Mental Health Tips

How to Deal with Negative Thoughts

August 12, 2021

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“You cannot stop having negative thoughts. But you can stop listening to them and taking them seriously.”

It’s so easy for us to get wrapped up in our negative thoughts and negative self talk. That little voice telling us over and over that you can’t do something, that you’re not good enough, that you don’t deserve something – the more we think it, the more true it can seem. These negative thoughts paired with a bad day that puts you in a bad mood can make you believe that the thoughts must be true. But I’m here to tell you today that this isn’t the case!

Behind all the negative thoughts and all the bad days, it’s important to remember that there is always you. And you are so much more than what you are feeling. You are the one that watches and feels these emotions. You are the one that carries yourself through the bad day, and what you are currently experiencing doesn’t need to define you.

The tricky thing about this concept is that we can’t just stop negative self talk with more negative self talk…which unfortunately tends to be our inclination. We’ve all been there, a negative though pops up (“I’m not smart enough to participate in this conversation”) and we answer with a negative thought (“Why the hell do I always talk to myself this way? I’m so obnoxious. I know I shouldn’t do it and I still do it.”)

A trick I like to tell clients is this: Next time you have the thought, instead of trying to nip it in the bud with even more destructive thoughts, try saying “I’m having the thought that…”

Something like…

  • “I don’t look pretty enough in this picture to post it on instagram”

VERSUS

  • “I’m having the thought that I’m not pretty enough to post this picture on instagram”

See the difference? To me it’s huge. In the first one, you’re connecting your thoughts directly to your emotions and letting them control you. In the second, you’re creating distance between you and your thoughts. You have thoughts, you have emotions, but there is a you who can watch over them. The more you strengthen this part of yourself, the more you will be able to regulate your emotions and upsets.

One of the most effective ways to get this real for yourself is to practice mindfulness. Contrary to popular belief, mindfulness does not need to mean sitting still or clearing your mind. Mindfulness simply means doing something with all your attention on it and noticing your thoughts, feelings, and body sensations in the process. It’s a self study and it allows you to strengthen your sense of intuition and weaken your tendency to overly-identify or get swallowed up by your thoughts

Here are some ways to practice mindfulness that don’t involve meditation. 

  • Cleaning mindfully
  • Going for a mindful walk
  • Journaling mindfully
  • Exercising without technology
  • Cooking, gardening, taking a bath…really anything!

With Grace,

Amanda

PS- I would love to hear how this goes from you! Tell me below or feel free to hit me up on Instagram!

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