• Elizabeth Xu

How to stop negative thoughts

Everyone has times when things fall apart and they feel overwhelmed with negative thoughts. This condition is common if it happens once in a while and goes away. However, if you come to a point where you are often thinking about negative things, you should stop because it can be harmful not only for your mental health but also for your physical health. If gone unchecked, negative thoughts can affect your brain making both this bad habit and your problems harder and harder to fix. It can also lead to health problems as well as headaches, fatigue, problems with digestion, weight gain, and many more. However, did you know that there are certain things you can do to fix your negativity and all the other related problems? Check out these tips to stop negative thoughts for better mental and physical health.


1. Check for negative body language and fix it. Your body language can very accurately reflect your mental state. If you are frowning or tensing up, you may be angry. If you have drooping eyes, head, or shoulders you may be sad. If you can find yourself with these negative body languages, try relaxing and fixing them so that you can then go on to calmly deal with your negative thoughts.



2. Practice positive self-talk. When you tell yourself positive thoughts or motivations, you are practicing positive self-talk and telling yourself positive affirmations. This may be by far the hardest tip because you might find yourself shunning or refusing to believe these positive affirmations. In this case, try with affirmations easier to believe in and move up from there. A few helpful affirmations you can tell yourself include:


  • "If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely" - Ronald Dahl

  • "Who you are inside is what helps you make and do everything in life" - Fred Rogers

  • "We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already" - J.K Rowling


You can find these helpful positive affirmations in many places like books or the internet. Check out this article, "35 Positive Affirmations to Add to Your Daily Rotation from the Oprah Magazine", for more.


3. Know your triggers to avoid them. Try writing everything that triggers your negative thoughts so that you know you should avoid them. It can be a past situation, a current situation, toxic people or a bad relationship that can be causing negative thoughts. Whatever it is try thinking of ways to avoid thinking of them like letting those negative thoughts go like forgetting them. For example, if certain people cause you to have negative thoughts, avoid them.


4. Do something else to distract yourself. If it is a current situation that you cannot avoid that is bothering you, try distracting yourself from letting in negative thoughts. This can be anything that entertains you and can bring your negative thoughts off your mind. This includes many things like drawing, watching a movie, or reading a book. If you continue to only think about negative thoughts, it will only fill you up with more and more negativity and make you depressed, so feel free to do anything you like to free you from negative thoughts.


5. Don’t overthink situations. Sometimes we can overthink situations and make us more negative or anxious than necessary. In this case, try to let go of thinking too much of any situation that worries you but try being positive instead. For example, if you reached out to someone that hasn’t gotten back to you, try avoiding negative thoughts like negative reasons why they haven’t gotten back to you. That is because it may only make you feel worried or upset even if the situation isn’t actually like that. To be positive in such a situation, try being understanding and think about possible reasons that are not negative. Maybe the person you reached out to was very busy or wasn’t feeling well that day.



6. Surround yourself with positive people. You often become like-minded with people you spend time with. You can also be happier because happiness is contagious when you are positive. It is the same thing if you want to not only be happier but more positive. If you want to be positive like other positive people, try spending time with them to learn how they think. You may learn how to think more on the positive side, coping strategies, how to stop complaining and learn how to make negative thoughts unimportant.


7. Finally, some other common but very helpful tips that are worth noting is to exercise and to do gratitude journaling. Exercise may be heard way too often but it actually helps because it releases endorphins in your brain that make you feel happier. If it’s because you think exercise is too demanding or time-consuming, just remember a short walk or a dance workout also counts as exercise. Gratitude journaling involves simply writing what you are thankful for. It doesn’t have to be pages or even a paragraph. It can be 3 bullet points of little things you are thankful for like the weather or a nice meal. Contrary to long term negativity that develops neurons that support your negativity, gratitude journaling trains your brain to think more positively and to develop neurons that support positivity.