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.
You May Also Like: How To Stop Being Negative
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.
It’s important to remember that we can’t always control the negative thoughts that pop into our minds. They can be particularly challenging, especially after significant life events. However, the good news is that we have the power to stop dwelling on negative thoughts. By asking ourselves how likely they are to happen, using affirmations, distracting ourselves, and practicing mindfulness, we can regain control over our thoughts and emotions.
Q1: How can I differentiate between normal passing thoughts and persistent negative thoughts that I need to address?
A: It’s common to have passing thoughts that come and go. Persistent negative thoughts, on the other hand, often create anxiety and interfere with your daily life. If a negative thought recurs frequently, causes distress, or affects your actions, it might be worth addressing.
Q2: Why do negative thoughts tend to intensify after significant life events, like having children?
A: Significant life events can trigger negative thoughts because they often involve increased responsibilities and concerns for loved ones. These thoughts can be a natural response to the increased importance of keeping loved ones safe and well.
Q3: How can I effectively use affirmations to combat negative thoughts?
A: Affirmations can be a powerful tool to counteract negative thinking. Start by identifying the negative thought and then create a positive affirmation that directly contradicts it. Repeat the affirmation regularly to help shift your focus from negative to positive thinking. Here are some affirmations that will help.
Q4: Are there any professional resources or therapy options for dealing with persistent negative thoughts?
A: Yes, if you find that persistent negative thoughts are significantly impacting your life, seeking help from a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor, can be very beneficial. They can provide tailored strategies and support to address your specific issues.
Q5: How long does it typically take for these techniques to effectively reduce negative thoughts?
A: The time it takes for these techniques to work can vary from person to person. Some may see improvement relatively quickly, while others might need more time and practice. Consistency is key, so continue to use the techniques that work best for you, and don’t get discouraged if progress is gradual.
Do you struggle with negative thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.