By: Bridgette W. Gottwald, LPC, NCC

You may have read part one to this blog series, which began discussing the detrimental nature of negative thinking and offering interventions and suggestions for getting out of the unhealthy spiral. Below are some continued things that you can do to work against this corrupt thought process. 

Release Judgment 

All human beings have the tendency to judge others, as well as themselves – and this usually happens unconsciously. When we are constantly comparing ourselves to others, it creates a breeding ground for dissatisfaction and disappointment. In order to break the habit of judgment, it may help to recognize your own reaction to something, observe it, and then let it go.

Practice Gratitude 

Research proves that focusing in on gratitude and the positive aspects of your life can boost levels of happiness and your mood. Even when you are going through a difficult time in your life, you will still be able to find things to be grateful for, and it still counts if they are small. An easy way to practice gratitude and incorporate it into your life is gratitude journaling. It doesn’t take much effort, but writing one thing you are grateful for every day will shift your mindset and force you to start thinking about things in a more positive light. According to Oprah Winfrey, “the more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” Even if you don’t believe what you are writing at first, eventually, something will shift. 

Focus on Your Strengths 

The more we focus on the positive things we have to offer others, the more they will be displayed throughout our lives amidst our behaviors. All human beings have their own individualized and unique strengths, and positive things to bring to the table. What are some positive attributes you have to offer?  

Journal 

In order to deal with negative thought patterns, journaling or brainstorming can help. The prompts below would be a good place to start: 

  • What are three things you are grateful for? 
  • I present myself well in front of others by doing…
  • What are the main successes you have had in your life? 
  • I am worthy of love and belonging because…
  • What are ten important things to remember during difficult times? 
  • Describe the best compliment you have ever gotten. 
  • How would you describe yourself to a stranger? 
  • What are some things about myself that I am currently working on? 

Seek Professional Support 

Still feeling negatively? Hopefully you found these interventions helpful for practicing when in a downward spiral of negative thinking, but if not, it might be time to seek professional help. 

We spend most of our time within our own minds, and this can cause us to worry about the future, focus on troubling thoughts from the past, or the parts of our lives that leave us dissatisfied – we all have them! Hopefully, these new skills will help you to enjoy your experiences to the fullest, and pull you out of a negative mindset that is energy draining and strips you away from focusing in on what’s truly important. 

Ideally, this two-part blog series boosted your mood and made you feel as if you have a plan to deal with these intrusive and negative thoughts. The good news is that with enough hard work, you can eventually replace your negative thought processes with more productive and adaptive ways of thinking. Once you are able to do this, you will notice that it makes a huge difference in your overall happiness levels, day to day life and perspective. Good luck everyone! 

Get in touch with one of our skilled therapists for counseling in Chicago to find help and support for your mental health and well-being.

Reference: 

Harteneck, P. (2015). 7 ways to deal with negative thoughts. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/women-s-mental-health-matters/201509/7-ways-deal-negative-thoughts