Best Ways To Avoid Negative Thoughts
Overcoming negative thinking is one of the major struggles you might encounter when working with the Law of Attraction. After all, even as you’re harnessing all these amazing new tools that help you to think positively and look towards a brighter future, you’re still fighting unhelpful limiting beliefs from earlier in life; many of these beliefs can creep in unbidden and start to disrupt your image of a better life.
Thankfully, however, there are many practical things you can do to help yourself stop negative thinking patterns. Here are five of the most effective ways to stop negative thinking.
5 Techniques To Stop Negative Thinking
When you notice that negative thoughts or images are starting to enter your mind, try actually say “stop!” to yourself. If you’re alone, you can try saying this out loud, but it can also be very effective when just said in your head.
If you prefer, you can use language that’s stronger than “stop” (such as “Get out of my head!” or even something a bit more colorful). For people who aren’t as moved by words, images can be more powerful. The classic example is a bright red stop sign that you picture in your mind’s eye when intrusive thoughts begin to appear.
There are also some more direct approaches to thought stopping. For example, you can try the old tactic of splashing your face with water or just change the direction of your thinking. Some people like to count backward from 100 to 1.
Positive affirmations can be used in a couple of different ways. First, they might be deployed in the same way as thought stopping techniques. In other words, you might say an affirmation as soon as you feel a negative thought coming your way.
For example, if you’re working to find a new partner using the Law of Attraction and catch yourself thinking that you don’t deserve love, you can say “I am a valuable, lovable person and I will find a great relationship.”
Secondly, however, saying affirmations on a daily basis starts to reshape your thinking, making them a powerful tool even when you’re already in a good mood. Design your affirmations carefully, and try making eye contact with yourself in the mirror when you recite them.
If you’ve lived with negative thinking for a very long time, you might think it’s unrealistic to just suddenly expect yourself to change your approach. In this situation, even affirmations and thought stopping techniques may seem to merely delay negative thinking for a later date.
If this sounds familiar, you might want to spend a couple of weeks at least enforcing boundaries when it comes to negative thinking. The idea here is that you choose a fixed, limited period for allowing your mind to entertain negative thoughts and that you commit to forcibly stopping or fighting them at every other time of the week.
When you’re reassured that you will have time to consider these thoughts, you may find they seem less powerful and have less potential to dominate your mind. Further, many people find that they can’t even think of anything when they come to their scheduled time to allow contemplation of negative thoughts and that this actually helps them to break their pattern.
Writing and Destroying
If your negative thoughts are linked to a specific strong emotion like fear, anger or jealousy, try letting them all out in writing. Use a pen and paper, and really express all of that pent-up negativity. You can then choose a way of destroying this paper, symbolizing your commitment to moving on. For example, you could tear it up, crush it into a ball, burn it, or scribble over it.
Those who aren’t as keen on using words to express themselves, artistic endeavors can have a similar impact. For example, you could sculpt a representation of your negativity, or paint it, and then destroy that (or change its shape).
The point of this technique is just to get some kind of physical representation of your negativity so that you can banish it in some satisfying symbolic way.
You can also try to reason with yourself when you feel you are starting to spiral into negativity. This technique involves finding a sentence you can recite to yourself in order to acknowledge that you have power over your bodily responses and to increase that power over time.
Practice this approach by taking a deep, cleansing breath and say something like “Just because I’ve had some bad relationships doesn’t mean I have to do this to my body” or “Just because I’ve struggled to find a good job doesn’t mean I will never find one in the future.”
After your chosen sentence, say “Now relax” (letting the word “relax” be your cue to exhale, letting out tension and negativity).
Have a Cup of Tea
Negative thoughts can occur for many different reasons—but if yours are focused on feeling lonely, you may gain some comfort by warming up, literally. Yale researchers discovered in 2012 that people recalled fewer negative feelings about a past lonely experience when they were holding a hot pack. (They also found that lonely people tend to take longer hot showers.) Substituting physical warmth for emotional warmth can be a quick fix, the researchers say—just don't let it take the place of real human interaction in the long run.
Reframe Your Situation
"If your urge to ruminate is very strong, distracting yourself isn't going to be easy," says Winch. "So before you try, it may be necessary to reframe or reappraise the situation in your head. If you get stuck in the airport for hours because of a cancelled flight, for example, don't think of what you're missing out on. Instead, see it as a chance to get work done, or to call your parents or an old friend. Once you've successfully reframed your situation, it may be easier to distract yourself with a visualization exercise (like Winch's "shopping list" exercise), a book or crossword puzzle, or a quick stroll.