6 Strategies for Stopping Negative Thinking and Developing Positivity in Life
Negative thinking has the potential to impact our lives in a significant manner. It can make us feel low and affect our confidence levels, leading to missed opportunities and a sense of helplessness. Many people believe that negative thinking is an inherent quality that cannot be changed, but that is a common misconception. Negative thinking is a habit that can be challenged and changed through knowledge, strategy, and behavior.
In this article, we will discuss six simple and actionable ways in which you can stop negative thinking and foster more positive attitudes in your life.
1. Develop a Consistent Sleeping Cycle
Negative thinking is a symptom of depression, which can be exacerbated by a lack of sleep or an irregular sleeping cycle. Therefore, it is essential to develop a healthy and sustainable sleep cycle that allows you to achieve a full eight hours of sleep every night. Commit to a routine that is based on your work schedule and allows you to wake up refreshed and energized.
2. Write Down Your Negative Thoughts in a Journal
Negative thoughts can be formless and ambiguous in our minds, making them difficult to quantify or resolve through verbal reasoning. Writing down our negative thoughts in a journal can help us translate them into words and give them actual meanings. It is essential to record our thoughts quickly and directly, focusing on expressing ourselves rather than attempting to phrase our thoughts logically. Once we have written down our thoughts, we can then review them and identify specific triggers or common themes. This process can also help us express our thoughts in an open manner, making it easier to manage relationships and resolve interpersonal issues.
3. Stop Thinking in Extremes
Negative thinking often causes us to think in extremes and imagine the worst-case scenarios when faced with a problem. This narrow-minded approach prevents us from embracing the subtle nuances of life and considering the positives that can be drawn from any situation. Instead of contriving a forced and entirely positive mindset, it is better to consider various positive and negative possibilities that exist within any given scenario. By creating a list of these possibilities, we can guide our thought processes and afford our brains viable alternatives to the extreme negative.
4. Deal with Facts and Stop Mind-Reading
Negative thinking can make us incapable of dealing with uncertainty. In stressful or unfamiliar situations, we tend to pre-empt certain events and apply meanings to them without significant facts. This can be described as mind-reading, and it fosters further negativity. The key is to gather facts and details relating to the situation and use them to make an informed judgement. Start with a scenario and state all the logical explanations in order of their relevance, using either a pen and paper or verbal reasoning. By listing realistic explanations, we can avoid the temptation to pre-empt negative outcomes and react impulsively.
5. Accentuate the Positive and Embrace it When it Does Happen
Negative thinking can cloud our judgment, even when a scenario ends with a positive outcome. We tend to minimise the positive and focus solely on the negative. Instead of doing so, we should celebrate any positive outcome and recognise the fact that there are others who have received less. Perception is the key here, as we should look to view negative occurrences as temporary and specific rather than permanent and pervasive. Instantly try to balance a negative thought or observation with a contrasting positive. This will help us develop a greater sense of perspective.
6. Re-frame Your Circumstances and Actively Seek Out Positives
There are scenarios that can be perceived as wholly negative, and this is the worst nightmare for anyone who is prone to negative thinking. The way to resolve this is to actively seek out positives by re-framing the circumstances and considering a perceived problem as a possible opportunity. Instead of focusing on what we may be missing out on, we can list the things that we can achieve while awaiting an outcome. By distracting ourselves from negative thoughts, we can search for positive resolutions and optimize our time.
In conclusion, negative thinking is a behavior that can be challenged and changed through knowledge, strategy, and behavior. Developing a consistent sleeping cycle, writing down negative thoughts in a journal, avoiding thinking in extremes, dealing with facts, accentuating the positive, and reframing circumstances are simple and actionable ways in which we can stop negative thinking and foster more positivity in our lives. By doing so, we can develop a more positive outlook that delivers significant rewards in our personal and professional lives.