Can you reach the right destination by taking the wrong road? Definitely not! Just like that, a negative mind can never give you a positive life. Negative thinking is the force that’s pulling you down and stopping you from reaching the summit.
Some people think it’s good to analyze all the possibilities, I am with you my friend, but when this step goes wrong you begin to overthink about all the negatives in the scenario and then slowly it transforms to negative thinking. (Read This: Why Negative Thoughts are Poison)
For example, you plan to take a road trip with your friends. It’s good to analyze all possible obstacles like, what will happen if you run out of fuel or what will happen if there’s a flat tire and stay prepared for these scenarios. If you overthink, you might get to negative thoughts like what will happen if I meet with an accident or what if I take the wrong route and so on. Do you see the difference? Stop when you have to.
Stress and negative thinking are strongly connected. In fact, they are directly proportional to each other. More the stress, you have more negative thoughts and vice versa. So if you want a positive and stress-free life, here are 10 things that you can do!
1. Begin your day with a positive note
Have you heard the saying, ‘A good beginning makes a good ending’? I totally believe in it. A small positive thought in the morning can really transform your entire day. I am not asking you to start your day, by telling yourself that you will be the next president of the country (Well you can, if that helps!) Something as simple as reaching a long-standing deadline like completing a project or going for a 3km run can even count as positive thoughts.
When you tell yourself these positive things first thing in the morning, it influences your mind. Invariably you will begin to act on these thoughts and reach your goal. It will be much easier if you tell these loudly as they have a stronger impact on your mind.
2. Find the right company
The people who surround you have a very strong influence on you. If you are living with someone for a very long time, you would have realized this. You pick up their habits, their way of talking, etc.
Let’s say you are surrounded by a bunch of people who are outright pessimists. They are going to come up with all possible negative scenarios with respect to your work and day to day life. When you keep listening to these things, at some point, you are going to start believing in them, and everything will seem difficult for you. It’s human tendency and there is nothing you can do about it.
What you can actually do is find the right company. Be around people who are positive and have a whole lot of confidence in themselves. When you are around positive people, you will become the same, and your negative thinking will slowly fade away.
3. Stop Overthinking
I personally feel that overthinking is the mother of negative thinking. It pushes us into endless worrying and makes us wonder things like what would happen if dinosaurs came back? Jokes apart! Overthinking is the precursor to negative thinking. What begins as a thought slowly becomes a way of life before you can even realize it.
When you begin to overthink, your mind begins to imagine things that might never happen, and you start about worrying about these scenarios. Just like I told in the introduction, know the difference between taking precautions and being paranoid. (Read This: How to Overcome Fear)
4. Enhance your environment
Just like the people around you, the environment in which you live also has an impact on you. A gloomy environment can only push you into negativity.
Enhance your environment with positivity. Get started with the color of your room. Use colors which reflect light and not those which absorb them. Make sure there is plenty of sunlight entering the room. Sunlight other than influencing positivity also has many other benefits such as resetting your internal clock, boosting your metabolism, etc.
You can also improve your environment by sticking positive quotes which motivate you. Keep photos of events which reflect your achievements, like your graduation day.
5. Watch Your Vocabulary
By vocabulary I mean the words you use. Sometimes our talk is negative, and we have never realized it. Replace negative words in your vocabulary with positive reaffirming words. For example, something unexpected comes up, don’t call it a problem, call it a challenge instead.
Never say things like, ‘I can never do this.’ Change it to, ‘I am going to get it done this time.’Keep it positive.
Positive self-talk is something that can help you here. The step one in positive self-talk is to listen to what you are saying, if it involves a lot of negative stuff, challenge your self-talk. Ask yourself, ‘can I really not do this?’ Then as you go, change your self-talk. (Read This: 10 Ways to Become a Warrior Not a Worrier)
6. Victory Journal
A victory journal is something that has helped me transform myself. There was a time in my life when I thought that I was useless. I can’t-do anything. I feel that everyone experiences this at some point in time.
Maintain a victory journal. Wondering what it is? It is a small diary in which you can write down all your achievements. Your achievement needn’t be winning the Nobel Prize, something as simple as waking up on time, not missing the gym for a month can all count as achievements.
Every time you feel down, read your victory journal. Reassure yourself with positivity and get going. For some maintaining a journal is sort of like a commitment. You don’t have to write something every day. It’s good even if you make an entry once in a week.
7. Stop thinking in extremes
While over thinking is one problem, another one is to think in extremes. It’s either awesome or awful! Why not hang in between them? Things necessarily don’t have to be black or white all the time. Accept it.
The ‘everything or nothing’ thought process makes you miss out the subtle shades of life. The first step in stopping negative thinking is not to right away start positive thinking but to look for the grey shade of life.
Begin with writing down both the extreme thoughts, from ‘it’s going to be great’ to ‘it’s going to be a disaster.’ Now write down the middle of the road possibilities like, ‘there are going to be ups and downs.’ Cultivate this as a thinking pattern.
8. Go Easy on Yourself
Most of the times, negative thinking creeps in when you are too hard on yourself. You develop a set of self-rules, and when you are not able to follow them, you feel disappointed. This then transforms into an inferiority complex. When you have such a complex, it automatically leads to negative thinking.
The best way to avoid this is to go easy on yourself. This shouldn’t be confused with a lethargic attitude where you just let go of every possible mistake you make and not make an effort to correct them.
Don’t make too many rules in the first place. Be disciplined and organized but just don’t make a big fuss about it when you are not able to follow certain things.
9. Look for the silver lining
I am sure you would have heard this advice from many. Looking for the positive in everything can make you less anxious and keep you relaxed.
Whenever you have a setback or a failure look for the positives in it. Ask questions like, ‘what did I learn from this situation?’, ‘what can I do differently the next time to avoid this problem?’ questions like these can make you feel better and also help you grow.
10. Mindfulness and Yoga
Most of us have the habit of either whining about the past or over thinking about the future. Both of these make us lose the present moment. Mindfulness is the mental state where you are entirely aware of the present moment. Every action you do is mindful, and you are conscious of the outcome. Being mindful keeps, you focused on the present moment and also stops you from worrying.
Yoga is the cure for a number of things. The headstands and backbends can improve your physical as well as your mental well-being. Pranayama which is a set of breathing exercises can calm your mind and help you with positive thinking.
Getting rid of negative thinking is not an overnight job. It is going to take you a lot of time and effort, but once you succeed, you will see your life coming out of a whirlwind. If you really feel unfocused and anxious, this article can give you solutions to better cognitive performance.
Implementing all of these methods right away might be difficult. Get started with the easy ones like maintaining a victory journal and enhancing your environment. Do let me know how they worked for you in the comments section.
About the Author
Luke writes about mental wellness and benefits of brain supplements at nootrina. He’s a big fan of Yoga and mindfulness and feels that these two are the real key to mental well-being. Being a foodie, Luke loves cooking and brings several cuisines to bear at his dinner table. He’s looking to improve the awareness about mental health issues and share ways to handle them among people of all ages.