Sometimes our thoughts are unwelcome and uninvited, and we feel as though there’s nothing we can do about it.
Negative thoughts can hold a strong impact on our lives, and can completely rule the way we feel and behave. When a negative thought first comes to mind, we don’t even notice that it is taking control of our thoughts and actions, and before we know it we have let it fester into our minds, and we’re left wondering why we feel so down in the dumps. In truth, the more we think about negative thoughts, the more they develop, and the more we dwell on them. This is commonly known as rumination, and it can be severely damaging for our mental health, and overall wellbeing. After all, what you think, you become.
With rumination, it is easy to feel like a prisoner in your own mind. You play the same negative thoughts on repeat, worsening them each time, and get to the point of feeling as though there is no escape. It is a completely internal battle; a fight with your own mind every day. However, despite how you may be feeling, it is possible to ‘wake up’ and get yourself out of this mindset, and it all starts with you. Negativity can be fought with positivity, in the same way that hate can be fought with love, darkness fought with light, and sadness fought with laughter. It is possible, and can be done by following these great steps!
Thank your mind.
This might sound like a strange idea. Your mind might be what has pulled you back for quite some time, and got you into the dumps that you’ve struggled to overcome. But you should thank your mind for worrying about you. It’s great that your mind is concerned about situations that could put you or others at harm, but that is when you need to take control. You can be appreciative of the dangers in the world, and how sometimes there is a negative outcome to a situation, but it is you who controls whether that outcome is. Your mind is a highly intelligent being, it has got you through life, right up to where you are now. And it will get you through the rest of your life. It is perfectly okay, and to be frank, quite normal to still have negative thoughts, as long as we divert from them, and act accordingly.
Don’t play the victim.
This is something I used to do all the time. I played the victim of my own mind. I told myself that I deserved to have these negative thoughts for some reason, and accepted that I was always going to be this negative person, with a negative outlook on life. This simply isn’t the truth, and waking up to this idea was the best thing I ever did. You are not the victim. You are the one in control of your thoughts – nobody else can construct them in your mind, but you. You hold the power to choose how to think, and changing this to a more positive perspective will undoubtedly create a significant difference in your life.
Don’t make everything a big deal.
When you snowball your negative thoughts, everything suddenly seems like a big deal. Whether it’s leaving the house 3 minutes later than normal, your car not starting as soon as you turn the key, or your makeup not going quite right today. Just because these small things occur on a day-to-day basis, that doesn’t mean the world is out to get you, despite what your mind might tell you. The bigger deal you make out of a situation, the bigger and bigger it will become in reality. Instead, accept that your mind has come to that conclusion, and remind yourself that it is not the end of the world.
Okay, this is an easy one. All of us have the physical capacity to smile, (although I must admit that some people don’t quite believe this to be true!) Smiling releases endorphins, just like when you eat chocolate. So there’s another bonus for you, you can feel just as good about yourself by smiling as you can by eating chocolate, so there’s no need to keep eating it as an excuse to make you happy! (Sorry to break it to you!) This sort of links to the above point. Smiling at others will radiate this positive energy, it will make others feel happier, and this will bounce back to you.
You are your worst critic.
Many of these negative thoughts that you’re having are completely made up in your own mind. This is what we call ‘hypothetical worries’, because they are worries that have little or no purpose, and are quite frankly not even real. These are what occur as a result of rumination. It is important to note that just because you have these lesser opinions of yourself and your situation, that doesn’t mean everyone else does too. People don’t really care about you in that sense; that is, they don’t care what you choose to say or do. At least not to the extent that you do. Dwelling on your own negative viewpoint is extremely damaging, so it is unnecessary for this to be a point of your concern.
Instead of dwelling on this negative thought, think immediately of something that you are grateful for. Altering your thought process to something more positive can immediately eradicate the negative thought. If you continue to do this with every negative thought that you have, you can shape your brain into responding this way for every future negative thought. Without even realising it, you will soon be a much happier person, and will have fewer and fewer negative thoughts. If you want to read more about the impact that gratitude can have on our lives, take a look at Operation Gratitude: A Life-Changing Attitude.
Help someone else.
When you’re feeling down in the dumps, this is the last thing you want to do. I can completely understand that. But being positive for the benefit of another is a great way to lift up your own spirits, without even realising that’s what you’re doing. We are so hard on ourselves. We are happy to help others, but when it comes to helping ourselves we sink back under the blanket, and shove our head back in the sand. If you were half as kind to yourself, and to your mind, as you were to others, then the odds are that you would be a much more positive person. Positivity breeds positivity, so helping another will ultimately help yourself. And besides, helping others will make you feel much happier. Spreading happiness and positivity breeds further similar emotions. I mean, science even proves it.
Question the thought.
When a negative thought pops into your mind, before allowing yourself to fully process it, question it. Is this a valid negative thought to have? What evidence or proof do you have that that thought is accurate? (Okay, this might be the inner law student coming out of me, but it works, I promise!) Before you know it, you’ll have successfully talked yourself out of that thought, after realising that it wasn’t true or wasn’t adding to your life in a positive way, and instead will have come to a far happier, more positive conclusion.
Remove external negativity.
I have found that my negativity usually stems from a few external sources. For instance, you might not like to hear it, but a hell of a lot of negativity breeds within our Twitter feeds. All people Tweet about is how awful their day has gone, complaining about something or other, and starting debates over pointless matters. It is a breeding ground for negativity, and I found that it was becoming unhealthy. Due to this, I took a little time-out from it, and I rarely use it even now. I noticed a huge difference in my general wellbeing. I wasn’t concerned about other people’s trivial negative issues, and I was able to focus on myself and my own mental health. If you are instantly aware of something that makes you feel in a similar way, take a time-out from it and see what impact it has!
Please get in touch or comment below if you need any help, guidance, or want to share any other useful tips about how to remove the negativity from your life!