Negative thoughts are more than the painful symptom of your inability to accept reality, they are a deeply unhealthy bad habit that will leaving you feeling fatigued, impair your thinking and lead to many kinds of health problems. Negative thinking leads to the bad kind of stress that increases hormones like cortisol that is meant to motivate you to change your current situation, such as run away from a lion. But negative thoughts can become habits imprinted on your mind.
If you complain about something once, you will probably find yourself complaining about it again and again until it becomes a common thought, triggered by anything perceived as even a mild annoyance.
Have you ever tried controlling your negative thoughts? If you never have, you really need to give it a try.
Most people seem to give up. I gave up the first few dozen times I tried. Negative thoughts would pop up into my mind whenever I encountered something that I let bother me a little. And as a result, I felt a little bad. The problem is, that feeling is addictive. In fact, every emotion is addictive. When all you’ve known is negativity and the pain that brings, your body automatically reacts the way you have trained it to.
Think of some common negative thoughts you have. Maybe you worry too much what people think of you, maybe you worry about the consequences of being late to a meeting. Maybe you got pissed off at that random guy who made fun of you. You could perceive anything in the world as worthy of aggression or negative thoughts. But when you interpret things negatively, that leads to negative emotions, which become habits. Those habits eventually become your personality.
How to Overcome Negative Thinking
If you are a negative, critical, or worrisome person, you only have yourself to blame. Although those habits you have could have been formed when you were younger, you can work to change those habits any day you choose. You could wake up and choose to live life with any personality you want. But the obstacle to doing this is you are USED to living life with the negative personality that convinces you it is necessary to exist.
Look at all the different kinds of personalities you meet during a given day. These personalities are formed over time as people react to and form opinions about different stimuli. Some people be lucky enough to live a life with plenty of positive feedback, compassion and encouragement. Most psychologists seem agree that kind of background leads to emotionally “well” adjusted individuals. However this must depend on the person, and also it seems to be a weaker personality than someone who chooses not to let the bullshit in life affect him.
I would much rather learn to overcome perceived difficulties in life and gain strength and wisdom through this struggle, than to live a pain free life only to collapse under an unexpected stress.
Of course there are plenty of people with great lives who can overcome any challenge simply because the positive reinforcement they constantly receive from reality cultivates a powerful confidence.
If for whatever reason you develop a habit of thinking negative thoughts, you can change them with practice, no matter how long they have been part of your personality.
I used to be negative and let little things bother me, but made a choice that my happiness is always my choice no matter what. You might of heard of that idea before, and whether you believe it or not, it is true. Your perceptions are your reality.
If a confident person perceives everyone as admiring him, that is the reality he lives in no matter how delusional it is or not. If you believe the world is an evil place where everyone is out to get you, that is exactly the reality you will see and attract to yourself.
Just by making the effort to focus on positive thoughts, you are making a start. And eventually you can get to the point where no external nonsense bothers you at all. Believe me it’s possible. It takes effort and the genuine desire to change, but you can do it.
Eliminate Negative thoughts:
• Pay attention to your negative thoughts. If you suddenly think, “That guy was a rude piece of shit! How dare he cut in front of me!?” Realize this interpretation will only make you feel upset and can’t change reality. The only reality you have control over at all times is your internal reality. So why not feel good?
• Stop being a victim. Your thoughts, and emotions are your choice. If you EVER catch yourself complaining that someone or some situation hurt you emotionally just realize it is actually you who has hurt yourself.
• Don’t hold grudges. It might be hard to forgive some evil cheating ex girlfriends. But holding onto that negativity is really unhealthy. Stop being stuck in the past and just let it go. Forgiveness opens you up to a lot of positive energy
• Be considerate of others. Studies have shown that helping others, kindness, and volunteering helps people live longer. These actions release the hormone oxytocin which makes your heart stronger. Selfish behavior leads to poorer health, which makes sense as you aren’t contributing to the species as much as others.
• Exercise. Going to the gym a few times a week can change your life. Exercise releases dopamine, you’ll start feeling healthier, and you’ll like yourself more.
• Eat Healthy. So many articles suggest you eat well on the internet so sorry to beat this dead horse. However the truth is what you eat fuels your brain. Wouldn’t you want to eat the best fuel to have the best mind possible instead of junk that leaves you feeling tired and negative?
• Gratitude. Every night before you go to bed tell yourself something you are grateful for. If you want real results, write it down and do this over a long period of time. Doing it a few times might not make you feel much different. But it’s like brushing your teeth, if you forget to brush once in a while it’s ok, but if you never brush you will lose all your teeth, whereas daily brushing will help you keep your teeth healthy. So many things are an accumulative effect like that. Building the habit of gratitude will change your life when you practice it daily over a few months.
I’ve experimented with all of these, and they each have the potential to diminish negative thinking. What I find most helpful though is meditation.
In the most basic meditation, focus your full attention on your breath and observe your thoughts. Don’t try to control your breath. And don’t try to control your thoughts. When you think of something negative, just remind yourself you are trying to change that habit. Doing this just 20 minutes a day for 3 months WILL change your life.
Do you really want to obliterate your anxiety, depression and negative mood? Or do you just want to complain about the fact you suffer from negative thoughts without actually trying to change it?
You read through this article, so why don’t you commit to changing your negative thoughts? Are you too weak? Do you not believe only 90 days of consecutive 20 minute meditation can change your brain and help you develop more positive thinking habits? Are you just too lazy? I’m sure most people can find at least 20 minutes a day. Personally I have the best results when I meditate for 1 or 2 hours, but if you aren’t ready to commit to that then just try 20 minutes!
There is no such thing as instant relief from negative thoughts. There is no instant solution, unless you have been practicing controlling your emotional reactions to the world.
Please give these suggestions and meditation a try and if you still aren’t satisfied please come back here and complain about how you are still plagued by negative thoughts because I really want to know if this is ineffective for anyone.
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