Automatic negative thoughts. How to break out of the vicious circle?

Automatic negative thoughts. How to break out of the vicious circle?
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Negative thoughts get to each of us and there is nothing wrong with that as long as they don’t begin to overwhelm us and dominate every aspect of our lives.

Thoughts shape our attitude and the world around us, they control our mood and allow us to influence others. Therefore, constantly thinking about current problems and failures, but also possible failures and difficulties, can eventually lead to serious emotional disturbances, sleep or eating problems, isolation, apathy and feelings of inferiority. We begin to live with the belief that it has to be this way and nothing good will happen to us. Thus, we program ourselves for more misfortune.

Negative thoughts are quite natural and you don’t have to get rid of them completely, but you should learn to control them. Here are some tips.

Look for something good in every circumstance

There is a bright side to every situation, even the seemingly worst. While this is a tired cliché, it doesn’t make it any less true. Every time a negative thought comes over you, try to answer it with something positive. Every day, try to find the answer to the question, “What good things have happened to me today? Write the answers down and keep them. Each day you will begin to see more and more good and positive things around you, and the list will grow longer.

One of the best ways to allow positivity into your life, while eliminating negativity, is also to practice gratitude. Sometimes our mind is so filled with negative thoughts that we forget through them that there are many things in our lives that we can be grateful to fate for. Think of these things and simply give thanks for them.

Be physically active

Another cliché that simply works. Physical activity has many benefits. It improves your mood, helps you occupy your head and get away from bad thoughts, and at the same time stimulates your body to produce happy hormones. Even a small warm-up of 20-30 minutes can have a truly magical effect on your thoughts. And if you don’t like physical exertion, you can just walk or dance.

Identify the source of your problems

Do you know what the source of your negative thoughts is? If not, it is unlikely that you can resist them. Here are some of the common and most common sources:

  • fear – fear of the unknown, of failure, of pain, of loneliness, etc. Fear that is justified, but also irrational like nothing else, can fill your mind with negative thoughts;
  • habit – you may have become so accustomed to negative thinking over the past months or years that you have developed a habit and have begun to see it as the norm;
  • environment – if for one reason or another you are surrounded by toxic people who regularly practice negative thinking, then (whether you want them to or not) over time you will begin to think like them;
  • past traumas and experiences – perhaps it’s the weight of something that happened in your past that keeps you up at night and keeps you from changing your thinking pattern to a more positive one.

Identify the source and try to reduce or eliminate it altogether. Work through past traumas, cut off contact with toxic people, face your fears. Also, reduce the intake of stimuli and information that annoy, worry, or irritate you. Instead, provide your mind with something positive – read affirmations, listen to your favorite music, watch something funny, etc.

Live consciously and mindfully

Focus on the here and now. On yourself, your emotions, the things and people around you. Meditation can be useful in this to help you develop mindfulness, which is being in the moment with awareness of yourself and the world around you. Experience everything fully and completely. Don’t hide from life’s challenges and realize the simple fact that what you do today and now matters much more than what you did in the past – if only because it will determine your future.

Have a positive attitude toward others

Try to be kind to everyone you meet on your life’s journey, even if those people annoy you. Smile at someone, greet them warmly or compliment them, especially if that person looks gloomy or depressed. Be an active and sincere listener in any conversation

When communicating with other people, show your interest in them and don’t act like you can’t wait for the conversation to end. Show more empathy to others, offer help or support to those in need, or even become a volunteer in some non-profit organization. If you make the people around you happier, over time you will start to feel better yourself.

Let go of your thoughts and emotions

If you try to lock your negative thoughts deep inside and keep quiet about them, it can cause you a lot of pain and lead to a lot of problems. What is simmering inside you will come out sooner or later, so instead of waiting for it, plan for it. Give your thoughts a controlled outlet by writing them down, recording them or even drawing them. Talking to someone you trust – a friend, relative, or even a psychologist – is also important in this process.

Change your attitude about yourself

Start your day by smiling at yourself. Also pay attention to your body language – straighten your back, relax your muscles and hold your head high. . Believe in yourself and your abilities, become your biggest supporter. Get rid of “I can’t do it”, “I don’t know how to do it”, “I can’t do it”, “I’m hopeless”. Replace them with positives that will motivate you every day. It’s important to realize that no failure, setback or ultimately your negative thoughts define who you are.

Main photo: Ajay Karpur/

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