mind.
2. Ask do I want to be happy or miserable
This one works really well. I start questioning myself whenever I sense that I am getting into a negative mindset. During this type of state, I stop enjoying anything else. Negative thoughts are so powerful that they totally control the mind.
Question yourself, is the thought so important that you have stopped cherishing anything else? Do you want to be in this miserable state forever? Is this the actual situation or just a thought?
Of course, you don’t want to be unhappy. This shift of thought will help you come out of the negative thinking pattern. This will not happen in a single day. You have to consciously practise it and teach your mind to ask a question every time a negative thought come and try to take hold of your mind.
3. Surround yourself with positive people
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Jim Rhon
Hang out with people who make you happy. Some people are like parasites, they suck out happiness from you, make you feel miserable. You may call them Vampires who suck energy and happiness out of you. On the other hand, good people make you happy and motivate you to do better in life.
Positive people have a kind of aura around them which makes you happy. I have few friends like this which makes me so energised whenever I talk to them.
4. Reframe your thinking
Reframing your thoughts helps a lot. But it is helpful only when you can recognise that the negative thought is making you miserable. Suppose you are having a job interview and your thoughts are saying that you will not be able to crack it.
First, recognise the negative aspect of thought, then reframe it this way: “I am totally qualified for this job, will do my best, will answer all the questions with confidence. This is all I can do.” I am sure your mind will be in a much better position to crack the interview.
This can be implied to other situations of life too.
5. Talk to somebody
If you feel that negative thoughts are making your life too hard, talk to somebody. Talking to your friends or family members can help you throw negative thoughts out of your mind.
They may help you see the other side of the situation. During the bouts of negativity, your constrictive thinking may take a backseat. Friends (I swear by this) and family members can help you a lot. You may be able to find a solution to the problem and make an action plan.
6. Be mindful of the present
Whatever the mind can conceive and believe it, it can achieve. Napoleon Hill
Negative thinking is fueled by past thoughts or by worrying for the future. Questions like ‘why this happened to me’ and what will happen in future can make you worry. Also, past situations can make you believe that you will only get bad things in future.
To change this, stop thinking and start feeling your present. Remember, you only have this moment with you. Anything can happen next moment. Do this simple exercise
- Bring your attention to now
- Take a few deep breaths and close your eyes
- Or take a walk outside if possible, look around you.
- Cherish the moment and compare if the negative thought is important or your present moment
7. Start Journaling your thoughts
This is the best step you can take to diminish the negative thinking. When you start journaling your thoughts, it becomes easy to differentiate between negative and positive thoughts.
Brain dump helps a lot by taking the burden off your mind. By writing your thoughts, you will be more inclined towards finding the solutions to any problem. And it will be easy to shoo off those thoughts that are just thoughts.
8. Write 3 positives in your life
You may be miserable now but at some point in your life, you might have felt happy about the positive things happening in your life. Write at least three positives that happened in your life.
This is a powerful exercise to shift your mind from negative to positive.
9. Pay gratitude for the blessings
If you are feeling low and your negative thinking is spiralling into a never-ending dark tunnel, start paying gratitude for the blessings in your life. We always take some things taken for granted.
Our own health, relationships, family, job, house or anything. Just feel happy about anything you have in your life. I am sure you will be able to find many things to feel happy about.
10. Start your day with positive thoughts
Make it a habit to start your day with positive thoughts. I know it is difficult to do this when you are having a negative mindset. But believe me, starting your day on a positive note have a tremendous effect on how your mindset becomes.
Always replace your thoughts of fear with hope and belief. This will let you take control of your whole day.
11. Start meditation
Meditation is magical in changing your thinking patterns. As we all know, meditation is the act of paying attention to the present. While in a meditative position, we become aware of our thoughts, and what is going on in our brains. This helps to differentiate between a positive and negative thought.
Awareness of thoughts helps in replacing the negative thought with a positive one.
These are simple but powerful steps which can help you in taming your negative mindset.
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