How do you stop yourself from negative thinking? Is it possible to change negative thoughts into positive thoughts? Can you actually stop making negative statements either to yourself or others? It is possible to stop the habit of negative thinking but it takes work. Using the Eight Steps to Stop Negative Thinking, you can do it. It is easy to beat yourself up, sometimes it becomes a habit, a reflex, getting up in the morning, looking in the mirror, saying something negative to yourself. Perhaps you feel guilty about something, inadequate in some way, perhaps you feel insecure in the way others feel about you. Negative thoughts and emotions are often rooted in the past and very much ingrained, but they can and do come up on a daily basis based on situations we are confronted with.
“Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power” – William James
I sometimes make negative statements to myself I don’t even really mean, but they are so ingrained, I find myself saying them in my head regardless. Recently, I started kidding about being old, then I started feeling old, when I looked in the mirror, I felt I looked old. It was a chain reaction, first a few words in jest, then a pervasive thought, then a belief. Things sneak up on you that way. Sounds a bit silly when it is written here, but it is true.
Eight Steps for Overcoming Negative Thoughts
- Where does the thought or statement come from?
- Why do you think it is true?
- Is it really true?
- If it is true, can you change it?
- If you can’t change it, can you accept it?
- What is negative about it?
- What is positive about it?
- Create your new, positive, statement.
Turn Your Thoughts Around
Here is an example : Thought :I am getting old Reality : I am getting older, but so is everyone else Negative beliefs about getting old :
- I have fewer opportunities.
- I am less attractive than I used to be.
- I am not fit any more.
- I could die soon.
Positive beliefs about getting old :
- I am wiser.
- I can take advantage of my experience to make the best of my life.
- I have the time to be even more physically fit than I was when I was a lot younger.
- I am only as old as I feel
- I am grateful for every moment I have
Obviously I cannot change the fact that I am getting older, but I can change my perception of it. I can change my statement, instead of feeling the dejection of saying I am old, I can feel the empowerment of getting older, I am older, wiser, better than ever. What’s more, there are people that are many years older than me still living full and wonderful lives. I feel better already! Why do I feel better? I feel better because I have reframed my statement, I am not old, I am getting older, but so is everybody and what is the alternative anyhow? I am getting older, so is everyone. I have changed my statement from “I am old” to “I am getting older and better”. I have framed it positively and I can smile about it.
Whatever it is that you say repeatedly to yourself, even unconsciously, you can change it, you can reframe it, convert the negative into a positive. If you have a tendency to make a general negative statement, “I hate myself”, “I am an idiot”, “I am unattractive” – whatever it it, you can reconstruct it and reframe it. Use the eight steps above to diffuse the negativity and find the positive. Another method is to use the opposites – “I love myself because…”, “I am intelligent because…”, “I am attractive because…”, but I highly recommend using the Eight Steps for Overcoming Negative Thoughts – using the opposites may work but it won’t have the sticking power of going through the eight step process.