Have you ever found yourself in a downward thought spiral where one negative thought leads to another? Negative thoughts have a way of disrupting even the brightest of moods, but you can boost your outlook by reducing the frequency and effect of these destructive thought patterns.
Though negative thoughts can be overwhelming, it’s important to remember – they are just thoughts. They don’t mean you are good or bad, and they might not even be true. With a few easy techniques, you can keep negative thoughts in perspective, stay out of downward thought spirals and reduce the stress you feel.
Accept and move on
“What you resist persists.” ― Carl Jung
If negative thoughts make you feel uncomfortable, you’re more likely to resist them when they occur. Eastern philosophy suggests that attempting to resist a thought is far harder than accepting it and moving on. Make use of such wisdom by not struggling to resist negative thoughts. When they enter your head, shift your focus to observe the thought and any feelings in the body that accompany it. Resist the urge to judge yourself for having the thought – it’s just a thought! If the thought is judgemental in nature, it may be helpful to pause and gently ask yourself, Is this true?
Focus on the positive
Distraction is often used as a method of pain relief when other forms of alleviating pain are not sufficient. The same method can be used to reduce negative thoughts. This is not about trying to resist these thoughts but trying to encourage other thoughts! Try doing something positive you can totally focus on. When we’re engrossed in something, it can be easy to lose track of time because the mind is focused only on the task at hand. Focusing on a rewarding task leaves little room for negative thoughts!
Affirmations are positive statements that reflect who you are or a state you wish to achieve. Studies show that repeating a single phrase can alter your thought patterns and change the way you feel. You can use this method to override negative thoughts. When an unpleasant thought arises, first accept it. You can then use an affirmation to send your brain a positive message. An affirmation should be personal to you and can be as simple as, I am kind and well-meaning. It may seem strange at first, but that’s nothing to worry about!
Listen to music
The human brain often responds favorably to the sound of music, and particularly enjoys upbeat tones. If you feel down, try listening to music you find cheerful or energizing. Alternatively, you can use instrumental, ambient music to help induce relaxation and reduce stress. Either way, there is no doubt that music can improve your mood and increase positive brainwaves.
Naturally Boost Serotonin Levels
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness. You can increase your serotonin levels with moderate exercise such as walking or yoga, getting outdoors into the sunshine, and by carrying out activities that give you joy and comfort.
If you find that you just can’t cope and you need an extra boost in turning these negative thought patterns around, turn to your Employee and Family Assistance program. Call 1 866 833-7690 or visit workhealthlife.com to connect to a counsellor.