How to move past negative thoughts?

Negative thoughts can be pesky little things. They creep up on you at the most inconvenient times and refuse to let go, like that one piece of broccoli stuck between your teeth after a meal.

But fear not, my friend! There are ways to move past these negative thoughts and turn them into positive ones. And no, I’m not talking about just putting on a happy face and pretending everything is okay.

In this article, we’ll explore some practical tips on how to move past negative thoughts in a human-like tone of voice with a touch of humor. So buckle up and get ready for some positivity!

Acknowledge Your Thoughts

The first step in moving past negative thoughts is acknowledging them (even if they make you feel uncomfortable). Ignoring or pushing them aside doesn’t help; it only prolongs their stay in your mind.

So next time you catch yourself ruminating over something negative, take a moment to acknowledge the thought without judgment. For example: “I’m feeling angry right now because…”, “I’m feeling sad because…”

By acknowledging your emotions instead of brushing them under the rug will already ease the burden significantly.

Balance It Out

Next up is balancing out your negative by mixing it up with positive affirmations (don’t roll your eyes yet!) – this technique helps weigh both sides so that we don’t end down too hard:

  • Make two lists – List 1 being all the negatives associated with an event/ incident; List 2 comprising positives.

    Eg: 
    Shitty day
    List 1 (negative):  wake-up late | spilt coffee | forgot phone at home | got soaked in rain /
    
    List 2 (positive):     good hair day | had perfect breakfast sandwich | nice conversations during lunch
    
  • Focus on list 2 making sure you write down a long enough list to balance out the negatives.

        Eg: Nice conversations during lunch, resulting in a belly laugh and some spilled gravy on my sleeves - worth it!
    

Just A Thought

Remember that negative thoughts don’t define you. They’re just temporary occurrences in your mind, like stray clouds passing by.

So when you have a negative thought, try adding “It’s just a thought” before or after it (almost like putting ketchup on fries?)

For example: “I’m not good enough… but it’s just a thought.”

This serves as an affirmation technique helping you remember that thoughts come and go; they’re not forever etched upon our minds.

Picture It Differently

Most things have another perspective i.e., there is never one right way of perceiving something. So if truth be told:

1) Put facts right in front- take out every biased lens on how the situation came about.

2) Objectively look at these facts from sheer observation.

3) Look for neutral alternatives/ perceptions – find alternate ways of seeing this same event where even though it might’ve been irritating/ sad but nothing more than that – so move away from replaying/pacing into what can/Could’ve taken place instead.

    Example:
         Fact: I didn't get accepted into the program.

         Objective Observation accompanied with Neutral Alternatives
             1st Perception (past reality)-“Another opportunity missed because I lacked qualifications” 
             Alternate perception # 1 : “So many other people applied too- maybe their aim wasn’t met either”

                 2nd Perspective (past reality)- “It’s all downhill from here”
                  Alternate perception # 2: “Surely other options will surface”

Picturing events differently reminds us of multiple approaches surrounding the same outcome-breaking ourselves away from pessimistic bends we initially adopted.

Re-contextualize

This is a nifty little trick that helps creating alternative thought processes about the same event by changing the context.

For instance, rather than consistently replaying a negative “what-if” scenario from one perspective, switch it up!

Examples of re-contextualizing – adding time, space or an imaginary twist.

    Like paying attention to:

    a) Another timeframe/country where fulfilling this goal wouldn't matter

        Eg: Imagine trying to get internships in cyber-security where you’re completely far-removed and placed somewhere like Sulawesi - here this objective per se becomes irrelevant due to your surroundings.

    b) Imaginative Transpose- Switch roles with someone else when faced with identical circumstance

        Eg: Going through comments online under news stories can make anyone feel despondent; however if we flipped perspectives imaginatively and saw ourselves as aliens visiting our planet for research purposes( maybe curious on how humans read their current events), suddenly what was once nerve-wracking thoughts become funny anecdotes explaining human behaviour!

Observe Your Emotions

Lastly, (Drumroll please) observe how different emotions feel within you:

  • Share positive feelings throughout day eg Take note of when both small/large moments occur eliciting joy/excitement so they don’t go unnoticed by repeating them mentally/ physiologically/emotionally etc.
    Example:
            Walking down subway steps while listening to favorite tune--> Encountering doggos --> Buying food truck hot chicken rice bowl on impromptu lunch break
    

Observing all these happy things happening arounds decreases the room for only linger-negative thoughts.It’s just shifting focus towards positivity.

Negative thoughts might try pulling themselves into every nook and cranny of mind but using these simple hacks shouldn’t leave you chained up always struggling towards mental Nirvana – Knowing that progress in mindset will come in small degrees rather than battling with thoughts by lamenting our lack of said progress. It’s just a reminder that many people all around us- trying to achieve the same thing.

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