It is very human to think of different scenarios when something happens, but dwelling on the negative ones can drain you. I dealt with this issue when I was younger but recently it has resurfaced....and obviously, I'm not happy about it lol. It has gotten worse though...like whatever thought I get, I believe it...like it has to be the truth.....and like 9 times out of 10 or just most of the time...I'm dead wrong. The difference between then and now is that I never communicated what I thought. I said this in a previous post, I tend to keep things to myself. So...I would think it, it will drain me but I never communicated it...usually what I thought was wrong anyway but it's like I didn't learn my lesson. Now, I started communicated them....and I always regret them because again...I was wrong. After a good amount of time of that happening, I started really pay attention to what I'm thinking and feeling....question myself if what I'm thinking really makes sense. This is actually why I started writing......when I got overwhelmed with my thoughts and obviously being wrong...I started writing out my thoughts then I felt better. I haven't done that in a while though, which is a good thing....but still learning how to control it..one step at a time.
Updated (Sep 2021)
I always struggle with negative thoughts, it comes and it goes. I think since the pandemic happened, I developed the habit again. Above, I was having a mini-rant of how negative thoughts was affected me. Today, I’m a bit better but it still lingers, I also want to talk about it a bit more and discuss some tips that control them. Before anything, here’s a definition:
“Negative thoughts are cognitions about the self, others, or the world in general that are characterized by negative perceptions, expectations, and attributions and are associated with unpleasant emotions and adverse behavioural, physiological, and health outcomes.”
It may seem easy to say “hey, stop thinking negatively"...but it isn’t as easy as it seems. Also, persons don’t think like that for no reason, so what causes negative thoughts to occur? I think a major one is worrying about the past, present or future. Even though some people say “ the past is the past, you can’t change”, doesn’t stop persons from dwelling on it. It could be something that happened last year or week just clouding up your mind. Even in the present, say you have a presentation to do tomorrow, you worry about not doing well or forgetting your words. Maybe you worry about what your future would be like, would achieve the goals you want? Would have your dream career or life? All of this worrying causes the likelihood of thinking and believing that something bad is going to happen.
Having a thinking mind is honestly just being human so there’s nothing wrong if you thought of some negative before, it’s quite normal so don’t be hard on yourself. It’s just how you act on them or what you do with them. Through a bit of research and things I’ve done, the first thing is to identify the type of negative thoughts.
It could be jumping to conclusions, just assuming what the next person is thinking or thought about a situation.
It could be an overgeneralization, say you had a bad experience with something, you apply the same experience to any similar experiences or all experiences.
It could be catastrophizing, you would think about the worst possible outcome of an event without being realizing it.
There are a few more types like having an emotional response or labelling but I will leave a link that goes into more detail.
After you identify the negative thought, we need to figure out what to do with them. I’m gonna share a few tips I’ve done myself that I found helpful and that is backed up by some research.
When a thought pops up, you probably would dwell on it but instead, ask yourself if it’s realistic. Say you had a test coming up and have the thoughts of maybe failing it, if you had done some studies and have an understanding of the topics coming up, why would you believe you’re going to fail it? Say you were texting somebody and they haven’t responded in an hour, you start thinking that the person doesn’t want to talk to you or you said something wrong. There’s a good chance the person got busy and couldn’t get back to the chat in time. Like if you’re texting while they are at work or they’re on the road, there’s a chance they can’t text you back instantly. Try to think realistically.
Go and watch the Netflix series you are planning on checking out, work on your favourite hobby, do some shopping or maybe cook a nice meal. Do something you enjoy that will take your attention away from the negative thoughts that have brewed up in your head.
Looking back at your life and look at yourself now and see how far you’ve come. It can be other things like a good breakfast, taking a walk at the park, waking up this morning or finishing a task. One thing I started doing also is saying affirmations of gratitude, it brightens up my mood and helps with those thoughts that might linger. Here are a few to say aloud yourself:
I’m thankful for the ability to learn, develop and grow
I have the power to make my dreams true
I accept my imperfections, and I am grateful for the blessing I have
I am grateful I woke up today
I have something to be grateful for every day
I am thankful that I get to live another day
Try to replace the negative thoughts with positive ones
Now, this isn’t an easy task and one I’m very aware of but it can be done. Let’s go back and use the presentation example, whether it’s for work or school, you worry about messing up your words, try to turn around that thought and say I’m going prepare myself and practice so I can do a good job. You can look at the end goal of the task or the situation, I can get a promotion or a good grade if I do this well. Everyone would love a promotion or an amazing grade, so try to focus on that, try to flip the thoughts and focus on the positive outcome or the end goals.
Again, this is an update to an old post of mine. Today I am still a work in progress but I’m doing a lot better. Like I said before, having negative thoughts are normal, it comes with being human, it’s just how you react to them and what you do about them. I hope this post is helpful to others that might struggle with negative thoughts and these tips I’ve listed have been helpful for me. Remember, you’re not alone! As usual, I got some questions for you, are you a person that deals with negative thoughts, if so, how has it affected you? Also, what have you done/tried to combat them? If you have any other thoughts about today’s topic, feel free to leave them below! Looking forward to reading your responses. Also, I’ll be leaving some links below that helped me with writing this and I think can be helpful for you as well.