Stopping Negative Thoughts
When you notice that negative thoughts or images are starting to enter your mind, try actually say “stop!” to yourself. If you’re alone, you can try saying this out loud, but it can also be very effective when just said in your head.
If you prefer, you can use language that’s stronger than “stop” (such as “Get out of my head!” or even something a bit more colourful).
For people who aren’t as moved by words, images can be more powerful. The classic example is a bright red stop sign that you picture in your mind’s eye when intrusive thoughts begin to appear.
There are also some more direct approaches to thought stopping. For example, you can try the old tactic of splashing your face with water, or just change the direction of your thinking. Some people like to count backwards from 100 to 1.
2. Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations can be used in a couple of different ways. First, they might be deployed in the same way as thought stopping techniques—in other words, you might say an affirmation as soon as you feel a negative thought coming your way.
For example, if you’re working to find a new partner using the Law of Attraction and catch yourself thinking that you don’t deserve love, you can say “I am a valuable, lovable person and I will find a great relationship.”
Secondly, however, saying affirmations on a daily basis starts to reshape your thinking, making them a powerful tool even when you’re already in a good mood. Design your affirmations carefully, and try making eye contact with yourself in the mirror when you recite them.
3. Enforcing Boundaries
If you’ve lived with negative thinking for a very long time, you might think it’s unrealistic to just suddenly expect yourself to change your approach.
In this situation, even affirmations and thought stopping techniques may seem to merely delay negative thinking for a later date.
If this sounds familiar, you might want to spend a couple of weeks at least enforcing boundaries when it comes to negative thinking.
The idea here is that you choose a fixed, limited period for allowing your mind to entertain negative thoughts, and that you commit to forcibly stopping or fighting them at every other time of the week.
When you’re reassured that you will have time to consider these thoughts, you may find they seem less powerful and have less potential to dominate your mind.
Further, many people find that they can’t even think of anything when they come to their scheduled time to allow contemplation of negative thoughts, and that this actually helps them to break their pattern.
4. Writing and Destroying
If your negative thoughts are linked to a specific strong emotion like fear, anger or jealousy, try letting them all out in writing. Use a pen and paper, and really express all of that pent up negativity.
You can then choose a way of destroying this paper, symbolising your commitment to moving on. For example, you could tear it up, crush it into a ball, burn it, or scribble over it.
For those who aren’t as keen on using words to express themselves, artistic endeavours can have a similar impact. For example, you could sculpt a representation of your negativity, or paint it, and then destroy that (or change its shape).
The point of this technique is just to get some kind of physical representation of your negativity, so that you can banish it in some satisfying symbolic way.
5. “Just Because”
You can also try to reason with yourself when you feel you are starting to spiral into negativity.
This technique involves finding a sentence you can recite to yourself in order to acknowledge that you have power over your bodily responses, and to increase that power over time.
Practice this approach by taking a deep, cleansing breath and say something like “Just because I’ve had some bad relationships doesn’t mean I have to do this to my body” or “Just because I’ve struggled to find a good job doesn’t mean I will never find one in the future.”
After your chosen sentence, say “Now relax” (letting the word “relax” be your cue to exhale, letting out tension and negativity).
If you need further help, you can always message me :)
Life coach, Mindfulness practitioner and Self Care coach