Negative thoughts overtaking your mind and your life? Here are six quick hacks for keeping them at bay.
1. Challenge Them.
When we are stressed out or sad, we project our inner state onto the outer world. Everything around us starts to seem joyless and gloomy. We read the worst of people and misinterpret positive or neutral situations as bad ones. Luckily, all you have to do to end this flow of negativity is challenge your assumptions.
Are things really as bad as you think they are? What went right today? Is that person really insulting you, or are you just choosing to see negativity where there is none? Make your negative thoughts stand up to your questioning. Chances are, they won’t be able to.
2. Reframe Them.
Things are rarely as bad as they seem at first. Avoid jumping to conclusions. Look at the big picture. Will this situation or problem matter in a week? What about in a month? Or a year? Is it really worth getting so upset and stressed out over it? If your answer is “no” there is no point in getting yourself worked up over it. Use the energy to find solutions, not to mull over of what has gone wrong. Reframing takes practice, but getting good at it is a great way to live a happier life.
3. Segregate Them.
Negative thoughts have an ability to drag more negative thoughts around with them. After a while you might feel overwhelmed, helpless and depressed. That is why it is crucial to keep separate issues separate rather than allowing them to become a big jumble. For example, your current fight with your partner and your slip-up at work aren’t related and shouldn’t be treated as such.
4. Look for the Positive.
Often, if we calm our minds and reflect on the current negative situation, we discover opportunities to turn the situation around. While only some problems become positive opportunities, most problems become valuable lessons that we can learn from.
5. Express Your Feelings Instead of Bottling Them up.
If something or someone is bothering you, don’t be afraid to voice your concerns. This doesn’t mean that you have to be rude, overly critical or sarcastic about it. Always communicate your problems or concerns in an open and respectful way.
For example, if your friend is making jokes about you being overweight, you might feel reluctant to address them directly and ask them to stop doing that. But on the other hand, if you do not do anything about changing this situation your resentment will most likely build up and it will definitely weaken your friendship.
6. Understand the Reasons.
If someone is being rude to you or is treating you badly, you can spend all day wondering why they’re doing it, and this might actually help you deal with the situation at hand. For example, maybe they have had an argument with their spouse, or have had a stressful day at work, or something really bad happened in their life that has made them behave this way. Hurt people hurt people, and understanding this can go a long way toward helping you maintain your center and build your compassion.
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