10 Steps to Overcome Negative Thoughts

Challenge negative thoughts.

Thinking traps, also known as cognitive distortions, are firmly established in our minds. (Image: Marek Uliasz via Dreamstime)

Thinking traps are thinking patterns, which generally have a negative slant, that block us from perceiving things as they are. Thinking traps, also known as cognitive distortions, are firmly established in your mind and lead to negative thoughts.

They can cause you to leap to conclusions and make poor judgments by warping your ideas, blocking you from seeing the whole picture. As a result, you may become locked in a vicious cycle that can affect your mood and perception of the world around you.

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So if you want to take control of your life, one of the most effective things you can do is master your ideas.

10 strategies to overcome negative thoughts

1. Make a decision

The first step is to realize that you may choose a way to let go. You may intentionally choose to cease rehearsing occurrences in your brain. If you recall an embarrassing circumstance or someone who hurt you, you can remind yourself to “let it go.”

2. Make a note of it

When I concentrate on unpleasant ideas or negative attitudes, I find it difficult to let them go unless I take out my diary and write about them. The act of writing (rather than typing) encourages me to slow down my thoughts and express what’s upsetting me.

3. Stop blaming others

It’s easy to fall into the victim position, but remember that most situations have two sides. If you can accept any responsibility for the problem, admit it to yourself — and, if appropriate, to the other person. Focusing on how you could have handled the situation better (and how you intend to do it differently next time) gives you a sense of empowerment.

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When I concentrate on unpleasant ideas or negative attitudes, I find it difficult to let them go unless I take out my diary and write about them. (Image: Tortoon via Dreamstime)

4. Be in the now

When immersed in the present moment, you have little time or energy to reflect on past wrongs. Isn’t it more enjoyable to embrace the present with a sense of excitement and abundance? Time to sit and pray each morning can help bring a more robust presence to your day.

5. Stop watching the tape

Do you know how you might keep rehearsing old blunders or embarrassing occasions in your head? It’s a hazardous loop that may rob you of your enjoyment, while also increasing stress levels, leading to significant health concerns. When you find yourself rehashing occurrences, choose to treat yourself with the same compassion you would show a loved one. Breathe deeply and visualize your thoughts fading away.

6. Let it all out

Crying may be a calming technique to cleanse unhappy sentiments and help you feel better before you can let go of a terrible circumstance. Did you know that tears clear the body of molecules that increase cortisol, the stress hormone?

7. Put your energies into something positive

Use a traumatic experience or event to motivate you to help others. Volunteer in the community, offer affection to a needy family member, or adopt a homeless pet. You can always use your unpleasant experience to benefit someone else.

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Use a traumatic experience or event to motivate you to help others. Volunteer in the community, offer affection to a needy family member, or adopt a homeless pet. (Image: Mauricio Jordan De Souza Coelho via Dreamstime)

8. Let go of the endorphins

Working up a sweat is a great method to break out of a rut. You can go for a run or a spin class, and the endorphin rush will always give you a sense of optimism and clarity. Plus, you will feel mentally powerful, which will allow you to focus on the right things.

9. Make a list of the aspects of the issue over which you have influence

You may not be able to influence another person’s mind. Still, you can control your attitude, the amount of effort you put into resolving a problem, and whether you perceive the situation as a chance to learn something significant.

10. Show empathy

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and attempt to see the issue from their eyes. Remember that we all make mistakes, and nothing beats wrath or suffering like a compassionate attitude.

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