Negative Thoughts and Overcoming Them
'The mind feasts on what it focusses on. What consumes my thinking will be the making or the breaking of my identity’ – Lysa Terkeurst.
Our thoughts are SO powerful. The kind of thoughts we have, we become. This is why it is so important to keep our thoughts in check and not let the negative ones consume us. Sometimes we can make life much harder than it actually is. We can create a situation in our mind that is truly unnecessary or exaggerate a situation that we are going through.
This is caused by worry, a negative mind set, ruminating over a particular thought or over-thinking. Everyone does this to some extent and it is completely normal. However, we mustn’t dwell on these thoughts for too long or else we become them! Sometimes we can miss out on the positives because we are too focused on the negatives. Those who focus more on the positives and can allow a negative thought to pass are going to live a happier and more fulfilled life.
Sometimes negative thoughts are constantly there or maybe they appear when triggered by a particular event or situation. For example, if a conversation didn’t go as planned or something didn’t go the way that we hoped it would.
Our thoughts are influenced by the beliefs that have been formed across our whole lives. For example, perhaps something happened in the past where you didn’t feel good enough or not clever enough. This past message can creep up on us through our thoughts when this feeling or memory is triggered by an event in the present.
We can jump to conclusions and imagine the absolute worst case scenario happening. Often these thoughts will put ourselves down or compare ourselves to others. These false beliefs can make us really unhappy and we don’t have to live like this. Let’s not have our happiness stolen by our thoughts anymore.
So how do we reframe these negative thoughts?
1. Start noticing the negative thoughts – perhaps keep a thought journal (you could even just jot them down in your phone). Anytime you get a negative thought, write it down in your journal. This is also a good way to establish when this thought appears and what specifically triggers it.
2. What evidence is there for this thought? – it is helpful to weigh up the thought, perhaps ask yourself these questions.. Is the thought based on emotion or facts? Is there evidence that this thought is accurate and isn’t accurate? How else can I interpret this thought?
3. Replace this thought with a positive or more realistic one – the words we use really do matter. Your negative thought might be.. ‘I got this wrong, I am a failure’ this could be changed into .. ‘I may have got something wrong but I can learn from this, there are many other things I have got right’.
Obviously, this makes changing our negative thoughts sound really easy. Truth is it doesn’t happen overnight but it is very possible with persistence. Changing our thoughts is a process but it will be worthwhile, if our thinking is rational and more positive then we will be much happier people. If negative thoughts are worrying you then I would recommend talking to a counsellor. They will be able to help you understand your thoughts and facilitate you to change them.