How to Stop Negative Thoughts: 20 Solutions to Keep in Mind

how to stop negative thoughts

 

A lot of people simply don’t know how to stop negative thoughts from coming in. What amazes me, however, is even more people don’t know why they should stop negative thoughts in the first place.

The world offers so much for us to discover. Circumstances happen to us for great reasons—think personal growth! So many things can catch us by surprise, with which we can simply manifest joy and gratitude.

Yet, at times, we allow negative thoughts to win.

Amazing how we just give in to them, isn’t it?

But I have good news for you: We can learn how to stop negative thoughts—with a bit of patience, persistence and practice.

1. Whenever you’re waiting, do something else.

Are you going to get in a long line to the counter? Is it going to be a long commute? Or is somebody just going to be late?

An idle brain is the devil’s workshop. When you’re idle, your mind tends to wander, without direction.

The best option during these “waiting periods” is to keep your mind preoccupied with something else helpful.

Luckily, waiting isn’t a game to me—I always bring a book whenever an errand would most probably entail waiting.

2. Use breathing perfectly.

Deep breathing is a really handy technique almost everybody forgets to use—especially when the ugly thoughts come.

Inhale through your nose, hold your breath for a few seconds, and then exhale though your mouth. Let this breathing help clear your mind.

Deep breathing helps lower stress and anxiety. It can also help you sleep faster.

3. Take a shower—why not?

This is one of my favorites on how to stop negative thoughts. Sometimes, it could even be the only solution.

Like deep breathing, splashing water on your face can reduce anxiety.

Enjoy your shower moment. Allow it to invigorate you. Imagine those negative vibes go with the water down the drain.

4. Tried meditation already?

Research shows that you could display more positive emotions when you meditate on a daily basis.

You allow yourself to contemplate your thoughts—good or not—when you meditate. You also remind yourself that you could practice mindfulness at any moment, where you can choose positivity over negativity.

5. Get distracted … with only one thing.

Distracting yourself could be the easiest way to stop negative thoughts. But the key here is to do it with only one thing—a task, a song, or an episode of your favorite TV series. Don’t let your mind wander—it could actually cause unhappiness.

6. A universal rule: Get enough sleep.

A study shows that lack of sleep is linked to negative thoughts.

If you can’t fall asleep fast, go to bed at least an hour earlier—make time for it. You may be a busy person, but don’t neglect sleep. Sleep must be treated as valuable as, if not, more valuable than, your most important tasks.

7. You just might need to change a bit within yourself.

If you find yourself thinking mainly negative thoughts almost every time, stop for a moment and realize that perhaps you’re just getting it all wrong.

Notice the positive people around you, or simply the people you admire. Think: Do they also deal with negative thoughts of their own? Of course they do! Despite unpleasant thoughts, however, they’ve chosen to be positive, and most probably they’ve changed some things with their perspective or attitude. They chose to rather develop, maintain and infect others with their positivity.

8. Always, always be grateful.

Sure, better things could have happened. But most of the time, we forget that much worse could also have.

Had a fight with someone? Be grateful there was no violence. Got laid off? Be grateful you can look for a better job—getting laid off could actually be a blessing in disguise. Someone betrayed you? Be grateful you became stronger.

Look around. Great things are happening.

9. Throw your negative thoughts away, literally.

You could write about your negative thoughts, label them as “trash,” and literally throw them away. It’s a gesture that would help you take control over and protect yourself from such thoughts.

On the other hand, did you know that merely writing about your positive experiences could make you physically healthier?

10. Have a hot drink.

Warming yourself up, literally, could shoo those ugly thoughts off; try it next time you feel down or lonely. Just don’t substitute this kind of warmth to that a human interaction can provide you with.

11. Get some sun!

Getting some sun can improve your mood. No excuses, really, should come with this one. You can simply go out to have it. You could do it during your break. Instead of browsing the internet, why not just take a quick walk in the sun?

12. Come on, have fun, play.

Negative thoughts could take over you so easily because perhaps you’ve only been working without end, without taking one- or two-day breaks. Play time may not even require a whole day—you just have to make time for it, include it in your schedule—just like you do with your tasks.

13. Avoid stress as much as you can.

Don’t use stress as a distraction. When you do, negative thoughts would only seem to get bigger; they only become worse.

Avoiding stress, however, could be tricky. There are unavoidable stress factors, but if other factors are fully under your control, then why sweat it?

14. Be receptive to humor.

Laugh, even if nobody else is laughing. Laughter is good for your health. Now it doesn’t really matter whether other people like your humor—just have a sense of it. Besides, a lot of things could be laughed about. Did you know that sense of humor is highly correlated with creativity and intelligence?

15. Acceptance: Carry on anyway.

Research tells us that behaving normally—while accepting the existence of bad thoughts, not fighting them—could actually be beneficial.

When negative thoughts come to your head, let them be. Think of it as simply letting them pass by, or letting them come and go. Watching negative thoughts pass by isn’t exactly stopping them, but if you do watch them pass by—without engaging them—they’ll eventually go away.

16. Talk to someone else.

I don’t mean taking it out on the other person; talk to them as you normally would. Observe balance—talk, and listen. Not only would you complete someone else’s day, but you’d also keep yourself from entertaining negative thoughts.

17. You could use paradoxical interventions.

Paradoxical interventions involve prescribing the symptom one wants to overcome. Its principle is similar to that of facing a fear so you can overcome that fear.

In other words, you could expose yourself to things that would remind you of negative thoughts to overcome them. The whole process, however, could be complex and not for the faint-hearted; I suggest consulting a therapist if you want to give this a try.

18. Make positive self-talk a habit.

Speaking aloud helps you create a memory—the one you form from, also, hearing aloud.

Negative thoughts just come, sometimes by surprise. But you can always face these negative thoughts with positive self-talk—even transform these thoughts into positive self-talk.

Negative thoughts are usually associated with some troubles or problems, but if you’re positive whenever these thoughts bug you, you could even find solutions to these problems.

Remember, if you’re positive, you’re inclined to improving yourself. For example, improving your skill set.

19. Grab opportunities to get active.

In any case, physical activity is beneficial to your body and mind, especially if you spend most of your time at the desk.

There are a lot of opportunities: walking some blocks instead of commuting door-to-door, using the stairs, or even joining your friends to jog.

20. Seek the company of positive humans.

You are the average of the people you regularly hang out with. Possibly even people you only hear talking—in other words, people you don’t even talk to. Listening to negative people talk for at least 30 minutes could actually damage your brain.

Life is short. There are positive people out there—believe it.

Think About It

We are blessed to do many things but dwelling on negative thoughts. Simple or complicated, fast or slow, we could be creative to protect our mind.

Negative thoughts vary in intensity. I know these thoughts could sometimes be unbearable—I’ve been there, I can say from the heart that these could be crushing.

But remember: Giving in to negative thoughts is like saying that we don’t respect ourselves, we don’t appreciate our worth, and we’re wasting this one life that’s been given to us—when we know we can be positive—and happy!

Don’t believe me? Try these solutions on how to stop negative thoughts first. If you can later see life’s beauty more clearly—because you’d have managed or eliminated those thoughts—then I guarantee you’ll become much better off in all aspects of your life—it will show!

Speak Your Mind

How do you stop negative thoughts from crawling in your head? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Share this if you found this helpful!

2 Comments

  1. Hi Ethan,
    negative thoughts are harmful and it is good to learn to be aware of them . You have here very good suggestions , I like the paradoxical interventions very
    much ,we know whatever is forbidden makes think about it more. Being grateful is also very good and best is to meditate and go inside ,over time, this increases the awareness , helps to know the self and negativity will be less.
    Thank you ,a great post,
    may it help many to let go of negative thoughts,
    Erika

    1. Hi Erika,

      Thanks for dropping by.

      Yeah, there’s truth in that: we develop an urge for something we know is “forbidden.” Could be *scarcity* working 🙂

      Thanks for your kind words.

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