Here are some practical tips for coping with your repetitive negative thoughts:
1. Be mindful of your thoughts. One of the most important things you can do is to be mindful of your thoughts. It means that you actively pay attention to what
you’re thinking and how those thoughts make you feel.
- When you catch negative or obsessive thinking, try to acknowledge it without engaging with it. It will help you step out of the thought spiral and start gaining some control over your thoughts.
- Keep a thought journal. It can help you become more aware of your thoughts and patterns. Every day write any negative or obsessive thoughts that you have. Once you’ve written them down, try to reframe them more positively or realistically.
- For example, if you’re obsessing over a mistake you made, you might write something like, “It’s normal to make mistakes sometimes. Everyone makes mistakes.”
- Keep a log of your thoughts. It can be a helpful way to track your negative thoughts over time, helping you to see patterns and identify triggers.
2. Challenge your negative thoughts. Once you’ve become more aware of your negative thoughts, you can challenge them. It means looking at the evidence for
and against your thoughts and thinking about how realistic or accurate they are.
- For example, if you’re stuck in a negative thought spiral about something that went wrong at work, ask yourself whether there’s any evidence to support your thought.
- You might come up with reasons it wasn’t as bad as you think, such as “I only made one mistake, and it wasn’t a big deal” or “I learned from what happened, and I’ll do better next time.”
- Take action. Sometimes, the best way to deal with negative thoughts is to take action. If you’re obsessing over something that you can’t change, such as a past mistake, it may be helpful to do something productive instead.
- For example, you might work on a project that you’ve been putting off, learn a new skill, or spend time with friends and family.
- Speak positive affirmations. Besides taking action and challenging your negative thoughts, you can also try speaking positive affirmations. These are simple phrases that you say to yourself, out loud or in your head, that help you feel more confident.
- Use these affirmations: “I can achieve my goals.” “I am worthy of love and respect.” “I am strong.” “I can overcome any obstacle.”
3. Set achievable goals. Another effective way to cope with negative thoughts is to set achievable goals. It can help you feel more in control and boost your
self-esteem, making it easier to stop focusing on negative thoughts.
- Be specific. Rather than making a vague resolution like, “I want to be happier,” set a specific goal like, “I will join an exercise class twice a week.”
- Set realistic goals. It’s important to be realistic when setting goals, as unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment and frustration. Consider your time commitments, financial resources, skills, and other factors to come up with reasonable goals that you can achieve.
- Start small. If you’re struggling to stick to your goals, start small and work your way up. For example, if your goal is to exercise for 30 minutes every day, you might begin exercising for 10 minutes and accumulate the time you spend working out.
- Make a plan. Once you’ve set your goals, it's helpful to make a plan for how you’ll achieve them. It might include breaking larger goals down into smaller steps and creating a timeline or schedule so that you have a clear idea of what needs to get done and when.
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4. See a therapist. If you find you can’t seem to shake your negative thoughts, it may be helpful to see a therapist. A therapist can help you understand your
thoughts and patterns and give you tools and techniques for dealing with them.
- If you think seeing a therapist might be helpful, speak to your doctor or research online to find a therapist in your area.
- There are several benefits to seeing a therapist. Therapy can help you understand the root causes of your negative thoughts, identify thought patterns or triggers, and develop new strategies for effectively managing them.
- Therapy can also provide you with a supportive space to process difficult emotions, work through challenging situations, and gain support during difficult times.
- Working with a therapist can help you develop a greater sense of self-awareness, self-compassion, and resilience.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that can be effective for dealing with negative thoughts. CBT focuses on changing the way you think about and respond to situations.
There are many ways to cope with negative thoughts, including speaking positive affirmations, setting achievable goals, and seeing a therapist. One of the most effective strategies is cognitive-behavioral therapy, which focuses on changing your thoughts and responses to manage negative thoughts more effectively.
While there may be some challenges involved in coping with negative thoughts, it’s important to remember that you have the power to control your thoughts and choose how you want to respond to them.
With effort and practice, you can develop healthy coping mechanisms that work for you and help you lead a more positive and fulfilling life.
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