7 Science-Backed Tips to Overcome Negative Thoughts with Positive Thinking is a guest post written by Marcus who regularly blogs at psysci, a psychology, science blog that examines the latest research in mental health and explains how findings can impact and improve people’s lives.
Some negative thoughts are overt and flicker through our brains like neon lights; God you look fat in that top! But some negative thoughts are so hardwired into our brains we’re not even aware we’re having them and they become a maladaptive lens through which we view certain aspects of ourselves. For example, I know I need to lose some weight, but I’m can never stick with diets. This is negative thinking as a core belief. You know you need to lose weight but you also know that you cannot stick to diets, so why even try? Well here’s the rub; do you really know you can’t stick to diets or are you negatively talking yourself into failure? And if your negative thoughts are so hardwired, can you really overcome them with positive thinking? Following are seven tips to help you do just that.
How to Overcome Negative Thoughts with Positive Thinking
One of the best ways to overcome negative thoughts is to identify them and acknowledge them when they occur. To do this, you need to be present and self-aware, not thinking of the future or dwelling in the past. Mindfulness, meditation and yoga are excellent ways of anchoring yourself to the present so you can begin to observe and acknowledge negative thoughts.
Challenge those negative thoughts
Once you’ve become adept at identifying negative thoughts, you need to challenge them. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy [CBT] teaches people to recognize irrational, and usually unshakable, thoughts and to challenge them head on. By challenging a negative thought, you may come to realize it actually has no basis in fact.
Practice positive self-talk
Acknowledgement and challenging negative thoughts go a long way to eradicating them, however you need to fill up the void of those negative thoughts with something else. So why not try positive self-talk. Where the negative thoughts were failure, despair and doom, tell yourself instead, success, happiness and peace. If enough negative talk makes you believe you’re a failure, it stands to reason that enough positive talk will help you be a success.
Celebrate your achievements
Practicing positive self-talk doesn’t have to be all lip service. Instead of simply telling yourself that you’re a success, why not tell the world? You did a great job on that sales pitch; celebrate it with your peers. You lost those last few pounds? Go out and buy a new dress in a smaller size. Whatever it takes, celebrate your successes to make them meaningful.
Forgive yourself (you’re only human)
While you’re celebrating your successes, remember to also be kind on yourself when it comes to those errors, faux pas, or downright mistakes that we all make. Negative thoughts love to linger on mistakes made, and you can find yourself wallowing in a whole lake of guilt if you let those negative thoughts take you down. Instead, forgive yourself. To err is, after all, human.
Surround yourself with positive people
Celebrating your success, forgiving yourself of your errors and thinking positively can be hellishly impossible if you’re surrounded by naysayers and misanthropes. Instead, surround yourself with those special people that light up rooms and only see the good in things. Positive people have a way of infecting the rest of us with their positivity.
Seek out inspiration
Inspiration abounds. It’s literally everywhere. Stories, songs and spirituality can all be a source of inspiration. So too is the internet where you will find a wealth of inspirational quotes and sayings. Find the ones that speak to you, print them out and put them up on your wall. Read them – really read them – every day. Soon you too could be the Eye of the Tiger.
So the next time you become overwhelmed by negative thoughts, stop, become present, challenge those thoughts, reflect and celebrate your positives and then seek out some positivity in the world instead.
- Martin, B. In Depth: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. (2017, Apr. 18) Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/lib/in-depth-cognitive-behavioral-therapy/
- What is Mindfulness? (2017, Apr. 18) Retrieved from http://au.reachout.com/what-is-mindfulness
- What is Self-Talk? (2017, Apr. 18) Retrieved from http://au.reachout.com/what-is-mindfulness
Marcus regularly blogs at psysci, a psychology, science blog that examines the latest research in mental health and explains how findings can impact and improve people’s lives.
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