Put an End to Pessimism: 10 Strategies to Stop Negative Thinking
You envy your friends who always wear a smile on their faces and see the glass half full. If only you could be like them. Instead, your thoughts turn to everything that’s wrong with your life–the unfriendly neighbor, the boss with unrealistic expectations, the weather that never cooperates with your plans. While those perceptions may be true, negative thinking won’t help improve your circumstances or change your life for the better. Fortunately, you’re not doomed to a pessimistic mindset forever. These ten strategies will help put an end to the pattern of negativity so you can enjoy brighter, healthier, and happier days ahead.
Manage Your Pessimism Triggers
Take a moment to consider what causes your negative thoughts to surface. Is it someone trying to control your actions, a situation where you feel vulnerable, or the feeling that a threat is imminent? Any of these triggers can incite negative thinking and a cycle of pessimism. The good news is you can learn to manage those triggers by identifying them and adopting useful ways to cope, such as practicing acceptance and self-care or finding humor in the triggering event.
Wandering thoughts can steer your mind in many directions, including down a path of bad memories or worries about the future. That’s where mindfulness meditation can help. Mindfulness teaches you to focus on the present moment, where there is peace, serenity, and no judgment. With practice, mindfulness helps you avoid being overreactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around you. Learning mindfulness is as easy as downloading an app and spending just minutes a day in stillness.
Nurture Your Strengths
Let’s face it, pessimists are hard on themselves. They find fault with their abilities, performance, looks, you name it. Truthfully, everyone has strengths and talents, even people who think they don’t. Instead of criticizing yourself, take time to honestly assess, nurture, and cultivate your inherent gifts. If you can’t come up with any on your own, reflect on what others have recognized in you. Once you become happier with yourself, your mind and thinking will likely follow suit.
Treat the Root
Negative thinking occasionally stems from undiagnosed health disorders that can be serious and chronic. If your negativity has been with you for many months or even years, it may be time to dig a little deeper and seek professional help. Clinical depression, anxiety, or painful physical ailments may be the root cause of negativity. A treatment plan that helps target the underlying problem can do wonders to change your thinking, plus you’ll benefit from a healthier body and mind to boot.
Give Thinking a Break
One of the simplest ways to reverse negative thinking is to give the mind a break from it. In fact, taking a respite from any kind of thinking can help reduce stress and lift mood. Listen to your favorite music, watch an entertaining show, go on a brisk walk, or take a nap. Make a point to schedule regular thinking breaks into your routine. Giving your brain time off every day is a healthy habit that will increase your chances of kicking negative thinking to the curb for good.
Air the Negative
Asking anyone to make it through an entire day without a lick of doubt or criticism is a tall and somewhat unrealistic order. But there is a productive way to respond to negativity when it enters the mind: air it on paper. Grab a pen and notepad and jot down your thoughts. Getting them off your chest and into words can have a satisfying and stress-relieving effect on you. Even better, you may discover that what you thought was profoundly bad in your life isn’t so terrible after all.
Call on an Optimist
Research shows that spending time in the company of optimists has many benefits to your well-being. Not only will their joy and positive attitude rub off on you; you’ll experience increased self-confidence, stronger relationships, and better physical health. Call your optimistic friends and family members often or plan virtual or in-person get-togethers with them. When you surround yourself with people who have no time for negative thinking, you’ll quickly discover that neither do you.
Use energy psychology to Reframe Negative Thoughts
Many people who experience negative thought patterns turn to psychotherapy for help. One of the most effective options is energy psychology which helps you modify distorted thoughts and see things more realistically. EP is easy to learn and can be a game-changer.
If you could pick one form of exercise to help put an end to negative thinking, yoga might be your best bet. Yoga connects you to your inner self and allows you to release negativity and tension through poses, breathing, and meditation. People who practice yoga regularly report everything from reduced anxiety to pain relief to better sleep, all which improve outlook and attitude. There’s a type of yoga for everyone, too, no matter what your age or fitness level.
Studies have concluded that expressing gratitude can be highly transformative for negative thinkers. Offering a simple thank you releases endorphins that boost mood almost instantaneously and keep you inspired and positive. The best part is you don’t have to search long or hard to find someone to thank, whether it be friends, coworkers, neighbors, or community helpers. Or, tap into your spiritual being for guidance, where you’ll find plenty to be grateful for.
Don’t let a history of negative thoughts harm your well-being–or your future. Take the above steps to replace pessimism with optimism and see how much better and brighter life can be for you and everyone around you.