Stop Negative Thinking by Taking These 10 Steps

Stop negative thinking

Being surrounded by people who constantly think negative of every person and every situation. No matter what happens, for some reason, these people are able to see the worst in every situation. It’s almost as if they are challenged to find something to complain about.

But What if That Person is You?

Being stuck in negative thinking is stressful. Not just mentally, but physically, too. So how do you change it? How do you stop being a negative thinker?

I’ve had many people ask me this question. There is an answer, but it takes work. It means changing how you look at the world around you and changing how you see yourself.

What Does Positive Thinking Mean?

The first thing to understand is this: positive thinking doesn’t mean that every time something bad happens you feel good about it. It means, when something bad happens, you figure out a way to fix it, learn from it, and move on. It means that when you’re presented with a problem you want to find a solution instead of complaining because you have a problem.

If you’re ready to be a positive thinker, here are 10 ways you can to this!

Self Development HQ | Stop Negative Thinking by Taking These 10 Steps

Look for the Positive

Life is hard! There’s people in the world who hurt us, we get sick, we lose our jobs, our children get in trouble at school. And on and on. But you know what? These things happen to EVERYBODY!

I’ve lost a job, my kids got in trouble at school, I’ve had to sell furniture to buy diapers. challenging. However, instead of saying, “Life sucks and everyone around me sucks.” I decided to figure out solutions to these problems.

Looking for the positive can be difficult. It takes practice and if you don’t make it a part of your everyday way of thinking, you will lose the skill. The power of positive thinking has been scientifically documented since the 1950s!

When you find yourself thinking (or saying), “Life sucks”, stop and take a breath, a big deep breath. Calm that reaction so that you know your mind is unaffected.

The point is to not dwell on the feeling but to focus on what can be done. Look for a solution. Ask what you can do about it and then do it.

When the situation has passed, you can look back and see how you could have handled this differently. You can practice this now.

Think back to a bad situation – is there something that you could have done differently? A way that you could have looked at the positive?

This is how you start to change the way in which you see things differently and help you respond in a more positive manner.  

Start a Gratitude Journal

Every day, I note 3 things that I am grateful for: one big thing, one medium thing, and one small thing. I do this using a journaling app on my phone. I even have a reminder that alerts me each day at 7pm to note what I’m grateful for. It’s a very simple habit and it’s even backed by science.

Make being grateful an everyday habit, whether it is first thing in the morning or one of the last things you do each evening. Using your smartphone or a pen and notepad, write 2 or 3 things that you’re grateful for. This simple habit will help you recognize the positive things that are happening your life and help you see the positive in situations much faster.

Change to “I get to”

A small change in how you talk to yourself about your daily life will go a long way toward helping you become a positive thinker. One of these is the simple phrase “I have to do this”. You say it every time you do something you don’t want to do, putting your mind into the negative. For example, “I have to go to work” can feel overly negative, especially when there is a project you don’t look forward to working on.

Replace the “I have to” with “I get to”. This way of thinking allows you to see and appreciate the positive points of the mundane, daily things you do.

“I get to go to work” can be expanded on at any time to include “I get to go to work and finish that project that has been annoying me” or “I get to go to work to finish that project so I can work on something new.”

Another example could be “I get to go to the grocery and buy the stuff I need to make my favorite dinner”. Pretty soon, this simple change of thinking will help you feel more positively about your day.

Turn Problems into Opportunities

When I was getting my nursing degree, I was a single mom working in a factory 5pm to 5am 4 days a week and going to school during the day.

Instead of looking at my crazy schedule like a problem, I looked at it like a challenge. There were days when I had to tell myself to “just make it through today and tomorrow will be better” but, I did it. I was able to turn my problematic schedule into an opportunity and it showed me what I was capable of. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

You have control

Understand that You Have Control

When something happens to you, it isn’t good or bad until you assign an attitude to it. You have the ability to control how you see the situation and to understand what you can do about it.

When you choose to respond, rather than react, you are given the opportunity to ask “What can I do now?” “What can be done about this now?” “Does this really apply to my life now?” you are in control of your thoughts and your actions.

Stop Negative Thinking Before it Starts

Have you listened to what you say to yourself each day? If you said the same thing to someone else, would it make them feel better or worse? When you catch yourself saying something negative you need to stop, take a deep breath, and instead say something positive.

I did this EXACT thing while writing this post today. I couldn’t figure something out on my computer and I thought, “I’m such an idiot!”

I know I’m not an idiot but I sure did feel like it. I reminded myself that I’m not an idiot, I was just tired and needed to step away and come back with a fresh set of eyes.

It helps to remember what  you are good at, how smart you are, and the great qualities that you have.

Acknowledge Negative Thinking

PsychCentral recommends, “Think of your negative thoughts as an untrained, jumping, barking dog. You can try and ignore them, tell them “no,” or turn on Netflix to tune them out, but they’ll keep hounding you until you give them some attention.”

Begin with noticing the times when you are negative. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge and sometimes, we don’t even realize how negative thinking has crept in. Be aware of your emotional responses to things that happen to you and around you that you can track them. Use positive self-talk to stop those negative thoughts the minute they start.

Practice Attitude Adjustments

Know how you want to respond and begin practicing. The key is to feel or recognize the negative thinking and immediately replace it with a positive thinking.

Begin with doing something physical like taking a deep breath, walking around the office, raising your arms straight above your head, doing a deep knee bend. This physical action will help you focus your attention on something else, distracting you from the issue causing the negative thoughts.

As you find yourself being distracted, being thinking about how you can view the issue with a positive spin

Think About Others

Think about others and how you can help them. The spiritual benefit of giving is well-known, with most people sometimes forgetting how simple it can be. As simple as volunteering your skills to an association, spending time with people who are looking for conversation, calling a friend or family member to let them know you are thinking of them.

Doing good for others will make that negative thinking disappear!

Self Development HQ | Stop Negative Thinking by Taking These 10 Steps

Let Go of Anger and Resentment

It’s difficult to think positive if you’re angry and resentful about past mistakes or hardships. Anger is an uncontrollable force that takes us over and leads us to do or say things that we wouldn’t normally think we were capable of.

If you’re not able to let go, but are willing to, have a conversation with a trusted friend or a mindset coach to get a new perspective on the past experiences that have you still riled up.

And Finally…

Doing 10 these things will make your negative thinking go away and help you to feel better and think differently about the world around you. Letting go of the past, seeking out positive experiences, improving your relationships with others, and adding new positive friends to your circle will be the result of your efforts.

By practicing these 10 steps, you will find it almost impossible to think negative about anything that happens to you or around you.

Don’t be discouraged if you find this to be more challenging than you expected. You are learning, so that means you will make mistakes. Shrug it off and keep at it because you will be happier and those around you will be happy to see have you in their lives.

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