4 Simple Ways to Deal with Negative Thinking
It happens to everyone. One nasty, negative thought settles into your mind and—prepare for impact. The more you ponder it, the more negativity seems to spin off of it. Inevitably, you lose your footing in the momentum and before you know it, you’re spinning in an internal vortex of doom and demise—all in the time it took you to make a pot of coffee.
We’ve all succumbed to moments, perhaps long bouts, when our minds become overwhelmed with negativity. It is a part of being human. However, that doesn’t mean we all have to walk around bemoaning our half-empty cups all the time. There is a powerful force that can stop negativity in its tracks—it’s your mind.
Yes, that same intricate web of thoughts and consciousness and emotions that got you into this mess has the unique power to get you out. You are in charge of your own thoughts and you can consciously decide to change them. While there is something masochistically enjoyable about watching yourself descend into a mental abyss, dwelling in negativity isn’t serving your overall wellbeing. You need to make a conscious effort to change your mind. But how does one even begin to do that? Unless you are a master of yogic thought, here are four tricks to help you change your thought patterns and get out of that mental rip tide when it tries to suck you out to sea:
Journal in a Book of Positive Thinking
It is well known that journaling helps us unload all of our mental nonsense onto a page to clear up our headspace. However, it is an important practice to also keep a journal of exclusively positive thoughts. Whether you express gratitude, excitement or marvel at your life’s sheer awesomeness, starting each day by recording the positive aspects of your life is a great way to keep the momentum rolling in the right direction. Give it a try for a week. It is highly effective.
Listen to a song with a positive message.
On repeat. Whenever I begin to have conflicting thoughts about my body image or am feeling a little self-loathing bubbling up, I listen to Kendrick Lamar’s “i”. The lyrics, “I love myself”, repeated over and over again as I sing-scream them at the top of my lungs, are an oddly comforting way to recenter my self. At its core, it is a song about self-love and self-empowerment. Who knew hip hop could be so healing? Find a song with a positive overall message that speaks to you, and listen to it over and over again. Sing it loud. Dance to it. Let it banish the negativity from your mind.
Say your thoughts out loud.
If you are thinking, I used to be so much skinnier, I can’t believe I gained weight, vocalize your thought. Or, I’ve wasted so many years of my life not pursuing my passion and I’m a failure. Or, I burned the toast, I can’t do anything! Vocalizing your thoughts helps to put them in perspective and get them out of that mental toilet bowl. Hint: it helps if you use a funny-sounding voice. Try to embody Elmo or Sean Connery when you say your thoughts aloud to yourself. They’ll seem pretty silly in perspective and you may even begin to giggle.
Do something you love.
Take a nap. Meditate. Make an intricate doodle. Go for a nature walk. Do anything that can get you out of your head. Fill your life with love and positivity. The more you practice, the easier it will become.
Negativity may seem like a powerful force, but you are strong enough to overcome it. What do you do to thwart negative self talk? Share your ideas with the community below.