I talk a lot about positive thinking on social media and this blog, however sometimes negative thoughts can take over and start to affect every day life. That is what happened to me.
For years I would worry about little things but create a huge scenario in my head thinking about everything that could possibly go wrong. The word I like to use for this is ‘catastrophising’ as I think it really sums up what goes on for me when I start the cycle of negative thinking.
So how can we stop ourselves going round and round in circles?
Firstly you need be open to changing your mindset. A growth mindset is needed in order to try and establish new thinking patterns. You also need to be patient and persistent as the way our brains work does not change overnight. It can be a slow process, but one that is completely worth it as I have learnt. Below are three strategies I have learnt in the past 18 months which may help you too:
THE ‘NO’ STRATEGY
This is one strategy I use on a daily basis and has worked in a really positive way for me.
The basis is of this strategy is to say ‘NO’ to yourself whenever intrusive, anxious or negative thoughts pop up. Sounds weird, right? But for me it has worked really well. Some say no in their heads, some say it out loud – find whatever works for you.
GIVE YOURSELF ‘WORRY’ TIME
I only started using when my therapist suggested I try it out, but this is another strategy that really works for me to this day.
In one of my therapy sessions when I was at a pretty low point, I was upset about the amount of time I was spending every day just worrying about EVERYTHING. The event that led me to seek counselling was at the forefront of those anxieties, however with that came an onslaught of other emotions such as self-doubt, a lack of confidence and worry about my future. She then suggested that every day I dedicate little pockets of time where I allow myself to worry and then I stop myself in my tracks and get on with my day.
This was hard to control at first, but I would take myself off to somewhere quiet where I could sit with my thoughts for a minute or so and get that anxious energy out of my head.
Mindfulness is a buzzword that has been floating around the internet for a while, however I believe a lot of people still don’t really know what it is and what it can do for you. The definition of Mindfulness is “the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.”
Living in the present is the backbone of mindfulness. Living your life in fear of the future or disappointment of the past can really lower your quality of life. Negative events and traumas can stick in our heads like a broken record but if you manage to acknowledge that, you can move on and find more peace in the present moment. Living in the NOW takes away the fear and anxiety of the future or past.
Photo – Fordtography