Disclaimer, I am not a medical professional nor a psychologist. Everything I share is from personal experiences and what I have observed. Use these tips as a tool to further your self-development journey.
Have you ever felt the need to talk negatively to yourself? You may have failed an exam, ruined a relationship, or made a situation awkward. As a result, you decide to punish yourself mentally.
Albeit, few individuals have honed the skill to turn negative thinking into a catalyst to propel themselves positively. However, for most individuals, we harbor negative thoughts and gradually allow them to control our lives.
Without control of our mindsets, we can spiral into a plethora of mental illnesses. Feeding these negative thoughts could offset depressive episodes, immense anxiety, or self-loathing.
Now, I am not negating the presence of mental illnesses. We all suffer differently, ranging from past traumas, being exceedingly stressed, poor eating habits (lack of nutrition), terminal illnesses, or lack of exercise.
Despite each individual’s battle with their mental illness, we must overcome challenges against our negative thinking from within. If we continue to spur on those depraved thoughts of ourselves, we make no progress from our daily attempts to escape our depressive mental prisons.
For me, I lived most of my life with a pessimistic attitude. Believing in the worst before pinpointing the best. Resulting in a stagnant mindset that created excuses for the mistakes I made, rather than growing from them. I became more depressed because I fed my mind with toxic views of myself.
Therefore, I want to share with you the three ways I have identified the start of negative thinking and how I remove the ‘nega’ from the ‘tive’; and replace it with ‘posi’. (Apologies for my dry humor, that was a joke)
1 | Sudden Mood Swings
When your mood switches, it indicates that your thought patterns have changed. For example, I experienced times when my mood drastically changed from one negative trigger, whether it be words, actions, or situations that arise.
There will be times when your subconscious thoughts temporarily controls your conscious mind. You could be thinking of reaching out to a friend, then the painful memory of how they left you on read two days ago returns.
Consequently, you find yourself spending the weekend alone. Then the negative thoughts swarm our minds, “can we actually trust that friend?” Our thoughts begin to grow more negatively, soon you will be messaging less friends when you allow your thoughts to control your actions.
Albeit, every powerful enemy has an identifiable weak point. Mood swings typically follow a predictable pattern; it often changes when we are stressed, anxious, or reminded of a past experience to name a few.
2 | Excessive Idle Time
Evidently, suffering from constant negative thinking has brought you here. Resulting from having excess time to spare. Besides, you are probably spending that unproductive time excessively thinking.
I have expressed in my previous blogs that I am a chronic procrastinator, I quickly become bored. Therefore, finding something to occupy my time becomes a necessity.
Instead of finding something productive to do, I binge-watch a TV show or listen to hours of music. When a moment of silence interrupts my distracted mind, I begin to profusely think. Initiating a depressive state that I must remedy with my procrastinating tasks.
Like a muscle, the brain only strengthens what you train. When we fail to preoccupy our minds constructively, it becomes a breeding ground for negativity. Scrolling endlessly through Instagram leads to thoughts of jealousy and envy. “It appears Suzy always travels to exotic places, and I am stuck here.” These are some thoughts that may begin to fill your idle mind.
Then you spend your idle time negatively reflecting, creating a toxic habit that destroys your time in worrying. You may begin spiral into depression or anxiety, and now you have lost all your energy to do anything, moreover remaining idle.
3 | Your emotions become visible
I often wear my emotions on my face, an aspect that I struggle to control. It is a perfect indicator of when my mindset has stumbled to anxious, weary, or depraved thoughts.
My friends, co-workers, and family can readily identify when I am joyful or bothered. This is my Achilles heel, a blessing, and a curse that I grapple with to be mentally free. Oddly, others can recognize when my mind escapes to a distant thought, yet I become entranced unintentionally.
For example, someone would notice my change in demeanor, telling me that I appear to be off. Consciously, I am not cognitively aware of this change. Sub-consciously the negativity has began to develop.
For those of us who suffer from persistent negative thinking, visibly wearing our emotions can make us a target. Unfortunately, people could use our visible emotions to take advantage of us, leading to circumstances that foster the pessimistic mind. We have to be mindful of our emotional state and who we allow to view our sincere expression.
Additional Tools to Combat Negative Thinking
While I was doing a bit of research on this topic, I came across two articles that peaked my interests. It was the first time I researched mindfulness and negative thinking. Definitely an eye-opener and gave me insights that helped me for a week.
After observing that some of the methods worked for me, I understood that these things require practice and will encourage me to improve myself. Therefore, while you take this journey on Self-Development, remember that it takes repetitive action.
The first article is on Cognitive Restructuring. Cognitive Restructuring could be useful to those who struggle with pessimistic thinking, so using this tool will assist in reverting our minds on negative thoughts. It teaches you to change how you feel about what you think affects you.
The second article is based on 4 Keys to Overcoming Negative Thinking. The following four keys listed in this article are, recognize thought patterns, return to your senses, practice mindfulness, and question unhelpful thoughts.
I sincerely hope that these tips can help you in your future endeavors of fighting against negative thinking. Negative thoughts only become powerful when you feed it. Continue to research ways to address negative thinking and develop a healthier mindset.
Please share your thoughts on negative thinking in the comments below. How has negative thinking affected you in the past?
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