It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in negative thoughts. Do you often take things personally? Do you find yourself criticising yourself regularly? Get angry often? Turn little things into big issues that can play on your mind for days, weeks or even longer? If these scenarios seem familiar, you’re experiencing negative thoughts. Negative thinking can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety, and they can also have a negative impact on your physical health, which is why it’s vital to learn how to manage it.
In the long-run, negative thoughts can really affect your health. They can lead to:
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Weakened immune system
- Higher stress levels
- Stomach problems
- Back pain
- Decreased energy levels
So how can you change this negative pattern of thinking? Here are some of our top tips:
- Recognise when it’s happening.
Our minds are a powerful tool and they can convince us of things that just aren’t true. Once you recognise them, you can begin to change them. There are four common thought distortions:
- Black and White Thinking: Where you see everything as one way or another, with no in between
- Personalising: When you assume you’re to blame for anything that goes wrong
- Filter Thinking: When you choose to see only the negative side of a situation
- Catastrophising: When you assume the worst
- Challenge negative thoughts.
When you’re experiencing negative thinking, step back and think about whether its accurate or not. It’s helpful to think about what you would say to a friend in the situation.
- Keep a gratitude journal.
Studies suggest that feeling grateful positively impacts levels of happiness. Write down three things at the end of each day which you are grateful for, no matter how small.
- Throw your negative thoughts away.
Literally! Write down what’s bothering you on a piece of paper, and then throw it in the bin. Or, to be more environmentally conscious, write them down in a word document and then drag it into the trash. A 2012 Ohio State University study suggested that this really helps to clear your mind of negative thoughts.
- Reframe your thinking.
Try and look at situations from a different perspective. For example, if you think to yourself ‘I’m going to do terribly in my job interview’, reframe it in a more positive way, ‘I’m nervous about my interview, but I’m going to try my best and that’s all I can do.’
If you’re struggling with regular negative thinking, it’s important to get professional help before it gets worse. Send us a message today for a free consultation, and see how we can help you.
Click HERE for last weeks Wellness Wednesday all about how to manage your emotions.