When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year, it can be really difficult to think positively. Even the idea of mustering up an ounce of positivity can seem exhausting, but everyone should know how to combat negative thinking. Negative thoughts seem harmless enough, but they can be powerful. A single negative thought can buzz through your brain like a bee, making you feel uncomfortable, yet you can hopefully swat it away. Sometimes when you are stuck in a cycle of negative thinking, one annoying negative thought can easily attract others, so you're left with a swarm of them, trapped inside your mind, which begins to feel like a beehive.
Negative thinking can spoil just about anything; You could be worrying about if your guests are having a good time at your party instead of enjoying it, convincing yourself you're not as cute as your date, or thinking about all of the chores you should be doing when you're hanging with your BFF. If you let them, negative thoughts can take every happy moment of your life and turn it into something negative – a little like the Grinch before his positive transformation.
Show those negative thoughts who they're dealing with and kick some negative butt with these awesome tips.
1. Don't Hold On To Negative Thoughts
What's the point in holding on to negative thoughts when you don't have to? When I was younger, I would get fixated on a negative thought and I would obsessively worry over it, letting it ruin the rest of my day. That was until I realized I didn't have to be burdened with negativity anymore. Obsessively worrying about things isn't going to get you anywhere; Happify summed this up in their infographic, "How to Stop Negative Thoughts from Getting You Down." The article informed readers not to be a "Ruminant" explaining that, "Although negative thoughts are normal, going over and over them in your head – what scientists call 'rumination' – leads to increased anxiety, depression, and a sense of helplessness."
In order to free yourself of negative thoughts, Happify recommend an exercise based on the findings of a study by Ohio State University which includes: Writing down your negative thoughts, ripping up the paper, and throwing it in the trash. So try this next time you can't shake a pesky negative thought.
2. Choose To Be Positive
According to The Huffington Post, happiness is a choice, "Although our general mood levels and well-being are partially determined by factors like genetics and upbringing, roughly 40 percent of our happiness is within our control, according to some experts, and a large body of research in the field of positive psychology has shown that happiness is a choice that anyone can make." So if we have direct control over almost half of our capability to be happy, we should be making sure we are choosing to be positive and happy. Figure out what makes you happy, read up on some tips to start your day off positively, and try to see the best in every situation.
3. Practice Gratitude
Practicing gratitude can be a vital tool in helping you feel more positive. The art of practicing gratitude is taking the time out to consciously evaluate what you are grateful for in your life. In time, when you begin to realize how many things you are thankful for, you start to feel more positive about your life in general; it's a way of shifting the focus from negativity to positivity. Gala Darling – teacher, author, and all-round inspiration – shows you how to practice gratitude in three different ways. Discover your favorite way to practice gratitude and start the shift towards positivity today!
4. Drop Insanely High Expectations
According to The Huffington Post, "Managing our expectations is important for a number of reasons, the main one being our own sense of happiness. The less disappointment we face, the happier we are." Not everyone is the same and not everyone will think the same way you do, or react to things in the same way.
People, situations, jobs, and life in general will let you down if you go around enforcing strict expectations upon them. That's not to say you don't deserve respect from people, of course you do, but perhaps some people may not be as outgoing or attentive as you are and that's OK because everyone's different. I'm not saying you should have low expectations and expect the worst from everyone and everything, but rather don't let high expectations get in the way of your happiness.
5. Evaluate The People In Your Life
Is there a certain someone in your life who makes you feel glum with their eternal pessimism? Do you leave their presence feeling full of negativity and as if you need to clear your aura? Everybody goes through rough patches and if your friend is only being a Negative Nelly because she's going through a hard time, then help her to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There are some people out there however, whose life mission appears to be to put a downer on everything, even if there's not actually anything to be down about. When you're wading through a negative patch, you need positive people around you.
According to Tiny Buddha, "When you’re stuck in a negative spiral, talk to people who can put things into perspective and won’t feed your negative thinking." It may be time to ditch the downer and find yourself some new friends who are more on your wavelength.
When going through a difficult time, the last thing you might want to do is exercise but according to The Huffington Post, it's worth it because, "Exercise is great for dealing with depression and helping you to feel good." Shape backs this up reporting that, "...exercise is an effective and proven stress management technique, which can help an individual fight the blues, while improving general health." If you're struggling to find motivation, check out Shape's "exercises to beat the blues" which could help you banish your negative thinking.
7. Talk To A Professional
If it's all gotten a bit too much and your negative thoughts are plaguing you, it might be time to ask for some professional help. If you are having unwanted, upsetting, or distressing thoughts it could be a sign that you need to have a mental health check up, so you might want to think about seeing a therapist to help you deal with these negative thoughts.
If the above tips don't help, and you continue feeling depressed or even suicidal, then there are absolutely resources out there. Visit Mentalhealth.gov or StrengthOfUs.org for information on how to get help in your area, and if you feel as though it's an emergency, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Because no one has time for negative thoughts anyway.