We can’t control what pops into our mind. Things just come and go without any explanation at all. Personally, I’m plagued with this. All my life, negative thoughts pop into my head, especially after I had kids. My mind would tell me, “your son is going to fall off of that swing.” Or, “something is going to happen to him on his way to school.” I hate when this happens but there is no way I can control it. I learned, however, that I can prevent myself from dwelling on it. Now when something like that happens, I use the following tips to quickly stop dwelling on negative thoughts.
“Tell the negative committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up” -Ann Bradford
1 – Ask Yourself “How Likely Is This Going To Happen?”
Question how likely this negative thought will happen. More often than not, this questioning will eliminate this thought almost immediately. My wife used to freak out when she saw that she had a voicemail from her boss. Before she checked it to see what the message was, she would think that her boss was calling to give her bad news or fire her. That never was the case. 100% of the time, her boss was calling to praise her or ask for her help on another project. Stop dwelling on negative thoughts, chances are it’s not even likely to happen.
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2 – Stop Dwelling On Negative Thoughts With Affirmations
Your mind can only process one thought at a time. Use this to your advantage. Quickly repeat positive affirmations in your mind and soon your mind will start envisioning the things you are saying. This works for me. When I have those negative thoughts about my kids getting hurt on the way to school, I begin repeating in my mind, “I am happy that my kids are safe at school soaking up knowledge.” Then I pictured them at their desk, learning. It will take some time for your mind to catch up but it will happen.
3 – Stop Dwelling On Negative Thoughts by Distracting Yourself
Another great way to stop dwelling on negative thoughts is to distract yourself. Engage in some activity that keeps your mind focused. Go for a run and focus on your breathing. Read a book or an article. Listen to music. Do something for at least 10 minutes. That’s about how much time it takes to get your mind off the negative and on to something more productive.
4 – Live In The Moment
Try to focus on what is happening around you in the current moment. This is called mindfulness and this is a great technique to eliminate stress, worry, and help you stop dwelling on negative thoughts. What sounds do you hear? Are there vibrant colors around? What types of textures do you feel? Hard, soft, etc. Engaging in your senses this way will help you to live in the moment.
Don’t get frustrated if negative thoughts pop up in your mind. It’s impossible to control this, but it is possible to avoid dwelling on them. The next time something enters your mind, try these strategies to eliminate them quickly.
Do you struggle with negative thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.
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