Sick of negative thoughts and worry taking over? No one can be positive 100 percent of the time and we are naturally programmed to have negative thoughts. ‘Negativity bias’ explains that we give more attention to negative events than positive, an evolutionary response designed to keep you safe and protected. However in today’s world they cause more harm than good.
Every word you say and thought you think becomes a blueprint that your mind works to turn into reality. So learning to understand and ‘hack’ your mind, and change your internal dialogue can help to reduce the mental and physical distress caused by these negative thought loops.
5 Ways to Reduce the Power of Negative Thoughts.
1.Allow (don’t try to stop it) and Identify the negative thought. The goal is not to try ‘remove’ all negative thoughts – they are a normal part of being human. It is a matter of separating yourself from them and not buying into the story.
2. Labelling thoughts can help us to understand our repeating loop patterns, thus making it easier to notice when they are showing up. Here are some common cognitive distortions to be aware of:
- ‘Should’ statements – ‘I should be able to cope with this better than I am.’
- Jumping to conclusions – ‘I’m going to embarrass myself on stage!’
- Catastrophising – I’ll never find a boyfriend and i’ll be alone forever.
- Overgeneralisation – When not winning the raffle you think; “Typical, I never win anything.”
- Labelling yourself – ‘I’m such a loser’.
3. Evaluating the accuracy of the thought and finding evidence to the contrary can help your brain to weaken the power of the thought and make the next step a whole lot more believable for your brain. For this, choose a thought and write down at least 2 examples that prove the thought wrong. Eg. I’m terrible at talking to guys: 1. I have guy mates that I talk to easily. 2. I had no trouble meeting my ex and can talk when needed.
4. Reframe: Use the CBT technique of cognitive restructuring/reframing. This stems from the idea that your brain is listening and believes whatever you tell it. So have a go at flipping the words around to be beneficial for your growth. The more you do it the more natural it will feel. Eg. All my plans are ruined = Plans change and I am learning to adapt.
5. Practice mindfulness: Spend 1 minute imagining your thoughts like objects flowing down a river. As each object floats by notice it, but you don’t get stuck on it. This teaches our brain to separate ourself from our thoughts and will make it easier for you to recognise when a negative thought loop has appeared and when to put your strategies in place. It is also just a lovey feeling to allow your brain a moment of peace.
Including these in a daily routine will start creating a powerful shift. Negative thoughts will still appear from time to time. That’s OK! Think of them as an opportunity to practice your new habit and soon it will be second nature.
Enjoyed this blog? Leave a message and let me know. Your feedback and questions help guide future blogs.