Who among us, every now and then, does not get caught up in anxiety and negative thoughts? But getting rid of it is possible. Here are some useful and practical tips to clear your mind of negative thinking. By accepting the fact that it is impossible not to have negative thoughts and that our mind is a bit like a little monkey that runs from one thought to another without stopping, we try to understand how to get rid of thoughts and worries that are often useless as well as harmful.
Negative thoughts , worry, anxiety , fears . Who among us has never experienced such unpleasant sensations at least a few times in life ?
Well yes, it is almost impossible never to have tried them. From an early age we perceive these emotions and, in the most fortunate cases, we learn to live with them and manage them, in the less fortunate cases, we drag them on and, at times, we magnify with the passage of time.
By accepting the fact that it is impossible not to have negative thoughts and that our mind is a bit like a little monkey that runs from one thought to another without stopping, we try to understand how to get rid of thoughts and worries that are often useless as well as harmful.
German psychologist Stefanie Stahl comes to our rescue in her book ‘Who turned the light off?’ in which he gives us several examples and offers us exercises to free ourselves from negative thoughts , heal our “inner child” and strengthen self-esteem .
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It was not necessary that our childhood was terrible or that we suffered who knows what abuses for negative thoughts to be present in our mind .
Few unhappy events can leave an indelible mark on our mind. In fact, we are genetically predisposed to pay more attention to negative experiences than to positive ones.
The reason is simple: for survival, it is more important to be alert to dangers than to things that are already going well. If we think about it, this idea is not difficult to understand. A primitive man had to know how to recognize the danger of a fierce approaching beast, a poisonous plant from a harmless one and so on because he went away from his own life.
Now we no longer live perpetually exposed to risks of this type but our brain partly preserves that primordial instinct and we must remember it when we think that ‘EVERYTHING’ goes wrong.
An exercise to strengthen positive thoughts
The moment we realize that this is our nature as human beings, we can immediately adopt some ‘countermeasure’ to impress on our mind also everything that happens to us positive.
A good exercise is to keep a kind of ‘gratitude diary’ .
Every evening, before falling asleep, we can review the day, remember at least 3 positive things that happened to us and for which we are grateful and write them down in a notebook.
The mere fact of writing them gives these events greater importance than they would have if we only thought of them. The brain remembers what it writes better than it only thinks .
Furthermore, by constantly repeating this exercise, our mind will be more and more predisposed to remember the ‘beauty’ that happens to it every day and, if at first finding 3 things to be grateful for, it may not always be easy, little by little it will become more and more and we will feel more satisfied and less prey to negative thoughts and anxiety .
A recurring negative thought
A negative thought can also be recurrent and create us very uncomfortable. Often, these types of negative thoughts arise from beliefs rooted within us and which have developed in childhood.
Often we realize (in retrospect unfortunately) these negative thoughts because we have excessive and sudden reactions that take possession of us without giving us the opportunity to control our impulses .
Negative thoughts and anxiety
There are periods in the course of life when negative thoughts are so present and vivid within us that we cannot get rid of them .
The negative thoughts persistent i we can easily lead to a state of anxiety , thoughts of inadequacy that do not allow us to live in freedom as it have the right and the power to do.
Prevention is better than cure
Some people seem to be less inclined to negative thoughts or, in any case, they seem to manage better, even difficult situations that life offers them. How is it possible?
Inserting some good habits into one’s lifestyle also positively affects our thoughts, it is now scientifically proven.
The first exercise to experiment is the one described above, that is, keeping a diary of the positive things that happen to us every day and for which it is worth to thank.
In addition to this, to prevent negative moods , we can try to:
1. Do some physical activity every day
All doctors agree. Movement is good for body and mind . Half an hour of walking (it is also good to park the car away from the workplace and reach it on foot) daily is a natural and free of cost negative thoughts .
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More and more studies show the positive effects on the brain of this simple but effective activity that allows, over time, to explore new possibilities and new responses to what happens to us every day.
If you have never tried it, simply start focusing on your breathing for 1 minute. You can also do it right now. Use a timer so you won’t always check the clock and won’t get distracted.
Whenever your mind is distracted, bring it back to the breath. It’s all here. But after a few days, you may feel the desire to extend the time and benefit from greater calm and lucidity.
Try 10 minutes of meditation to start and end the day!
3. Make time for yourself
Within the week, make sure you have time to devote to something you like. The stress and a number of commitments and ‘duties’ too is fertile ground for negative thoughts . Learning to have fun, hanging out with fun people, practicing a hobby or learning a new dance style can be a real breath of fresh air in your life.
LEARN TO MANAGE STRESS AND TAKE TIME FOR YOU!
How to clear your mind of negative thoughts
To get out of critical situations of anxiety and recurring negative thoughts , there are several techniques. Some of them may seem simple and trivial but, just as simple, it is worth trying.
Then, each of us will find the strategy that is most useful to him and with which he feels most comfortable.
Here’s how to get rid of negative thinking quickly and effectively .
1. Focus on something else
It may seem obvious but we, very often, in anxiety , we forget it. With a clear mind, however, we have to internalize this idea: the brain is not able to do multiple things at a time. So if, in the midst of a negative emotion , your attention is fixed on something else, you cannot simultaneously feel pain.
For example, when you find you have a negative thought or a flow of negative thoughts, distract yourself by forcing yourself to focus on the external environment, find 10 things in red or think of 10 countries that begin with the letter B.
2. Change posture
Feelings and our body are closely linked. So how can you get rid of negative thoughts ? If you have a certain thought and are in a certain position (usually ‘forced’, with your shoulders and head down or with your torso or stiff jaw), take 2 steps to stretch your legs.
Or, if you can’t get up, spread your shoulders and chest well, look up, feel your feet firmly on the ground, breathe deeply.
Change your ‘physical’ attitude and you will change your mental one too.
3. Take a reality test
We often identify ourselves so much with our beliefs that we do not realize that they force us to give an interpretation of reality that often does not correspond to the truth.
It is a good exercise, when a negative thought is triggered in us , to reconnect it to the situation in which we find ourselves and to distance ourselves from our thought, also evaluating the hypothesis that it is not objective reality.
Example: My boss points out to me a mistake I made.
My deep belief could be: I can’t make mistakes! I must be perfect! I’m not up to it!
My negative thought will be: My boss believes it is not suitable for this job and wants to replace me.
Defense strategy : control craze and perfectionism – I will do everything even more carefully, I will be even more precise and I will work overtime.
Reality test : By analyzing the situation with more detachment, my most rational and adult part could come to this conclusion: ‘You can do your job well and continue to improve. Even your boss and colleagues happen to make mistakes. Part of you reacts too sensitive to criticism . ‘
If you manage to put the right distances between what really happens to you and your interpretation, you will remain calmer and can allow yourself to learn from your mistakes and treat yourself and others with understanding and indulgence, grasping everyone’s imperfection, not only yours.
LOW SELF-ESTEEM? FIND OUT THE CAUSES AND HOW TO IMPROVE IT
If you have a serious problem that constantly generates negative thoughts , you can deliberately decide to deal with it for half an hour a day by writing down the sensations it arouses , what it causes and how you can deal with it to improve the situation.
After half an hour, go back to your activities. Your older part will be ‘reassured’ by the fact that you are taking care of it and will be able to relax in the rest of the time.
If during the day you find yourself rethinking your problem anyway, you can adopt a small trick: put an elastic on your wrist and, when you realize that you are ‘mulling over’ your concern, change your pulse and then go back to your activities by reminding yourself that, for half an hour a day, you already deal with that problem.
5. Accept negative thinking
One of the cardinal principles of Buddhist philosophy says to accept things as they are. Without having to become a Buddhist or to study such thought, you can make this very simple but powerful idea your own.
Psychologically one can decide to ‘accept’ what is happening to us without resisting it . If you are sad or angry or afraid, repeat within yourself a phrase similar to: ‘Yes, it is so’.
This simple thought is very liberating, it allows you to relax with what is there. Because, however, there is.
Agree to experience that feeling , exactly as it is without wanting to change it. Your most defenseless and childish part of you will feel understood and will be able to calm down. The sooner you accept your mood, the sooner this can leave room for more.
Becoming aware of your thoughts and accepting the state of affairs from which you start is the first step to change.
6. Be yourself
The negative thoughts , the sense of shame and the defense strategies that we put in place, basically aim to protect us from attacks, to make us appreciate more and to push us to adapt to a community. Often, however, those who have very deep-seated negative beliefs and a deep inferiority feeling, try to compensate in ways that, although at first glance they may seem protective, actually damage them.
How can we overcome negative beliefs
For example, those who feel much inferior and fall victim to negative thoughts about themselves can hide their opinions and desires, have aggressive behavior, diminish others or flee from relationships.
To learn to support and ‘be friends’ with ourselves, we must accept the fact of being imperfect . If you accept all parts of yourself, you will develop a feeling of belonging that cannot be affected by any external situation. And if you are at home within yourself, others will perceive it and you can welcome and be indulgent with them too.