What we say to ourselves can have an impact on our confidence and happiness. Unfortunately, we can become overly critical about ourselves and allow negative thinking to keep us stagnant in life. Worrying is completely normal for everyone, however, when you start having negative thoughts regularly, it can become an issue.
After going to therapy, I’ve learned ways I can get rid of negative thoughts and change my mindset. It’s not something that can be done overnight, it’s a daily challenge I have to face. If you want to start taking control of your mind, it’ll take time and patience. You have to be intentional about keeping your mind focused on the positive.
I want to share a few things I’ve been doing to reduce the amount of negativity in my mind. But first, let me hit you with the disclaimer:
This post shouldn’t be looked at as professional or medical advice. If you ever need help, please reach out to your doctor.
I feel like I’m the queen of worrying about any and everything. Some of the things I worry about don’t even end up happening. Overthinking is common because we want to make sure we always make the best decisions and have control over what happens in our life. However, overthinking can drain you and also have an impact on your mental and physical health.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make good decisions, however, there should be a limit. One thing I want to bring up from my previous blog post on How to Manage Anxiety and Depression is what my therapist told me: “Take 15 minutes each day to worry about anything you want. After those 15 minutes are up, it’s time to push those thoughts to the side and continue with your day.”
How is this effective? I’m glad you asked because I was confused when she gave me this tip! I used to have days where I’d worry all morning, afternoon, and night. Once I was ready to relax, I would be mentally and emotionally exhausted. Setting daily limits on my negative thoughts has helped me to stop worrying about situations I have no control over.
If you don’t have a clear answer or resolution for the problem you’re concerned about, then it’s something that can be addressed later.
Stop Thinking About the Past
This is probably the number one thing I struggle with. You may have those moments throughout the day where you think about the mistakes you’ve made years ago. I always think about what I should’ve done or said during that time. You wish that you could undo everything at that moment and handle it differently. Having those negative thoughts can lead to you feeling ashamed or guilty.
As you continue to think about the mistakes you’ve made, this won’t help with your growth. Instead of beating yourself up about it, try to figure out what lessons you can learn from the situation!
My therapist helped me realize sometimes it’s not that we need to forgive the other person, we have to forgive ourselves too—I think that’s the hardest part. Since you can’t turn back and fix certain mistakes, the only thing you can do is make sure it doesn’t happen again. Instead of it becoming a stumbling block, look at it as a step in the right direction to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes again.My therapist helped me realize that forgiving ourselves is important. Since you can't turn back and fix mistakes you've made, the only thing you can do is learn your lesson and make sure it doesn't happen again. Click To Tweet
Be Careful With Your “Circle”
I’ve become very selective with my friendships and relationships. What do you think will happen if you continue to spend time with people who bring nothing but negative energy? How would you feel being around people who try to gossip and talk negatively about others? Do you ever find yourself irritated or drained after hanging out with certain people?
It’s easier said than done to cut people out of your life, but sometimes it’s necessary for your mental health. If you want to keep certain people in your life because you love them, then it’s okay to limit the amount of time you spend around them too. Sometimes you have to love people from a distance!
It’s important to sit back and look at the people you hang around because their energy can contribute to your negative thoughts too. Focus on being around positive, uplifting people who have the same goals in mind as you do.
Yes, it does hurt when you have to let go of toxic friendships or relationships, however, the pain is only temporary. Your mental health should be a priority and you need to keep in mind that you deserve to have peace.
Replace the Negative With Positive
Another thing I learned in therapy is whenever a negative thought pops up, think about whether it makes sense or not and then replace it with something positive. Yeah, I know, this is easier said than done too, however, it can help you get rid of negative thoughts.
There are times where we have negative self-talk—we are our own biggest critics, however, sometimes we take it too far. What we think and say about ourselves is important and we shouldn’t constantly tear ourselves down. Low confidence and self-esteem will only continue to make overcoming negative thoughts more difficult.
One thing I’ve been doing is writing in my journal. Whenever I have a negative thought, I make sure to acknowledge it by writing it down. I ask myself how can I choose a different way to respond or replace the negativity. This is something that won’t happen overnight either and it can be a struggle at times to find the positive in everything.
Another thing you can do is find positive affirmations to read and think about whenever you have a negative thought. If you say “I’m not good enough”, you can replace that with “I’m working on making changes in my life and I deserve nothing but the best.” For every negative thought you have, you want to fight back and pretty much retrain your brain.
Do Things You Love/Enjoy
The last thing you can do to get rid of negative thoughts is to focus on doing what you love. Everyone has a hobby or something that they enjoy doing.
For me, blogging and creating content is what I love and while I’m doing those things my mind isn’t running all over the place. I noticed that most of my negative thoughts creep in when I’m laying down in the quiet with nothing to do. I love keeping myself busy and doing things that make me feel good!
Make sure you always take time for self-care too which looks different for everyone. Some people may view self-care as a warm bubble bath with a glass of wine on the side, while others may like reading books or even doing their hair. Take more time to focus on activities you enjoy doing regularly and it’ll become easier to get rid of negative thoughts.
Trying to overcome your negative thoughts and emotions will take time and practice. Once you identify the problem with your mental health and work on fixing it, then you’re already on the right track! It’s hard to admit that you need extra help sometimes.
I’ve struggled with negative thinking for years, it has hindered me from experiencing growth, reaching goals, and kept me from pursuing amazing opportunities. However, you will eventually get tired of the same old feelings and want to put a stop to it.
Following these tips have helped me a lot and I hope reading this post gave you the motivation you need to take control of your mental health. We can no longer allow anything to have power over our emotions!
What tips do you follow to help yourself overcome negative thoughts? What tips would you give to someone else?