10 effective tips to manage negative thoughts and be positive in life

Always criticising yourself or being pessimistic? It's time to deal with your negative thoughts.
Tips to stop negative thoughts
Follow these expert recommended tips to manage negative thoughts. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 14 Sep 2023, 19:59 pm IST
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When we are not swamped with work, we tend to spend time with our own thoughts. We think about how the day went, what went wrong, the past or regrets in life. If not that, we worry about the future. If something doesn’t go right, people tend to think they will never be good enough or are not capable of doing things correctly. But if you focus too much on the parts of life that left you unhappy, you won’t be able to enjoy the present. So, tell your negative thoughts to leave your side so that you can be happy. Read on to find out how you can manage negative thoughts.

Negative thoughts can be caused by various factors such as past experiences, stress, anxiety or underlying mental health issues, says Dr Pallavi Joshi, Consultant psychologist at Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute Delhi. It is essential to consider these factors when trying to understand why some people have persistent negative thoughts.

Woman having negative thoughts
Learn to manage negative thoughts. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

How to manage manage negative thoughts?

Before you learn to deal with negative thoughts, identifying them is important. It involves self-awareness and monitoring your inner dialogue. You can also look for patterns of self-criticism, pessimism or irrational fears. Here’s what to do:

1. Mindfulness

Practising mindfulness can help you to observe your thoughts without any judgment. This will allow you to let go of negativity that’s been brewing in your mind.

2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This is a therapeutic approach that helps to identify and challenge negative thought patterns and replace them with more positive ones, the expert tells Health Shots.

3. Positive affirmations

Use positive statements to counteract negative self-talk and boost your self-esteem and confidence. According to a 2013 study published in the US National Library of Medicine, the words that we choose matter, so saying positive short quotes can help to combat stress.

4. Gratitude journaling

You don’t have to be a professional writer to have a journal of your own. Regularly write down things you are grateful for to shift your focus from negativity to positivity.

Woman with negative thoughts
Exercise to deal with negative thoughts. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Physical exercise

Exercise is not all about weight loss or building muscles. It is also known to release endorphins, which are considered to be natural mood boosters. So, it can help to combat negative thoughts as well.

6. Social support

Talk to your friends, family or a therapist about your negative thoughts. Sharing can provide emotional relief and different perspectives. But they need to be understanding and supportive.

7. Limit exposure to negativity

The world is full of negativity, and you get to read about it on newspapers or websites on watch on TV. But try to reduce exposure to negative news, social media or toxic environments that may trigger negative thoughts.

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8. Self-care

It is good to take care of your family members, but don’t forget to do things for yourself too. You should prioritise self-care activities such as getting enough sleep, eating well and engaging in hobbies you enjoy.

9. Set realistic goals

Be it fitness or work, having goals in life is a must. But unrealistic expectations can lead to negative thoughts. So, set achievable goals to avoid unnecessary stress.

10. Think about your strengths

Don’t overlook the positive, and focus on your strengths. If you find yourself having negative thoughts about your actions or personality, think about something you like about yourself or something good you did.

If negative thoughts refuse to leave you and affect your daily life, consider reaching out to a mental health professional.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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