I don’t think we often realize the dangers of negative thinking.
I know I’m not alone in this when I say that once I start feeding into sad thoughts, a cycle commences:
I start to feel like I’m not worthy of anything. I being to wonder how I even have friends. How does my family put up with me? Then I start to imagine horrible situations in which the people I care about the most, leave me. I then imagine what I would do without them in my life and that’s when it gets really depressing.
I’m then left feeling terrible and unmotivated to do anything – which restarts the cycle (didn’t get anything done…feel like crap…start thinking I am crap…etc.).
So how do we get past this? How can we skip over the cycle? Here are a few tips I’ve learned (I am by no means an expert on mental health but I think I have a pretty good grasp on some ideas that can be helpful to most).
- Imagine that every thought you have, has the ability to come true. This is the biggest thing that’s helped reshape the way I’ve been thinking. When I feel a negative thought come into my head and I can’t bare to think of it coming true, it helps push that thought away. I don’t even let myself imagine it happening for the fear of it coming true. This in turn will help fill your head with good thoughts that you’d love to come true!
- Confide carefully and quietly. When you’re feeling blue, it can help to vent to someone. However, make it one person and make it quick. Acknowledging how you’re feeling and discussing why you might be feeling this way is a good thing, but picking apart the entirety of your emotions with your friend is not helpful or healthy, it can sometimes make the situation seem a lot worse than it is.
- Distract yourself. Read a book, work on a project, go to the gym. Do something productive that makes you feel inspired and motivated. You might think that crashing on the couch for hours at a time watching Suits will make you feel better, but I find that when I’m feeling negative, I will only feel worse if I don’t take action. That being said, another tip is to relax. Don’t mindlessly absorb media but do something that will calm you down as well and motivate you out of your negativity.
- Get outside. It’s amazing what a 20 minute walk outside can do for your mental health. I usually grab my cellphone and a pair of headphones and call my sister when I’m in one of my moods.
- Contrary to point 4, turn off your phone. If social media is affecting how you’re feeling (FOMO, jealous about someone’s amazing Insta…etc.) then do the smart thing and turn off your phone or put it on silent. I have another post about minimizing my use of technology and I can honestly say it really does help. It takes away the “right now” feeling of necessity and helps me relax.
- Seek out familiarity. This is kind of a weird one but I find that when I’m feeling the negative cycle arriving I jump right into what’s familiar. I will read any one of the Harry Potter books (read them each approximately 50 times), I will turn on any of the Lord of the Rings films (seen them each approximately 50 times) or I heat up my mom’s pasta sauce that I have eaten since I was a kid… etc. All of these things are familiar to me and have become a part of who I am so enjoying them when I am at my worst just reaffirms who I am and that I don’t need to have doubts.
If anyone has any other tips on how to battle negative thinking I would love to hear them!
Thanks for reading.