Negative thoughts are associated with negative feelings such as sadness, anxiety, anger, low self-esteem, stress, social anxiety and hopelessness. We’re not always aware of our negative thoughts as they occur automatically and they can seem reasonable and believable.
Worrying about financial or relationship problems or feeling sad about something is normal and is something that we all do and go through from time to time. It’s when those feelings and thoughts are repetitive and persistent that problems can arise. Our thoughts, emotions and behaviours are all linked.
The key to changing your negative thoughts is to understand how you are thinking now (and the problems that result from the negative thinking). Then use strategies to change these thoughts or make them have less of an effect.
Unhelpful thinking patterns differ in subtle ways. But they all involve distortions of reality and irrational ways of looking at situations and people. Become aware of how your thoughts are impacting your emotions and behaviours. Be aware that anxious or negative thoughts can increase your anxiety.
And notice your thoughts.
- Is the thought realistic?
- Is the thought helpful?
- Does the thought have a purpose?
- How does the thought make you feel?
Now that you have noticed the thought, you can identify it as an unhelpful thought and can accept the thought for what it is. Remind yourself that it’s just a thought and not a fact.
And you can actively challenge the thought and look for alternative explanations.
- Think of what you’d gain versus what you’d lose by continuing to believe the thought.
- Consider what you’d tell a friend having the same thought
- Try to focus on the positive to help combat the negative thought patterns – if realistic. Shifting your thinking to something more helpful can result in forgetting the thought you were trying to stop.
Moving towards positive, helpful thoughts is much more effective than trying to sit and not think unhelpful thoughts. Actively giving a positive spin to events will help boost your mood. Ask yourself what’s a more balanced and upbeat way of thinking?
Mindfulness and meditation can be helpful in reducing the tension you would feel while wrestling with unhelpful thoughts. Physical exercise can also be helpful. Our brain doesn’t like to do the slow, tiring work involved in deep thinking. As you begin to walk faster, your brain is more likely to drop the unhelpful thoughts to stay focused on your exercise routine.
Try to remember that we are all responsible for our own lives and have the power to change how the future turns out.
We all have negative thoughts from time to time. However, when the majority of your thoughts are negative, you are undermining your happiness at the end of the day. Our thoughts directly affect how we feel and, therefore, what we do in life.
If you’re feeling sad and are overwhelmed with negative thoughts, hypnotherapy can help to reduce stress and anxiety and help you to focus on the positive things in your life.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book your free initial consultation or call 07904 500307.