Silence Negative Thoughts

Much of our thoughts occur automatically, which is a good thing, as we don’t generally have to work too hard to do daily or routine tasks like getting up, getting dressed, eating breakfast, getting to work etc.  And, it can be a bad thing, because they are so habitual and automatic that we don’t usually pay much attention to them. If you think back to the last time you got annoyed or anxious, can you remember what it was that you were thinking? It takes practice to try and focus on what thoughts were going through your mind?

Here are a few ways in which you can try to change your thinking :

  • Identify the Distortion : Write down your negative thoughts so you can see which of the ten cognitive distortions you’re involved in. This will make it easier to think about the problem in a more positive and realistic way.
  • Examine the evidence : Instead of assuming that your negative thought is true, examine the actual evidence for it. For example, if you feel that you never do anything right, you could list several things you have done successfully.
  • The Double-Standard Method : Instead of putting yourself down in a harsh, condemning way, talk to yourself in the same compassionate way you would talk to a friend with a similar problem.
  • The Experimental Technique : Do an experiment to test the validity of your negative thought. For example, if, during the episode of panic, you become terrified that you’re about to die of a heart attack, you could jog or run up and down several flights of stairs. This will prove that your heart is healthy and strong.
  • Thinking in Shades of Grey : Although this method might sound drab, the effects can be illuminating. Instead of thinking about your problems in all-or-nothing extremes, evaluate things on a range of 0 to 100. When things don’t work out as well as you hoped, think about the experience as a partial success rather than a complete failure. See what you can learn from the situation.
  • The Survey Method : Ask people questions to find out if your thoughts and attitudes are realistic. For example, if your believe that public speaking anxiety is abnormal and shameful, ask several friends if they ever felt nervous before they gave a talk.
  • Define Terms : When you label yourself “inferior” or “a fool” or “a loser”, ask yourself, “What is the definition of a “fool”? You will feel better when you see that there is no such thing as a “fool” or a “loser”.
  • The Semantic Method : Simply substitute language that is less colourful and emotionally loaded. This method is helpful for “should statements”. Instead of telling yourself “I shouldn’t have made that mistake,” you can say, “It would be better if I hadn’t made that mistake”.
  • Re-attribution : Instead of automatically assuming that you are “bad” and blaming yourself entirely for a problem, think about the many factors that may have contributed to it. Focus on solving the problem instead of using up all your energy blaming yourself and feeling guilty.
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis : List the advantages and disadvantages of a feeling (like getting angry when your plane is late), a negative thought (like “No matter how hard I try, I always screw up”), or a behaviour pattern (like overeating and lying around in bed when you’re depressed). You can also use the Cost-Benefit Analysis to modify a self-defeating belief such as, I must always try to be perfect”.

Being aware of your negative thoughts is critical in helping you to challenge them.  One way might be to count how many times you have negative thoughts in any one day.

45 Comments Add yours

  1. meenawalia says:

    Great ideas to shun negativity

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Garima says:

      Glad you liked it Meena. Negative energy field feels like depression, anger, powerlessness and despondency. Negative energies always stem from fear. The only reason there’s fear in your being is because you are disconnected from the reality of life, from the truth of life. Negative energies attract a negative reality. Thank you for stopping by.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. meenawalia says:

        The pleasure is all mine dear.i love reading all your posts

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Garima says:

        Thank you Meena. It’s overwhelming to see your response. Much appreciated.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m using the word DECIPHER as my 2020 focus this year. When you talked about Define your Terms, I interrupt my self-traumatizing thought with the question, “according to who?” or “according to what standard?” Thank you for writing this!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Garima says:

        Ah Christina, this is so empowering. Thank you for reminding me that it is important to keep ourselves happy first.

        Like

  2. kittysverses says:

    Useful tips, thank you. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Garima says:

      Most welcome kitty. It’s easy to get stuck in negative thoughts and feelings about yourself when you go trough a tough time like stress, lack of energy and motivation or depression. Thank you for stopping by today.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kittysverses says:

        Rightly said, Garima. You are welcome. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely write up Garima. Such cool techniques. Will have to adopt for the betterment. Having a diary and jotting down things would work.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Garima says:

      Yes it should. It has worked for me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. CattleCapers says:

    Good advice. So often we don’t associate how we feel with what we are thinking, but most times our bodies and emotions are only responding to our thoughts. I believe too many people are being medicated when what they really need to do is to examine their thought life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Garima says:

      I am glad you liked it. It is very important to be aware and to monitor these negative thoughts. Carry a small notebook, or use your phone or tablet to keep track of every negative or sad thought that you have. You might be surprised to see how many of your thoughts are negative. Of course the fact that you are even keeping track of your thoughts can impact what you are thinking about. Thank you for stopping by.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. CattleCapers says:

        Actually, I’ve been surprised at how many untrue thoughts I have. Being a fiction writer, it’s been too easy for me to slide into bad thoughts. Good advice. Thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Garima says:

        Glad I could help:) thank you

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Garima says:

      Hi Prerana, I am glad you liked the post. Negative automatic thoughts (NATs), as first described by Beck, are a stream of thoughts that we can notice, if we pay attention to them. They are negatively framed interpretations of what we think is happening to us. And they usually have an impact on our mood and our feelings, that isn’t positive. So in short they are really nasty!! Thank you for stopping by today.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the idea of thinking in shades of grey. You are right we tend to think in the extremes instead in the middle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Garima says:

      Yes it’s difficult but it’s possible. Learning to ignore the voice inside our head telling us we’re not good enough, not worthy of love, and so on is what we’re here to do. Next time you have a thought that makes you feel uneasy, try this:
      Notice your thought, as in: ah, hello, thought. I know you’re not real; you are just a thought. Oh well, you can stay there if you like, but I have things to do today so I’m just going to go ahead and do them.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Really helpful…I know this post is goin
    g to help so many people…Thank you so much…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Garima says:

      Thank you Prerana. I am glad you liked it. Most of us are awash with negative thoughts. Even ones that seem positive, like I’m so great because I just got a new car, are really only negative ones in disguise, since they reinforce the belief you weren’t great before you got the new car. And that’s the good news—negative thoughts are a normal part of human functioning. This means you don’t have to worry about the fact that you’re having them in the first place. No matter how gnarly they get, it’s all pretty normal.

      Like

  7. Ever After says:

    As humans we are unfortunately naturally wired to think negatively, so it takes effort and practice to think positively. An alternative to analyzing your negative thoughts on one day is trying to list a few things you thought were positive and why you thought they were positive. By training yourself, your brain, to refocus on the positives you may eventually break free from the negative train of thoughts. Though it takes practice. Great post 👍

    Like

    1. Garima says:

      Thank you Chidera, glad you like the post. One of the first steps toward changing your negative thinking patterns is understanding exactly how you think right now. Thank you for stopping by.

      Like

  8. busker boy says:

    Another very helpful and clear post Garima. I look forward to your tips and ideas – thank you 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Garima says:

      I am glad you liked the post. Negative thinking contributes to anxiety in social and performance situations. Most therapies for social anxiety involve an aspect dedicated to changing negative thinking styles into more helpful and positive ways of looking at situations. The key to changing your negative thoughts is to understand how you think now (and the problems that result) and then use strategies to change thoughts or make them have less effect. Thank you for stopping by today.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. busker boy says:

        It’s always a pleasure, Garima, reading your posts – thanks again 😎

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Megala says:

    Wonderful insightful tips! I would like to share this page with my family & friends. Thanks so much.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Garima says:

      Sure Megala. Do share. I am glad you liked them.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. gpavants says:

    Hi Garima,

    And that is the battle we fight in our head. It is a mind field for sure. Being a “nerd” and a creative I totally understand this battle. I hope you have victory here too.

    Thank you,

    Gary

    Liked by 1 person

  11. BellaDour says:

    Garima, this was helpful. Often magazines that discuss mental health/self-care articles offer vague tips regarding combatting negative self talk, negative thinking and pessimism.Your article was very specific and helping people understand their thought patterns and recreate healthier thought patterns in the process. Also I appreciate you discussing gray thinking. I still tend to think in right-or-Wrong. I guess it’s the idealist in me 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Garima says:

      Hahahah grey thinking is safe play.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Rhonda Pfaltzgraff-Carlson says:

    I find these steps to be helpful when a thought has captured my attention. But I have found that having a practice of letting them go of these types of thoughts is helpful too. (I do Centering Prayer.) That type of practice helps us know that we are more than our thoughts. The less we identify with them, the more we are free to do new things!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Garima says:

      Thank you Rhonda for reminding us to ground ourselves. More often that not we get lost in the myriad of our thoughts.

      Like

    1. Garima says:

      I am glad you found the post helpful.

      Like

  13. ayegbokiki says:

    This kind of puts things in perspective more than a visit to my psychiatrist did. Glad I read it. I should paste it somewhere to read up when I’m down

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Garima says:

      I am glad you found my post so helpful. Gratitude is most important. When was the last time you made a mental list of all the things you are grateful for? If it was so long you couldn’t recall, it might be why you are attracting negative thoughts. Your gratitude for all the awesome things that happened to you has a huge impact on your mental state.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ayegbokiki says:

        Thanks Garima .I believe I’d do this.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to your blog before but after going through a few of the posts I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyways, I’m definitely pleased I found it and I’ll be book-marking
    it and checking back regularly!

    Like

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