Negative thinking is a way of life for most of us. It takes a negative toll on our self-worth, and it can influence our thoughts, decisions, and opinions on everyone and everything in life. In essence, negative thinking can cause us to view everything from a negative point of view.
A negative outlook on everyone and everything will not help you enjoy life to its fullest; in fact, it will cause you to do the opposite of that! If you want to learn how to control negative thinking, then first you have to figure out where it comes from. Then you can start taking action towards controlling it.
Experiences in Life
Many experiences in life are not positive. Some examples are a guy gives us the finger while driving or a friend uses us for something that they want or we get fired from a job. And that can all happen in just one day! When there are so many negative happenings in our life, we can start to think focus on the negative.
The trick to control negative thinking is to view the experiences differently. For instance, the guy who gave you the finger is probably having a horrible day. The friend who used you showed you his or her true colors and now you can seek out a true friend in life. And even though you have lost your job, you have gained tons of skills from it that will allow you to get a new job quickly.
Negative experiences like rejection and loss happen in life. However, they are there for you to learn from, not feel bad about. Take the positive lessons you learn from them and leave the negative thinking behind. This will help you control your negative thinking in a big way.
Beliefs We Have Formed
Negative beliefs lead to negative thinking. There is no way around it. If you believe that things have been bad, are bad, or are going to be bad, then you can’t help but think that as well.
If your beliefs cause you to focus on the negative all the time, then you may want to think about adopting a new set of beliefs! It is easier to do than you may think. You formed your negative beliefs through bad experiences and influence, so you need to put yourself out there and find positive experiences and influences.
Facing your fears, and succeeding, will always help you change your beliefs. A great way to do this is by setting goals and going after them. Each goal you check off your list will help you shift your viewpoint and beliefs a little. Your self-confidence will grow and your negative thinking will start to disappear.
The People We Surround Ourselves With
One big way to control negative thinking is to stop surrounding yourself with negative people who drag you down into their way of thinking. These people think the worst and vocalize it. For instance, they may complain about the weather being too hot one day and then complain about it being too cold the next day.
Negative people can cause even the most positive thinker to have negative thoughts. When the only thing they want to talk about are things that make you feel bad, sad, or mad, it is hard not to be negative. Even if you are living on an island of happiness, it will be hard to maintain that happiness if you are constantly surrounded by an ocean of negativity.
Surround yourself with positive people who see the bright side of life. They will not only inspire you to think positively about yourself and the world around you, but they will make you feel good when you are around them.
This may mean that you need to dump a few negative friends or avoid talking to that negative neighbor. Removing the negative influences from your life can have a huge influence on your negative thoughts.
If you can’t remove a negative person from your life, then you can either tell them that you are trying to be more positive and no longer want to engage in negative talk or stop talking to them when they choose to engage in negative talk. Taking a stand like this will cause them to realize that they can’t be negative around you and still maintain a relationship with you, and often they will quickly change their tone to a more positive one when you are around.
There is a direct line between negative self-talk and negative thinking. When we tell ourselves that we can’t, we shouldn’t, we won’t, or we are not…then we also think it.
It is important to replace negative self-talk with more positive self-talk. One way you can do this is with positive affirmations. For instance, if you consistently say things like “I am fat!”, then chances are that you think you are fat. Replacing those three words with something more positive like “I am healthy!” or “I am beautiful!” can help you to think differently about yourself .
You may not believe your new positive words at first, but the more you say positive things, the more you will believe them. You just need to look at your past to know this is true. When you started telling yourself and others that you were fat, you may not have totally believed it, but the more you said it the more it became a part of who you are. It will work the same way for positive self-talk.
Living In The Past or Future
The past and the future can both be very negative places. The past, as we discussed, can be full of bad experiences. And the future can be full of worry and anxiety. When you are constantly thinking about the past or future, then negative thinking will most likely follow.
If you start living in the present moment, and are fully alive to what is happening now, you can start to control your negative thinking. It will be hard to dwell on the past or worry about the future when you focus on the experience you are having now.
Living in the moment is easy! Use your senses to keep your feet firmly planted in the here and now. Pay attention the sounds you hear, the sights you see, and the smells you smell. They will keep you focused on what is happening around you, and help you to keep your negative thinking at bay.
In the end, when it comes to how to control negative thinking, you need to take action and shift your outlook to a more positive one. You can do this by learning from your experiences instead of dwelling on them, adopting positive beliefs, surrounding yourself with more positive people, avoiding negative self-talk, and living in the present moment.