Negative thoughts are nasty creatures. They lurk in the shadows, waiting, preying, and when they sense weakness – they seize the opportunity and invade, ruthlessly taking over your mind, dissolving any spark of positivity they come across.
Moreover, they flock, infest and breed. Once a negative thought takes over, it will most likely give birth to further negative thoughts, or even invite over other bad thoughts, completely unrelated, taking advantage of your vulnerable state.
And so you may find yourself (I know I do) in a whirlwind of self-abuse, beating yourself up about everything and anything. And it can be tough coming out of that cycle.
Your thoughts are under your control
First of all, it’s good practice to notice this vicious cycle is commencing.
And like with other infestations, it’s easier to cut off in the initial stages.
If you sense that an invasion is starting, divert yourself – you control your thoughts: Go do something that will take your mind off this route.
Here is a method I implement of late, which I came up with myself(!):
Once I recognize a negative thought, I immediately try to balance it out with a positive one
When I feel my inner critic is starting to lecture me, I consciously and deliberately search for something good I can say to myself on the subject. I look for a positive angle.
I even came across instances where I couldn’t find something good to say to myself on the subject, so I just think of something else completely. Say something good to myself just so I can derail the negative train of thought.
As with everything else, this is also a matter of practice. You start by forcing yourself to think of something positive, and with time (hopefully) it will come more easily, more naturally.
It is a human tendency to see what is missing, what is “wrong”, overlooking everything that is alright, that is as it should be. Positive psychology tells us that with practice, training ourselves to see the positive, we can shift our outlook.
If you have a method to stop negative thinking, I’d love to hear it! Please share in the comments