If you recently had some bad experience, more often than not you would be pondering on it for days on end. When something like this happens to you, it would be practically impossible for you to get rid of negative thoughts.
Most probably you would be aware of the harmful effects of negative thinking and do not want to dwell on them. Making negative thoughts go away is easier said than done.
The reason for this malady of ours is simple to understand. The default setting for our minds is to favor negativity. The power and hold that negative thoughts enjoy over our minds is far too much than the good, positive ones.
However, nothing is impossible if you really put your mind to it. It is possible to develop a positive attitude toward life that can prevent negative thought from entering your subconscious mind and plaguing it. Or at least not allow it to remain there for long.
This article outlines ways to stop thinking about something negative.
Why do you need to control negative thoughts?
Many studies and extensive research have proved beyond doubt the harmful effects of negative thinking. When you allow them to stay in your mind for long, they bring down your brain’s ability to think, reason, and make memories. In other words, they act as silent killers destroying your brain’s capabilities and resources.
Negativity can create a sense of hopelessness and helplessness that will obviously lead to depression. Depression creates even more negative thinking, thus forming a vicious cycle that is almost impossible to escape from.
Again, it is not only your mental health that is being impacted by negative thinking. Consequently, it takes a toll on your physical health as well.
Emotions that come out without restraints, judgment, or attachment have no or positive impact on our health. On the other hand, repressed emotions or negative feelings can suck out all your energy, ultimately leading to mental and physical health issues.
7 Activities/exercises to stop negative thinking
1. Keep good company
The company you keep has far-reaching effects on your mental health. Your close friends and associates have a huge influence on your thoughts and actions. You may not even be aware of this. So, it is important to be picky about the friends you choose to surround yourself with.
The people with whom you spend most of your waking hours can influence you in both good and bad ways. Ever heard the saying “the birds of the same feather flock together”? This means people with similar attitudes and aptitudes come together. The company you keep says a lot about your character.
When the people you associate with are positive-minded, the bad thoughts, even if they manage to get in, won’t be allowed to stay for long. They will be swept away by the collective positivity of the company you keep. Sadly, the reverse is true. Even if you are a cheerful and positive-minded person, in the company of negative people, your positivity will be drowned out and replaced with negative ones.
“You are who you are by virtue of the company you keep” – T B Joshua
2. Take good care of yourself
Things can go wrong both mentally and physically when you are not paying enough attention to yourself and your health. Before thinking about driving out negativity, it is important to evaluate how well you are treating yourself.
When you are not enjoying the best of health or if the environment around you is annoying or uncomfortable, you are actually sending an invitation to negative thoughts to come and inhabit your subconscious mind. When you are holding the door open for negativity, there is no one to blame other than yourself.
You are likelier to feel happy and have positive thoughts when you are in the prime of health. Satiated feeling, nutritious food, good rest, warm and comfortable surroundings can only trigger positive thoughts. Even when you come across negativity, it won’t stay long when you are looking after yourself well.
3. Reevaluate the circumstances
As the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining. Look for them in the bleakest of situations. Even if there is no evidence of their existence and hidden from view. You may need to look at the situation from another angle to spot it.
For example, you are consistently not scoring well in science subjects. Maybe those are not your strong suits. Maybe you are interested in languages, history or fine art. You may not have recognized your inclination towards other subjects otherwise. Someday you would end up thanking your stars for having failed you in science. Or else you would never have found your real passion.
4. Make a case for and against
When the voice in your head is taking negative views of the situation, try to make contradictory arguments. Take the position of an outsider and argue it out with yourself. Though this may sound a bit strange, it works well as long as you can do the role play perfectly and effectively.
Consider this situation. You are invited to an official function. Your inner voice tells you not to go because these events are dull and boring with nothing exciting ever happening there. You can take the other side of the case with the arguments going like you would get to meet some old friends and events like these help you gain social contacts.
There are always two sides to a coin if you care to flip it over and look for it.
5. Divert your attention
This is one of the most effective methods to get bad thoughts out of your head. Even though you are aware that you are distracting yourself, it would still work without a flaw.
Compelling activities are the best for diverting your attention away from negativity. Depending on your affinity towards the negative thoughts and how powerful or influential they are, you need to come up with stronger distractions that can capture your attention.
Such as an unputdownable book or favorite songs or a calling up a friend. Physical exercise provides an excellent diversion from negative thinking as it actively promotes positivity.
6. Avoid absolute words
Absolute words like “always” and “never” have a ring of finality to them. As we know for sure, the only constant in life is change. Nothing is ever final in life. Even the best of rules has exceptions. The trick here is to be aware of exceptions and look for them.
When you are faced with a situation you feel that you are going to fail, search for alternate endings. Such as a job interview. There may be 100 reasons for you to believe that you are going to fail again. But using absolute words is like driving nails in a coffin. There is a note of certitude and irrevocability to it.
As long as you can keep your mind open to other outcomes, you may still have a chance to win it.
7. Shake off the feeling and get down to work
Even if the situation seems beyond saving, believe that you still have a chance. Often it is your mind playing tricks on you by hiding some relevant facts. Don’t despair and give in. Instead, throw the feeling away, roll up your sleeves and prepare to get your hands dirty. Brace yourself for some hard work.
In case the bad thoughts are putting up a good fight and not willing to back down, it is all the more reason why you should work hard to regain control of your mind. Negative thoughts are like weeds in a garden. Once you allow them to take root, they would take over the entire garden and destroy it.
Grab life by the horns and get your life back on track.
Negative thoughts are similar to a needle in a groove. The more time the needle stays in the groove, the deeper and deeper it gets and the harder it would be to get the needle out of it. The easier and simpler remedy would be to remove it early enough before it gets entrenched in the groove.
Again, trying to eliminate negative thoughts would be a futile attempt. Their presence is vital for the balance of the mind. Just like you don’t get carried away by negativity, too much positivity also can be harmful. And, experiencing some form of negativity once in a while helps you appreciate the good things in life more.
With a bit of determination, you can make sure the negative thoughts don’t stay for long and positive ones get an opportunity to flourish.