6 Effective Ways To Stop Negative Thinking
Do you suffer from negative thinking and negative self talk that affects your feelings and actions? You are not alone! Like so many of us our internal voice can be extremely damaging to our self-esteem, mental health and confidence. How can we quiet this voice and change our thought cycle? Here are 6 techniques to stop negative thinking and negative self talk which can be applied in any situation.
#1 Take Charge With Your Positive Voice
The things we say to ourselves and the way we can punish ourselves can be vicious at times. We talk to ourselves in ways we wouldn’t find acceptable if it came from someone else.
Responding and leading with your positive voice is a great way to regain control and set your path as you move forward. For example, you can develop some positive affirmations that you believe in, which can be used at moments of negative thinking and negative self talk. Affirmations such as “I am lucky to have my body, it keeps me safe and healthy”, “I will reward my body by eating delicious food and getting regular exercise”, “I am allowed to enjoy food”, “I am allowed a rest day”. Personalise your affirmations by thinking about what makes you feel more positive, more empowered and more in control.
You can then decide what actions you will take to consolidate your positive affirmations. Whether that be doing some exercise, taking a relaxing bath, cooking a healthy meal or setting some goals. You got this! Talk to yourself with respect and admiration; at the end of the day your body is the only one you have for the rest of your life.
#2 Understand The Triggers To Negative Thinking
What has triggered the negative thinking and self talk? Sometimes it can feel like it comes out of nowhere however usually a trigger has been pushed and it is so important for us to try and identify what those triggers are. For example, you may have been trying on clothes which then lead to the self talk “I hate my body, why can’t I lose weight, nothing fits me!”, or maybe you just finish a meal when you suddenly find yourself saying “you didn’t need to eat that, don’t eat tomorrow”.
When you understand the trigger you can begin to dissect the thinking and negative voice that resulted from it; in order to stop the cycle of negative thinking. You can ask yourself some questions such as:
- Is it helpful to think like this, how is this making me feel?
- Are there any alternative ways of thinking about this?
- Am I overreacting to this situation?
- What advice would I give someone else who feels like this?
Identifying the triggers can help you to change the thought cycle and reduce the negative feeling associated with the thought. For more information on this we have linked in a useful article on thought triggers here.
#3 Meditation And Mindfulness
Mediation is a great way for us to mute the negative self talk and ignore the negative thoughts. It encourages us to clear our minds and be still with ourselves. What does this mean in practice? Start small and build up is the best way to practice meditation. Sit quietly and calmly for as long as you can manage, clear away your thoughts whilst controlling your breathing and connecting with your body. You can practice meditation as many times a day as you like and especially when you feel any negativity creeping in.
Alternatively, mindfulness works by encouraging us to maintain focus on one activity at a time and to let go of passing thoughts. For example mindful eating is enjoying and savouring the flavours, textures and nutrients from the food and to disengage with the negative voice and thoughts that tell us otherwise. Mindfulness is a great tool used to relieve anxiety in all day to day activities.
Exercise has so many benefits to our mental health and overall wellbeing. In addition to the physical benefits of exercise, it promotes positive mental health. Exercise encourages the release of the hormone endorphin. Endorphins is our feel good hormone which can reduce stress, depression, anxiety and improve sleep, and our overall sense of euphoria. Regular exercise can be undertaken anywhere, anytime and not only a gym setting; including day to day household chores, walking outdoors, dancing or playing with the kids. You can also do exercise in short bursts, even a 7 minute workout can boost your mood for the whole day and ward off any negative thinking. Check out our articles on working out at home and workouts for beginners for some ideas to get you started.
#5 Each Day Is A New Opportunity
Try starting each day anew, fresh and motivated. You can do this by planning your day, for example what meals will you eat and what schedule or activity you have. This will help give a sense of control and reduce negative thinking which in turn will reduce stress, anxiety and boost your self-esteem and confidence.
#6 Talk To Someone You Trust
Finally and very importantly, never underestimate the power of talking to someone who you trust and who may also get it! Negative thinking is isolating. By sharing and talking to others, you not only get it off your chest but others may have words of wisdom that can make all the difference to your mindset.