I find one of the hardest battles in my life is quieting the negative thoughts that like to pop up once in a while. Thinking positive is not always the easiest of tasks and fighting off old self impressions and negative comments of others can be a daily chore. The brain is very similar to a computer, it has been programmed by your experiences and influences throughout your life. So most of the negative thoughts you have repeatedly are usually from some influence or experience from your past.
How to deal with negative thoughts may vary from person to person. The main thing i have learned is just saying no to them can work at times but to find the origin of the negative thought and figuring out a way of healing the emotional scar or trauma that put the thought there in the first place is the most effective and more permanent solution.
Finding the origin of the negative thought(s) is not an easy task sometimes because it could had been multiple circumstances that brought it on or a traumatic event you mind suppressed from your conscious mind to protect you. You could try regression therapy as a way to try and find such but results of such can be questionable. Some find meditation a good way to deal with negative thoughts and sometimes it can even aid in finding the origin of the negativity itself. If anything meditation does calm ones mind and helps promote good health be it mental or physical since they seem to be tied to one another.
If the negative thoughts or emotions are tied to a experience that you are aware of then one must focus on forgiving everyone associated with that event including oneself. Forgiveness helps you let go of the negativity, it helps the forgiver far more than the forgiven i believe. Holding grudges or remorse only adds to the stress your mind and body already has to deal with in life.
You can also try to challenge the negative thoughts when they appear. Some of the tings you have to do when challenging the negative thoughts are as follows.
- Recognize that you are having a negative thought or pattern of negative thoughts. Say “Stop!” In your head (or out loud if it feels socially appropriate).
- Challenge the thought by probing it with questions. Ask yourself, “What evidence do I have to support this thought?” Odds are, you’ll notice that the evidence isn’t strong.
- Replace the thought with something more rational or positive. For example, if you’re thinking, “I am ugly,” try thinking instead about the individuals in your life who would disagree, or browse through flattering photos on Facebook or Instagram.
Repeating negative thoughts are called Cognitive Distortions. These thought patterns can fall into three general categories: labeling, catastrophizing, and over-generalization. If your cognitive distortions / negative thoughts are overwhelming seek help from others, if not a doctor at least talk it out with friends and family, they can help you see most of the negative thoughts are extremely exaggerated or they are false thoughts, no facts or evidence to back them.
And it never hurts to try and have the same compassion and forgiveness for yourself as you would another individual. For we all are human and thus none of us are without fault. Let go of the past, live in the now and leave the future to itself.