The Power of Thinking Patterns

3 Ways to Overcome Negative Thought Patterns

 

We all have negative thought patterns that we believe to be true. From thinking that we’re always right to ignoring the positives in a situation, these thinking patterns can have a massive impact on our daily lives and overall mental health.

 

The next time you catch yourself in an unhealthy pattern of thinking, use these 3 tips to re-shape your brain’s habits for the better.

 

1. If you tend to dwell on the negative, write it down

 

Us humans tend to magnify negative details and ignore the positives. This is called filtering, and it can quickly make you feel awful and anxious.

 

The solution? Try writing it all down. You can write about how this type of thinking makes you feel and explore how it impacts your actions. Another great fix is to start a gratitude journal. When you notice yourself emphasizing the negative, take a moment to write down the good parts of your day.  

 

2. Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts

 

The idea of “replacing” thoughts might sound impossible. However, it’s an incredibly effective way to train your mind. This strategy is rooted in the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which teaches you how to recognize and change negative thoughts and behavior patterns.

 

CBT is best accomplished with the help of a professional therapist, but here are some steps you can try on your own:

 

  1. Take notice of negative thought patterns and identify how you feel.
  2. Acknowledge that this is a thinking pattern you’d like to change.
  3. Think about what you want to be different (consider writing it down or saying it out loud to yourself for more impact).
  4. Choose to replace negative patterns with a different behavior and/or thought process.

 

As you practice the process again and again, it will begin to feel natural. Before you know it, your negative thinking will be drastically reduced.

 

3. Learn how to be a good friend to yourself

 

Many of our most hurtful thinking patterns revolve around being mean to ourselves. Over the years, I’ve spoken with thousands of people who regularly engage in negative self-talk. As heartbreaking as it can be to hear these things, I get it — it’s really easy to be your own worst critic.

 

Thankfully, there’s an easy way to start treating yourself better. I like to think of it as being your own best friend, and here’s how it works:

 

  • Reframe the things you say to yourself by asking, “What would my best friend say to me if they heard the way I talk to myself?”
  • Give yourself a time limit on negativity. You can dwell for five minutes, then it’s time to move on.

 

You can even combine this healthier line of thinking with the process for replacing negative thoughts that we explored in tip #2.

 

You may have noticed that the goal isn’t to ignore your negative thought patterns, because acknowledging your feelings is the first step to understanding them. Once you have a better understanding it’s much easier to develop new habits and thought patterns.

 
Our caring therapists can help you overcome life’s greatest challenges. Contact us today!