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How Do I Stop My Negative Thinking? 

When you think negatively, it can impact your well-being. These sorts of thoughts can hurt your body and mind. You may want to stop thinking so negatively, but it doesn’t seem to work. You’re not doing anything wrong when you have negative thoughts, but it may feel as if you are. Remember, you didn’t create them. Still, it’s painful to think this way, and of course, we would like some relief from negative thinking. When you’re always thinking negatively, it can be depressing. Unfortunately, we cannot control the thoughts in our minds. We can, however, manage what we do with those thoughts. Here’s how you can get a hold of negative thinking.

You can’t control your thoughts

It’s crucial to accept the reality that you cannot control your thoughts. We think of all kinds of things. Sometimes thoughts go through our minds, and we wonder why we believe them. You can have upsetting intrusive thoughts, happy ones, angry thoughts, or frustrating ones. Unfortunately, you don’t have the opportunity to pick and choose the thoughts that go through your mind. However, you get to decide what you do with those thoughts. You could have intrusive thoughts that make you upset, and as a result, you choose to ruminate or obsess over them. Alternatively, you can choose to recognize these ideas as intrusive thoughts and move on. 

Letting go of negative thinking

One way that we get stuck in negative thinking is we ruminate on these bad thoughts. What if you choose to discard a thought that was upsetting? For example, let’s say that you had an intrusive idea where you envision getting hit by a car. There is no evidence that you’re going to be harmed by a vehicle. Yet, you can’t stop thinking about this concept. The reality is: we cannot control what happens to us in our lives. It’s upsetting, but it is true. What we can control are the efforts we take to be safe. For example, you can wear your seatbelt when you drive your car and look both ways when you cross the street. Another measure you can take is to make sure that you are aware of your surroundings at all times. If you have the intrusive thought where you’re afraid you’ll be hit by a car, let it be there in your mind, but don’t let it torture you. Understand that it’s a thought, and it does not mean something terrible is going to happen to you.

Your thoughts are not reality

For people that have anxiety, it can feel like their thoughts are real. In actuality, our thoughts are just thoughts. That might sound simple, but it’s a difficult concept to grasp when you think of something that scares you. Thoughts seem extremely powerful, but they are only feedback from our minds. Your thoughts are only as powerful as you give them credit for being. A person who has obsessive compulsive disorder is convinced that their thoughts are the truth. For example, they might think I have to lock the door three times; otherwise, something bad will happen to me. That is something that they can discuss with a therapist to get help with so that their compulsions do not make them feel out of control. Your thoughts may seem painful, but it’s crucial you separate them from who you are as a person. You did not create them, and you have the ability to act based upon what you think. You don’t have to give credence to an intrusive thought that doesn’t mean anything. 

Focus on the positive

When you think something happy or positive, relish in that moment. You may be surprised to hear this, but you can even turn a negative thought into a positive one. It’s called reframing, and it’s something that therapists help clients do in cognitive behavior therapy. For example, let’s say that you think, “I failed my test, and I will never get a passing grade in this course.” One way to reframe that thought is, “ I didn’t do my best on this exam, but I am going to study with my group of classmates, and I will do better next time.” Congratulations! You’ve reframed a problematic negative thought. Maladaptive thinking does not have to rule you. You have the power to change your thoughts!

Getting help for negative thinking

One way to target your negative thinking is to talk about it in therapy. An ideal place to discuss these maladaptive thought patterns is with an online therapist at BetterHelp. Online therapy is a safe and secure place to discuss any issues you are coping with, including negative thought patterns. Your therapist is a caring individual who wants you to live a positive life. You don’t have to think negatively forever. Be open to the possibility that you can change the way that you think and consequently change the way that you feel.

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.