12 Powerful Tips That Stop Negative Thoughts from Dragging You Down

Posted by on November 8, 2017 in Conscious Living, Inspirational with 0 Comments
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By Henrik Edberg | The Positivity Blog

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
Anais Nin

“Having a positive mental attitude is asking how something can be done rather than saying it can’t be done.”
Bo Bennett


“It’s better to be an optimist who is sometimes wrong than a pessimist who is always right.”
Unknown

It starts with just a thought or a feeling. Or maybe with a sentence spoken by someone else.

And then it starts to drag you down.

Into feeling sorry for yourself, worried or into thinking “what’s the point of taking any action at all?” as you walk around in a funk with your own personal rain cloud above your head.

Negativity that wells up inside of you or in the world around you can quickly become toxic and hold you back from living the life you want.

So in this week’s post I want to share 12 tips and habits that have helped me – and still help me – to prevent and to overcome my own negative thoughts but also the negativity that’s sometimes around me.

Related Article: Morning Inspiration: No Matter How Hard It Gets, Keep Moving Forward! (Motivational Video)

1. When you’re in what seems like a negative situation, find what’s good or helpful.

If you’ve had a setback, stumbled or failed then things might look bleak and so negative thoughts may start to crop up and threaten to fill your view of this situation.

To counteract that ask yourself better questions.

Questions that will help you to feel better but also to learn so you can grow.

Questions like:

  • What’s one good thing about this situation?
  • What’s one thing I can do differently the next time to likely have a better outcome?
  • What’s one thing I can learn from this?
  • How would my best friend support and help me in this situation?

2. Reminder: people don’t care that much about what you say or do.

It’s easy to fall into negative thoughts when you think about what people may say or think if you do or do not do something. And so you zap your personal power and may trap yourself in analysis paralysis.

Getting stuck in your head and in thoughts like that will drag you further away from what you want and from reality.

Because the truth is that people don’t have that much time, attention or energy to think or talk about what you do. They have their hands and minds full with their kids, jobs, pets, hobbies and their own fears and worries (like for example what people may think of them).

This realization and reminder can help you to set yourself free from the constraints you may create in your own mind and help you to start taking small – or bigger steps – towards what you deep down want in your life.

3. Question the thought.

One thing I like to do when a negative thought taps me on the shoulder and tries to start growing in my mind is to simply to question that thought.

I ask myself:

Should I take you seriously?

This most often leads me to say: well, no, I honestly shouldn’t.

Because at that moment in time I’m tired. Or hungry. Or overworked and so negativity can try to cloud my mind.

Or I am getting too focused on one small mistake or one bad day. Instead of focusing on the other 95% of my life that tends to be positive.

Sometimes this question helps me to see that just because I did one small thing wrong doesn’t mean that I did poorly overall. Or that this one negative thing doesn’t mean that things will get worse and stay like that for a long time. Not if I chose optimism and to take small steps forward.

Basically, this question gives me a reality check and grounds me to a level-headed perspective again.

4. Replace the negativity in your surroundings.

What you let into your mind in your everyday life will have big effect on you. So start questioning what you allow in.

Related Article: 15 Inspiring Quotes from Paulo Coelho to Carry You Through Hard Times

Ask yourself:

What are the top 3 sources of negativity in my life?

It could be people, websites, magazines, podcasts, music and so on.

Then ask yourself:

What can I do to spend less time with these 3 sources this week?

If you can’t find ways to do that right now for all three of them then take a smaller step and focus on doing that with just one of these sources.

Then spend the time you’ve freed up this week on more positive sources and people that are already in your life or that you want to explore and perhaps make a new part of it.

5. Stop making mountains out of molehills.

To stop a small negative thought from becoming a big monster in your mind confront it early. You can do that by for example using tip #3 in this article.

Or you can zoom out. Do that by asking yourself a question like:

Will this matter in 5 years? Or even 5 weeks?

This answer is likely in most cases that it won’t and that you were only starting to make a mountain out of a molehill (or out of plain air).

6. Let it out and talk it over.

Keeping negative thoughts that are starting to cloud your whole mind bottled up won’t help.

So let them out. Talk the situation or your thoughts over with someone close to you.

Just venting for a few minutes can often help you to see the situation in new light. Or if not then a conversation about it where the two of you find a more useful perspective and perhaps the start of an action-plan can be both relieving and recharging.

7. Live in and come back to this moment.

When you’re tapping into negative thinking then you’re often thinking about something that happened. Or something that may happen. Or both, all jumbled up as your mood and thoughts sink.

To snap out of that put your attention fully into this moment instead. Into what’s here right now.

Start making it a habit to spend more of your time in the present moment and you’ll, in my experience, naturally have less negative thoughts and be more open and constructive.

A couple of ways to bring yourself back to being mindful and this moment are:

  • Focus only on your breathing. Take a 1-2 minute pause right now and take a little deeper breaths than you usually do. Make sure you’re breathing with your stomach and through your nose. During this time focus only on the air going in and out and nothing else.
  • Take in the world around you. Take a 1-2 minute break, get out of your head and put your attention on what’s around you right now. Nothing else. Just focus on the people walking by outside your window, the muffled words and noises from the street, the smells around you and the sun shining in and warming your skin.

8. Go for a short workout.

I find that when I’m having trouble with thinking myself out of negativity then it often works well to change my headspace by using my body.

So I go for a 20-30 minute workout and lift some free weights.

This helps me to release inner tension and worries. And it makes my mind focused and constructive once again.

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