How To Get Rid Of Toxic Thoughts In 2019, According To Experts
If you're looking for the perfect New Year's goal, then you might want to consider this: one of the best things that you can do for yourself is to get rid of your toxic thoughts. Even though everyone struggles with negativity here and there, you shouldn't underestimate the power that these toxic thoughts can have on your day-to-day life.
"We absolutely have the ability to turn ourselves into individuals with constant anxiety, a depressed mood, an angry outlook, and a pessimistic view of the world," clinical psychologist Dr. Joshua Klapow, host of The Web Radio Show, tells Bustle. "Our thoughts drive our emotional experience. When we have thoughts of doubt, sadness, fear, and frustration our mood changes."
If you can get rid of those negative thoughts — or at least minimize them — it can be a totally transformative experience. "Change your thoughts and you change your emotions," Klapow says. "Change your emotions and you can change your mental health."
But if you're someone who's struggled with toxic thoughts for a long time, it can be difficult to imagine how you would ever move past them. Of course, you should always try to seek professional help if you feel like that would be beneficial to your mental health, but if you just need some tips to try to combat negative thoughts on your own, here's what you should keep in mind.
1. Try To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
A lot of negative thoughts come in the form of insecurity, jealousy, resentment, or worthlessness — all of which stem from comparing ourselves to others. It's so easy, especially in with social media, to always be comparing yourself to others — but it's so important to move past that.
"Everyone has their own struggles and it's very dangerous to compare our lives to what we think others' lives are like," therapist Fara Tucker, LCSW tells Bustle. "This is a set up to thinking that we are defective, deficient, inadequate, failing at life, broken... We have no idea what people are really going through." Remember that everyone has their own struggles — you just probably won't find them in Instagram posts.
2. Separate Your Past And Present
A lot of negativity can stem from our past — especially when it comes to romantic relationships.
"We all keep a piece of our past with us to somehow 'protect us' from being hurt again," matchmaker and dating coach Joann Cohen, tells Bustle. "But if you continue to bring your old relationships into your new and the hurt along with it, then you are self-sabotaging and creating the reality that things just don’t and won’t work."
Try to remember that just because bad things happened before doesn't mean they have to happen again — and approach every day with a fresh start.
3. Accept Toxic Thoughts — And Release Them
Finally, it's important to try to overcome the thoughts themselves. "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."
To do this, don't argue with your own toxic thoughts — engaging with them can end up giving them more power and energy then they warrant. Instead, try to purge them through writing them down.
"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." You can accept them, assess them, and then let them go.
Wrestling with negative thoughts can be extremely damaging, so learning to move past them can be incredibly important. By stopping comparisons and learning to purge the negativity, you may find you're able to stop the toxic thoughts all on your own. But if you can't, never hesitate to seek professional health. Remember that you deserve to live your life free of all of that toxicity.