How to Overcome Negative Thoughts
Think of a negative person in your life, someone who always sees the storm cloud on the horizon or views the glass half empty. Now that you’ve done that, I want you to consider: After spending time with them, do you leave with a sense of purpose? Do you feel uplifted by being around them? Do you feel better about yourself or your day? My bet is you left emotionally parched. Why?
Whenever a television show or movie features a desert, savannah, or other barren land, odds are good that a bovine cranium skull will be involved to set the mood. The reason it became a trope was because it was an easy reminder or cue to the casual viewer that deserts (and the west) are arid, cruel places that even the natural inhabitants might not survive. When I think of what negativity does to the body and soul, the image of the cow skull comes to mind. Negativity kills.
Breaking Through the Clutter of Negativity
Unfortunately, our culture thrives on negativity. Even though we have never lived in a safer or more prosperous time, it’s nearly impossible to turn on the TV, scroll through Twitter, or open up a website without a bombardment of negative stories that make it seem like the sky is cracking in half.
That’s because bad news sells and feeds directly to our, ‘Natural Negativity Bias’ – that even when of equal intensity, things of a more negative nature (e.g. unpleasant thought, emotions, or social interactions; harmful/traumatic events) have a greater effect on one’s psychological state and processes than do neutral or positive things. In other words, something very positive will generally have less of an impact on a person’s behavior and cognition than something equally emotional but negative.
Negative thinking not only drains you of energy and removes you from the present moments, but it is infectious and spreads to others, bringing everyone down rather than lifting it up. Negativity acts like a parasite, and the more you feed it, the faster it spreads and the stronger it becomes. So, if we have a predisposition towards negativity or find ourselves getting stuck in negative emotional loops, how do we escape? How do we overcome negative thoughts?
How to Overcome Negative Thinking
Negativity destroys performance in the short term and precludes success and happiness in the long term. A primary reason to develop mental toughness and control is to think well – to perceive truth more accurately and to form thoughts more powerfully. Positively-formed thoughts lead to greater success, while negatively-formed thoughts can lead to mediocrity or outright failure.
The moment your negativity crops up there are tactics that you can use to combat this thinking. First, it is important to actually point out the source of your negative thinking. If you discover that your thoughts are negative then halt those thoughts by telling yourself “Stop!” or “Not This!” By using these statements you can bring your mind back into control.
After you have done this the next step is to redirect your mind with positive, purposeful self-talk and imagery. This will help move your mind into a new internal dialogue that is positive. The next step is to maintain this new mental state with a personal mantra. By creating a personal mantra that you can repeat to yourself, it will keep negativity at bay by engaging your conscious mind in its positive words, images, feelings, and meanings.
With hard work and focus, you can rewire and upgrade your mind to respond with more positive feedback. By using these tips, it will allow you to take control of negative feedback loops and improve your mental well-being.