7 Ways To Get Rid Of Negative Thoughts, According To Experts
Many of us feel negative from time to time — and it's easy to let negative energy bog you down. When it does, it can affect every area of your life. "It's important to get the negative voice out of your head because, if it's strong enough, it has the power to [overcome you] — your meeting, your day, your relationships, your life," psychologist Deborah E. Dyer, Ph.D. tells Bustle. "Most of us are our own worst critics. Shutting down the negative voice allows your confidence, self-esteem, and energy to flow and to be powerful, not powerless."
But how can you shut down that negative voice? And clear that negative energy out of your life? Well, for some of us it's easier than others. The important thing is to not try to obsess about the negativity — it's about processing it and dealing with it. There are some obvious solutions, like cutting out toxic people and focusing on activities that make you feel good. But there are actually some surprising hacks that can help you, too.
From looking for the source of your negativity to learning not to fight it, here are some unexpected ways to clear negative energy that actually do the job, according to experts.
1. Remember That Negative Feelings Aren't All Bad
If you have negative feelings and then beat yourself up for having negative feelings, you're creating a lot of useless negative energy. Instead, remember that your negative emotions are actually OK. "Emotions help us connect with our own experiences and with others," Chicago-based psychotherapist Sarah Farris tells Bustle. "Unfortunately, many people may feel pressure from others to not show their feelings or are criticized when having a negative feeling." Instead try to acknowledge them, accept them, and then do what you need to do to feel better.
2. Write Down Your Negative Thoughts
If you're having negative thoughts, literally writing them down and throwing them away may seem silly, but it can make a huge difference. "Most of us just allow it to happen and take if for truth without bothering to believe we have the power to change it," says Dyer. "Write it down when you hear the negative voice. This way you can document the occurrences and get a more clear understanding of what you're saying to yourself and how you're feeling as a result." And getting rid of those thoughts is just so satisfying.
3. Go Outside
Spending time outdoors is a great way to purge yourself of negative energy. "It isn't so much about the level of physical activity as it is about stepping away from the chaos of life to spend time quietly reconnecting with both nature and our thoughts," women's empowerment and divorce coach Heather Debreceni tells Bustle.
4. Use That Screenshot
If you have a tendency to doubt yourself, try taking screenshots of positive things in your life — compliments from friends or colleagues, things you're proud of, whatever brings you a smile. "When you're feeling low, you can reference these reminders of how great you are," communication coach Nicole Ramano tells Bustle. "Sometimes, when you can't find the confidence within, it's OK to get some help from the outside." If you have a screenshot saved, it's always on your phone.
5. Use Reminders To Hype Yourself Up
If you need to clear out negative thoughts throughout your day, Ramano suggests setting alarms or reminders with positive thoughts. Saying, "You're going to nail this meeting!" or "You're killing it" can help give you a little boost and help push away some of that negative energy.
6. Look At Your Job
Sometimes when you're performing well and getting a sense of achievement, you don't realize that something can still be a negative force. But work can be a huge source of negative energy, so make sure to pay attention to how you feel on the job, even if you're performing well. "You might feel nervous all the time, and worried that everything you do is wrong. It's common to take it personally and begin to question your own worth. Never let that happen/get to that point," certified professional coach Lori Scherwin to Bustle. If your job seems toxic, you need to talk to your manager — or even consider changing employers.
7. Smile More
I know, smiling might be the last thing you want to do when you feel down, but sometimes faking it until you make it can really pay off. And no, not in "One thing that I find makes people happier is actually smiling," Sarah J. Cepeda, certified life coach and empowerment speaker, tells Bustle. "You'd be surprised at how much of an impact something as simple as smiling can have on a person." It can really change your mood. If you have trouble smiling when you're feeling blue, take a minute and think about things you're grateful for — that can give you something to smile about.
Negative thoughts are something that pretty much everyone struggles with, so you shouldn't feel badly about it. But rather than getting angry at yourself for feeling down, accept those feelings and try to work through them. You're only human, after all.