Negative thoughts can derail our entire day. And actually, negative thoughts are what starts every downward spiral. If you stop the thoughts before they get out of hand, then you stop the relapse into old habits before it happens. Here’s how to deal with negative thoughts.
If you don’t have the strength to keep fighting, then learn to float in the waves. Ride out your emotions without getting attached. Negative thoughts come in? Just watch them float gently by as you move on to the next thoughts.
Just because you think it, doesn’t mean you have to let it stay in your head. And if those thoughts are leaving their dirty footprints all over your mind, then gently let them know that you need to get back to the things in your life that matter most to you. Negative thoughts are like intruding house guests- you’re allowed to ask them to leave if they overstay their welcome. Only invite in the warm, welcoming, friendly thoughts.
[See Also: Negative Emotions Are a Blessing in Disguise]
And if a thoughts walks in with muddy boots on? Just say, “I’m sorry, but I have to ask you to leave until you clean yourself up.” Then re-frame your old thought in a positive way. Clean it up! It sounds cheesy but it will probably make you smile, which is the point. 🙂
For example, maybe your thought is that nobody likes you. How much is this negatively impacting your mood, from a scale from 1 to 10? Your mind is going to want to collect evidence of this that makes this thought seem so real when really it’s just a cognitive distortion – or your brain trying to trick you into thinking something negative. You could probably come up with dozens of reasons why it seems like nobody likes you – but resist the temptation. Stop before you get to that point. Do some forgiveness work on what caused these beliefs if it helps.
Then, re-frame your negative thought. Maybe your new thought is, people do like me. Now collect evidence in support of this new, positive thought. What are some examples in the past when someone was friendly to you? Do you have friends, family, or a therapist who likes you or is friendly to you? (Even one person is enough!) Think of the times in the past when someone complimented you – I bet if you think hard enough, you can think of several examples!
Keep collecting this positive evidence until you feel better about your previous negative thoughts. Is the thought still negatively impacting your mood?
When you feel like the thought no longer has power over you, then you have won.
If you’d like more depression tips, check out our 30 Day Negativity Detox.