How to Recognize Negative Thinking and How to Avoid It

The First Step is Awareness 

 

One of the worst ways we self-sabotage our own improvement and positive change is by succumbing to negative thinking. And no matter how small, these thoughts can have a huge impact on our actions, how we think about ourselves, and how we think about the world. 

But negative thoughts themselves aren’t the real issue, it’s often the power we give to them that’s the problem. Choosing to believe your negative thoughts is what ultimately gives them power of your mind and actions. 

If you’re trying to level up, change yourself, or become the best version of yourself, you’ve probably experienced negative thinking. At some point, we all have. 

However, the good news is, you can change your thoughts and most importantly how you interpret your thoughts. But what if you’re unaware of your own thoughts? 

How to Gain Awareness of Negative Thinking 

Well, the first step is becoming aware of your own negative thoughts. Now, there are different types of negative thoughts and we must check them as best we can before they surface. 

Here are 3 examples of negative thought patterns to look out for: 

1. All-or-Nothing Thinking: Seeing things in only two categories, without shades of gray. It’s a perfectionism or absolute failure mentality. 

2. Emotional Reasoning: Believing that because you feel something, it must be true. Even though, the only evidence is your emotions. 

3. Overgeneralization: Taking one negative detail of an event or circumstance and making it the whole. Or creating an entire negative scenario from that specific negative detail. 

 

Now, there are many more types of negative thought patterns. And, if you feel inclined, research to identify if your thoughts ever fall into these negative traps. 

But just being aware puts the power back into your hands (and mind). These next steps are how you can avoid fall into the trap of negative thinking. 

Disclaimer: If you are having thoughts that are causing you to harm yourself or others, please seek the help of a professional or call 800-273-8255. 

 

Practice Detachment from Your Negative Thinking 

Many of us think about our thoughts entirely wrong. We believe that we are our thoughts, that are thinking is, and therefore, it must be true. But what if that wasn’t true? 

Because it isn’t. You can think of many things that aren’t true. 

Such as, “The sky is green.” 

Yet, when you think this thought, you hold no conviction for to believe it. This is similar to how we must frame our negative thoughts. 

When a negative thought arises or is triggered, instead of automatically assigning meaning to it or believing it to be the absolute truth, try instead to just observe it. Try to place no judgment on it whatsoever. This is a practice called mindfulness. 

It’s when we become aware of our thoughts and feelings and allow them to float past us, rather than internalizing them. We become objective. 

Practice detaching from your thoughts, letting them go, and see how you feel afterwards. 

How to Think More Positively 

We can start making positive changes toward our thoughts by changing the power we give them and how we interpret them. 

In a previous post, we’ve shared the importance of having a positive attitude and how it can positively impact your health. 

So, this isn’t just about mental health, it also about your overall well-being. 

Start prioritizing your thinking and how you feel about yourself. Think of it as part of your health routine, just as you would eating more nutritious foods or going to the gym. 

The truth is you don’t have to banish negative thoughts to have a positive life. Because if you put that pressure on yourself, it will start to create a cycle of judgement if you can’t immediately do it. 

You just need to prioritize creating a positive environment where positivity is the norm. From there, you will start to notice more and more how ‘normal’ thinking positively about yourself becomes. 

If you want more inspiration, motivation, or just daily encouragement, be sure to follow our IG page for consistent updates. Engage with community, encourage someone else, and most importantly, prioritize your mental well-being. You won’t regret it. 

Disclaimer: If you are having thoughts that are causing you to harm yourself or others, please seek the help of a professional or call 800-273-8255.