4 Practical Ways To Stop Negative Thinking Patterns For Good!
Negative thoughts can overwhelm us. Feeling as if they are taking over our lives and you are losing your mind.
If you googled “how to stop negative thoughts” you’re going to get a lot of nonsense. People read a book or took a psychology course and think they have a clue about stopping negative thoughts. None of this is true and will not work.
If you think you can say “STOP” to your negative thoughts, replace them with positive affirmations, go ahead and try. It may work the first few days because you actually believe it will work, you’ll soon realize this does not work.
This is because you don’t choose which thoughts come up in your mind, thoughts are thoughts, they just show up (don’t worry there’s hope for you)!
In fact, most excessive thought or overthinking methods you read will not work. You may get some placebo type effect because you believe it will work, but it will not stick.
You can not use the mind which is generating these thoughts to control itself without forming new patterns, sorry, it doesn’t work that way.
What is the cause of Negative thinking?
Where do thoughts come from? Why do they appear? Why are some negative? Why are some positive? Why does it feel like there is a never ending train of thought flowing through our minds?
Thoughts come from two things, past memories and future worries. There is no other place thoughts come from. Thoughts can be triggered by any object you’ve associated with a memory.
Negative thoughts are a side affect associated with anxiety. Unfortunately anxiety and negative thoughts fuel each other. This commonly turns into a horrible looping of anxiety and negative thoughts.
It is much more likely you will suffer from negative thoughts if you suffer from anxiety.
If you are focused on the past, you probably have thoughts like:
- I’m not good enough.
- No one likes me.
- I screwed this or that up.
- Remembering or ruminating on trauma.
Worrying about the past creates Depression patterns, you feel low self worth.
If you’re focused on the future, you have thoughts like:
- What am I going to do?
- What if I make a fool of myself?
- How will I survive this or that situation?
- What if this or that happens?
Anxiety is created from worrying about what will happen in the future.
Are you following me here? Is this making sense? Good!
It’s About Attention and Attachment
Attention is one of our natural super powers! The problem is, no one taught you how to use it. Most people focus their attention on the past and future.
Thoughts will come, thoughts will go, thoughts will always be there. You don’t decide which appear and which don’t.
What you DO decide is which thoughts you pay attention and attach to. The beautiful thing is, with practice you can actually reduce these excessive thoughts and eliminate them completely!
As any habit, the more attention or attachment you give it, the more you’re telling your mind it’s important. The mind will reinforce and confirm these patterns to be true.
Thoughts come, thoughts go. Thoughts create feeling and emotions only when you attach to them. It’s like watching a road with hundreds of cars passing by and that one car catches your attention.
Why? Why do you suddenly attach to that one object? You are now attached, it has your attention, thoughts work the same way.
This is all because of your conditioned mental patterns.
The day you were born you were free of worry, free of past, free of future thought, were you not?
As you aged you were told things, things happened to you, good or bad, your mind starting attaching to these. Anything creating an emotional state will be stored in your memory with more attachment.
This is why Negative thought and excessive thought patterns start manifesting in your mind. Which lead you to how you deal with these thought patterns.
How Do I Stop Thinking Negative Thoughts?
It’s going to take practical practice, but not like what you’ve been told.
You already know you do not have control over which thoughts come. You have to change those patterns and habits of the mind allowing thoughts to pass.
As you start letting the thoughts pass without attachment you will start identifying less and less with these thoughts. Slowely over time they will fade away and fewer thoughts will come up.
Eventually you will get to a point where you only use thought when you NEED IT and it’s like a super power!
Practice the tips below consistently you may find yourself with very few thoughts.
You will only think when you want to or need to.
It is absolutely possible to do this, but again, it will take practice. There is no quick fix for years of conditioning.
These are not coping mechanisms, we are reforming habits and thought patterns. It’s not about turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts. We can’t really do this. You can believe you can and again, it may work for a short period of time, but the thoughts will continue.
Here’s a few tips to help you stop attaching to negative thoughts. Practice, and you will significantly slow down all excessive thoughts.
Tip #1: Start Meditating
Meditation is a practical and simple way to start changing any habit and rewire thought patterns. Start meditating every day and just a few days can have a significant impact on your thought attachment. We are practicing letting thoughts pass through meditation.
Step 1: Find a quiet spot.
Somewhere were you wont be disturbed.
Step 2: Do some simple stretches.
It’s important and you will get the most benefit from meditation when your body is fully relaxed. Stretch your back, roll your shoulders and neck, tighten your whole body for a few seconds and relax.
Step 3: Close your eyes and breath
You can do this sitting, laying down, or standing, it does not matter.
Gently close your eyes, breath slowly into your abdomen.
Your breath is tied to your mind, you can not focus on breathing and think other thoughts.
Step 4: After a few minutes stop focusing on your breath
When this happens thoughts may start pouring in, do your best to simply observe them, let them pass. If you are generating emotions or feeling from these thoughts, return to your breath.
The idea is to use your breath to center yourself. Practicing meditate helps you let thoughts pass without attaching and is the true of the practice.
Do this for 5-10 minutes, don’t worry if 5 minutes feels like forever. If you can not make five minutes, try again later. Learning anything new and reversing years of conditioning will take time.
You may start feeling relief in just a few days. Depending on how much conditioning there is will determine how long the practice takes to produce benefits. Commit to practicing meditation EVERY DAY!
Tip #2: Come Back to Your Breath
Use your breath to center yourself throughout the day. When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, take a few moments and focus on your breath. If you are having negative thoughts a LOT, you will want to try this…
Every time you use the restroom, make a habit to spend an extra 30 seconds or a minute focusing on your breath.
You can do this anytime throughout the day. You don’t need to close your eyes if you don’t want (though most people find closing their eyes more powerful).
Since everyone uses the restroom, it’s an easy reminder to check your breath!
Again, practice focusing on your breath throughout the day. You will notice as days and weeks go by you are needing to do this less and less.
Tip #3: When Thoughts Come, Let Them Pass
This is practicing living meditation. This may be difficult at first, but I promise, with practice it will help you so much you will wish you started doing this years ago.
Letting thoughts pass is like what you do during meditation. The idea is to find the switch (the moment before the emotion producing thought appears), throughout your day.
Pay attention to what thoughts you are attaching to (the ones causing feels and emotions). Attempt to identify the moment you attach.
You will find there’s something like a switch inside you. Once you start noticing the switch it becomes much easier to be aware. You will start being able to let these thoughts pass without attachment.
The switch happens, and it’s like the next thought is the one you are going to attach to.
Identify the switch and thoughts will pass.
Tip #4: Listen Intently
Involvement is a powerful way to step into the present and be in the now. When you are first attempt to stop negative thoughts, being involved may feel impossible to stop. One way you can closer to involvement and living in the present instead of the past or future is to practice listening.
When we listen, what the other person is saying is reproduced in our mind. You may be hearing the other person but something inside you is perceiving these words (it’s your ‘I’ but we’ll talk about that in another article).
This is why when you here something, let’s use motivating as an example. The words and sounds reproduced in your mind can create emotions.
This is the same reason why some people will watch a movie and get emotionally involved.
You are attached to the thoughts produced inside of you from the perceiving of the movie. From the sound to the images.
The great thing about listening, truly listening is it forces our focus into the present.
When you first start practicing this, you will see how the words affect you. You may start attaching to thoughts arising from what the person is saying.
If you are listening, without attachment you will start bringing yourself into the present. Being fully involved and non-attached.
Listen, but don’t attach. The more you do this, the more spontaneous you will respond. You will be in the present with what the person is saying without attachment. Soon the mind will stop producing these thoughts because they are of no use.
With practice, your mind gives up and stops generating thoughts when listening so you can be involved with 100% attention!
Practicing these tips on a regular basis will result in improved clarity, memory and control of your attachments.
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