Stop Thinking Negatively
When under a lot of stress, some people tend to think extremely negative thoughts. Pessimism can often be a counterproductive approach solving problems or overcoming stress. It is important to consider ways to eliminate negative thoughts or to reduce them so you can spend energy on making positive changes. Reorienting your thoughts in positive ways can have both spiritual and physical benefits. Consider these tips:
- Open up: It is highly beneficial to talk about what’s on your mind with a trusted person. This person can be a close, empathetic friend or a professional counselor. Expressing yourself can help give structure to the various thoughts racing through your head. This will help you see problems and questions you have more clearly. Alternatively, you can even write your thoughts down in a private journal to help you formulate what you want to say.
- Practice mindfulness: This means to take a moment to objectify the thoughts going through your head, to recognize them passing through your mind, whatever they may be. This means to try and move away from experiencing your stressful or difficult thoughts and moving toward a recognition of their existence. Think of your thoughts as cars on a busy street. Instead of sitting in the traffic, take a moment to sit on a bench and observe the cars (your thoughts) passing by. A practice that really helps is deep breathing and counting. Breathe in for four seconds and breathe out for four seconds while counting each second.
- Change your perspective: Many people often frame their thoughts in a negative light, a practice which can be unproductive for positive change. There are ways you can reframe your thoughts to mean the same thing but also allows for optimism. For example, instead of saying “I am having a lot of trouble with this difficult situation,” you can say: “I am going through a difficult time but am working on finding solutions.” The latter phrase gives you the possibility to change your situation for the better.
- Be active: Being more active can help improve your mood and have beneficial physical effects. Try taking walks around the neighborhood, using an elliptical, or swimming for three to four times a week. Try to make each exercise session last for about 30 minutes. Always consult a doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.
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