Negative thoughts block you from thinking clearly, obstruct your development, destroy your motivation.
The author of the book «The Happiness Trap» Russ Harris claims that 80% of our thoughts have at least some negative content.
Negative thoughts have an important role in our survival. We are made to detect potential problems in our environment and try to solve them. When we identify a potentially negative or problematic situation we usually try to find possible solutions. The problem is not that we have negative thoughts, but that we believe that our negative thoughts are true.
Sometimes people have negative thoughts which are based on information, events, and certain situations, but reflect bad thoughts: they are people who see everything black, who exaggerate the negative and minimize the positive.
When we notice that negative thoughts are crossing our minds, it is important to ask ourselves:
Is this thought real?
Is this thought important?
Does this thought help me?
Here are some tips to help you avoid negative thinking.
Give an explanatory label in your thoughts
Instead of saying “I will never find a partner” it is better to say “I’m thinking that I will not find a partner” or instead of saying “I’m a moron and I did not see it coming,” say “I think I’m a fool because I did not see it coming ‘ . The difference is small but significant: What you say to yourself is that your thoughts don’t define you
“Thank” your mind
You can “thank” your mind for a negative thought. If your thoughts are making you stressed be grateful that your mind is “trying ” to protect you, and realize this thought shouldn’t make you stressed. You know what you’re doing, you are prepared and everything is under control. Like this, you can give your mind a chance to take a break from negative thoughts.
Let your thoughts fly away like balloons
To do that you need to use your imagination. Imagine yourself writing every negative thought on a balloon, and then you let it fly, and get lost in the sky.
Give a title to your negative story
We often find a repeating story in our negative thoughts. When you notice this occurrence you can think “Here again, I am telling the story of “How to stay alone in my whole life, “or “How I am going to fail at work” etc. This way the “story” will lose its power.
You can find all these techniques in a well documented psychotherapeutic approach called “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).”