Want to prevent negative thoughts from getting to you? Here are a few techniques that can help you stop dwelling and refocus your mind. With practice, you can replace negative thinking patterns with thoughts that actually help you. And that can make a huge difference in your day-to-day happiness. Social anxiety stems partly from faulty beliefs and negative thinking patterns. Here are 8 tips to help you change the way that you think.
Without intervention, repeated negative thought loops over time become strengthened and eventually a circuit is created in the brain, forming a habit.
This self-defeating cycle can lead to varying degrees of:. The good news is, there is something you can do about it. As new habits are developed, you are essentially re-wiring the brain and creating new circuits. Remember all the time and energy it took for the negative thought loops to form?
That same energy and dedication needs to be applied to redirecting negative thoughts patterns toward thoughts that are more life-expanding rather than life-limiting. Today is a good day to get started. Those who garden know that you must keep on top of pulling weeds; otherwise, they proliferate quickly and can crowd out the vegetation you wish to grow.
In this case, you want positive thoughts to be like weeds and crowd out the negative thoughts. Keep in mind there was a reason why you got caught up in the negative thought loop s in the first place. Getting to the root cause can take some time and you may choose to work with a professional.
However, right now, you have the power to change HOW you react so that your ability to overcome challenges and resolve problems becomes effective. Rather than wallowing around in the muck, take a stand and decide to make better choices that lead to an empowered life where you are the author of your own story.
You are doing the best you can of course, but your monkey mind can get so carried away that if you catch yourself lost in a crazy thought loop, it can almost be comical. This clip from the Bob Newhart Show expresses some humor around negative self-talk.
Replacing your negative thought loops with positive ones takes time and energy. While the shift will most likely not happen overnight, it is possible with dedication and commitment to change.
Here is an exercise to help the process:. At different moments throughout the day, ask yourself the following questions and write your answers down in a journal:. Initially, you may want to set an alarm as a reminder to check in with yourself.
Notice the themes that keep popping up. Once you have this awareness, you can start choosing to see things differently. The biggest lessons you learn sometimes comes through great strife. List out your negative thought patterns that you either confirmed or discovered in the previous exercise. Next to each pattern, write down what you learned from it. This is where you begin to use your thoughts rather that allowing your thoughts to use you. You might begin to feel a shift in perspective—an opening in the heart and mind to the possibilities of what this means for you.
I am not good enough. I learned how to be a more compassionate person. I am using my gifts and talents to help others see the good in themselves. Choose a time in the morning and evening to read or say out loud your positive statements.
You can put this in your calendar or set an alarm as a reminder if you need some help maintaining discipline. Remember, you are in training mode. By doing this exercise, you are actively working on re-wiring the brain and creating a new habit. Eventually what your heart desires and what your mind believes will align.
Training your brain is like working a new muscle. With regular engagement, there are long-lasting impacts. Have compassion for yourself while you do this work. Although you will never get rid of your old patterns completely, it will be harder to slip back into them as you develop a more positive outlook on life. It will be like putting on clothes you have outgrown and no longer need. You are in a supermarket with your four year old.
There is a lot of rush in the electronic store and you suddenly realize that the tiny little hand of your kid is no longer in the grip of your palm. You look around but couldn't find any sign of him.
Within seconds every possible negative thoughts seem to have inundated your mind. You start imagining the worst case scenarios. Your rational mind is completely hijacked by this extreme emotion; the signs of which is quite evident in your heavy breathing, excessive sweating, and racing heartbeat. As a result, much of the thinking responsible for their unwarranted emotions seem involuntary.
Then how do we unlearn unhelpful habits of thinking that can leave us at the mercy of unpredictable emotions? In fact, they keep influencing each other to such a great extent that differentiating the cause and effect becomes an impossible task. Since our feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and behavior are so interconnected, the working solution to counter most of the Automatic Negative Thoughts ANTs lies in bringing a noticeable change in one factor so as to produce the change in the others.
Once you have basic understanding of all these components, you are far better placed to influence them individually. Have you ever heard of how elephants are usually tied down?
As a result, their behavior gets heavily influenced by these long ingrained limiting beliefs. It is because of this conditioning that your thinking becomes so spineless and circumscribed that you start accepting things that make no sense and rejecting things that are full of sense.
So how you choose to undo the long-term damage done by conditioning, will eventually help you in course correction. Now coming back to components illustrated in the above map, here it is much easier to think about the relationships that exist between the different factors. You might, for example, depict a causal connection between a belief e.
Now you have discovered a feedback loop! Isolating the different elements in a visual form will encourage you to consider links and pathways between them that may have escaped your attention. You can also easily try out different permutations and combinations by shuffling the elements and connections around until you develop a network that makes adequate sense of your problem. Finally, because the web of connection and association mirrors the way the brain naturally encodes information, mapping out the system in this way is also likely to cue the recall of new relevant information or facets of the problem that might have been overlooked.
He was also able to recall several physiological responses that had taken place at the same time:. Jumping to the conclusion that Sarah was criticizing him, Sam felt wounded and reacted by striking back. The anger that rushed through him was part of a natural defense mechanism as his body prepared itself for combat. It was becoming obvious that Sam was hypersensitive to criticism.
But is this the only interpretation? After this realization, was it possible for him to respond differently? Denial is irrational, and irrational beliefs are where negative emotions generally come from. So the first step is to accept reality. Then ask if you have control over it. If you do, do something. The choice remains always with you.
Is it possible to train your mind in such a way that, it is no longer tied to both sense of attachment and sense of aversion? Attachment is nothing but mind's desperate attempt to hold onto something and refuse to let it go. Aversion is equally desperate effort to keep something away and refuse to let it come. These two are flip-sides of each other and accounts for the majority of your anxiety.
The problem with most of your pleasant experiences is that they all eventually cease. Similarly, when you experience any uncomfortable sensation in your body or mind, you want to keep it away.
You often fail to keep both aversion and sensation separate. Once you train your mind to see them as two distinct experiences, then the sensation of pain would finally get decoupled from the feeling of anxiety and suffering.
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Don't waste your time trying to get rid of negative thoughts. In order to eliminate negative thinking permanently, you need to deal with the its root cause. Do you ever struggle with negative thinking? Here are the four key to turn things around, cultivate inner peace, and live a rich, meaningful and fulfilling life. Happiness doesn't depend on how few negative thoughts you have, but on what you do with the ones you have.