Overcoming Negative Thought Patterns

It’s easy to fall into negative thought patterns. Many people entertain negative internal dialogue, some without even realising it. Bottom line, if your thoughts are predominantly negative, you’re unlikely to have a happy disposition. Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating permanent positivity because that is just as unreal as constant negativity. This article is about overcoming negative thought patterns.

What I am referring to is constant negative chatter, most of which is directed at oneself. In your mind, you are just never good enough regardless how well other people think you are doing.

This type of self-berating negative chatter contributes nothing to your personal happiness or well being. On the contrary, negative thoughts gnaw at your confidence and bring you down.

And it’s not just the self that gets hammered by negative thought patterns, other people do too. I can form a negative opinion on anyone or anything I wish if that’s what I choose to do. After all, there is something wrong with everything and everyone if that’s what you want to focus on.

This article deals with methods of overcoming negative thought patterns. But before you can try the methods, you need to recognize them in the first place. Let’s look at how to do that.

Watch Your Thoughts

Firstly, you need to develop an awareness of your thoughts. Try to take a step back and watch your thoughts. Observe them as if they belonged to someone else. This process takes a little concentration and practice, however, soon you’ll be able to tell what kind of thought patterns you mostly entertain. One way of doing this is by talking to yourself. Ask yourself whether you have a habit of building yourself up or constantly criticising yourself. As you go about your business, find out what way you talk to yourself. Are you kind? Do you put yourself down?

Either way, you’ll start to recognize thought patterns and become aware of them. This is the first step in overcoming negative thought patterns.

Let Common Sense Be the Judge of Your Thoughts

Once you’ve got the hang of recognizing your thought patterns, harness all your common sense and realism. Using them, you can start distinguishing between thoughts based on true reality and thoughts that are coloured negatively without any real basis for this negativity. Let me give you an example. You’ve had a hard day at work and struggled to get through. You feel you should and could have done better and begin giving out to yourself. Soon, you are down in the dumps and feel you are no good at all.

If you had allowed common sense to prevail instead, you would have realised that you probably did the best you could. Sure, you may have been able to handle things a little better, but, you did try. So, instead of berating yourself, acknowledge your efforts while also recognising where you could have done better. This way, you take a realistic view of your actions, pride yourself where you did well and resolve to do better where you feel you could have handled things better.

Bottom line, if you did try to do your best, you’ve nothing to worry about and negative thoughts are not justified.

What Thoughts Do You Want to Entertain?

Think of your thought like visitors. Those you give most attention to will flourish the most. If I continually nourish my negative thoughts, they will grow in strength and power. The same is true for positive thoughts. If I try to be positive about myself and others, this as unreal develops momentum and begins to dominate.

Regardless of how you look at it, if you constantly pamper negative thoughts, you are likely to be less happy than if your focus lies on positive thoughts.

Stop Negative Thought Patterns as They Emerge

If you’re now able to recognise negative thought patterns, you can stop them from developing. Once you become aware of unrealistic negative thoughts, make a conscious effort not to pursue them. After a while, you begin to notice, that you have power over your thoughts and can choose whether to entertain negative thought patterns or follow a more positive line of thinking.

Substitute Negative Thought Patterns with Realistic Ones

It’s important to remember, that negative thought patterns do form a part of our existence. At times, life can be tough, and we need to be honest and realistic about the issues we face. Don’t ignore issues but rather try to tackle them with a positive approach. Don’t bury your head in the sand or pretend that all is rosy in the garden because it won’t work in the long run. When overcoming negative thought patterns, we are looking to replace them with a dollop of reality. Call it as it is; some things in your life are good, others are not. Sometimes you do well, other times you fail. Both are part of who you are.

What you are trying to do when breaking negative thought patterns is to have a more realistic view of yourself and others, while accepting greatness along with shortcomings.

Ask for and Provide Support

If you are in real difficulties and cannot cope, talk to someone, don’t try to go it alone. Talking to someone helps to put issues in perspective, and two brains are always better than one. It’s also nice to listen to those you know are struggling.

Overcoming Negative Thought Patterns Works

If you make a concerted effort to avoid negative thinking, you’ll feel the benefits almost immediately. You’ll see that many of the thoughts were, in fact, irrelevant and did not benefit you in any way.

Within a relatively short time, you will be able to acknowledge the difficulties in your life without falling into all-out negativity and self-admonishment. You’ll learn to be kind to yourself and others in your thoughts and are likely to feel a great sense of relief and discover a new lease of life without having to be fakely happy.

Try it for a while and see. Let me know if you have other tools for overcoming negative thought patterns.

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