Negative thoughts: Formula to defeat them
The way in which you analyze the situations you face, makes you feel different emotions (confidence, fear, anxiety ...), and those emotions determine the way you will act later, mobilized by negative or positive thoughts.Negative thoughts appear before a variety of situations, such as an important test, a job interview or public speaking for a person with stage fright, among many others. A thought has a lot of power in how you feel and how you behave. The fact that thoughts are constantly negative can cause you to enter a loop difficult to escape, sometimes producing or maintaining anxiety attacks.These thoughts can come from previous negative experiences, lack of self-confidence or latent fears that manifest themselves by sending those harmful signals. In addition, they can surprise you at any time because they are intrusive thoughts. But how can we erase negative thinking? Here you can find the steps to follow in order to modify those erroneous ideas that break into certain situations and affect you in your emotional state, in your performance and even in your personal relationships.
# 1 - Identify the negative thoughts
The first step to end them is to be able to identify them. For doing so it can be very helpful to keep a record in which you write down the thoughts, the situation in which you were when they appeared and the consequences they had for you.This task can become the most important factor when determining the progression of the process. Therefore, you need to be patient and practice this activity, since sometimes the thoughts are automatic and it is difficult to pay enough attention.*photo*
# 2.- Analyse the thoughts in a detailed way
The power that thoughts have over us and over our state of mind is greater than we can imagine. Negative thoughts tend to draw conclusions and from these, they are creating theories about how we are. The process can also be inverted, being beliefs about us that give rise to maladaptive thoughts. Be it in whatever direction, dismantling those theories is possible, here are two techniques that can help you.First of all, you can push your negative thinking to the limit. An example is:*photo*When you dismantle your thoughts this way, you will realize what your real fear is, in this case, the presentation of the project does not generate discomfort but the fear of failure.It is also an effective strategy to try to get out of the problem and judge it from the outside. Think: What if a friend of mine told me that? Would I give it the same importance?, it can make you realize the little foundation the argument has.
# 3.- Question their credibility
Negative thoughts are one of the most frequent anxiety symptoms, and once you have analysed where they come from, it is time to test their veracity.To dismantle the reliability of those thoughts, there are a series of questions that are very helpful.
- What proof do you have that this thought is true?
- What interpretation are you making of the situation, with what probability is it accurate? Is it the only possible interpretation? Could there be another point of view?
- Having that thought, is it helping you solve the problem? Do you feel good with that interpretation of the situation? What advantages and disadvantages does your thinking have?
In the previous example, the following questions could be asked:
- How many times have you had a bad experience in a meeting with your bosses?
- When you see that the project of a partner has not been accepted, do you think he is a failure?
- Do you think the fact that they do not accept your proposal is something that deserves feeling ridiculous?
- How many times have your bosses laughed at someone in a meeting?
- Does not accepting mean that you are incompetent?
- Do you feel good thinking like that?
# 4.-Substitute them for adaptive thoughts
In the face of that same situation there may be another answer, it is important that even if negative thinking comes automatically to you, make an effort to conceive alternative reasoning. Controlling thoughts completely is not a realistic goal, but getting them to adapt to reality is.As a result of the previous steps, these negative ideas will lose power as more effective ways of dealing with situations appear. If those conclusions you have drawn when questioning their credibility, you repeat them as self-instructions every time they come back to you, you will get a more objective view of reality.Have present questions such as the following:
- Is the interpretation I am making of the situation the only one possible?
- Is there a more productive alternative than going around the same topic without stopping?Is that alternative more likely to help me than my initial thinking?Does it make me feel better? Does it affect in a positive way my actions?
# 5.- Draw conclusions from the change
Keep in mind that this is a process whose result is worthwhile but requires a lot of effort and patience. The changes will be progressive but if you do this work with your negative thoughts, you will get to put them aside and also avoid relapses.Seeing how you are able to modify those negative beliefs that you had so ingrained, is a major change in your life. This generates a very positive effect on you and can lead to your self-esteem improving. In addition, knowing how to manage negative thoughts implies that the level of anxiety is reduced and this is a measure of protection since the relationship between this and other psychological problems is very frequent. Specifically, anxiety and depression go hand in hand.Remember that with four simple tricks you can put aside those thoughts that generate discomfort and influence your mood and your way of dealing with situations.Sometimes, these tips are not enough because what makes you feel bad or generates constant worries is very settled in you and you do not see yourself with the necessary strength to put them aside. In that case, the support of a professional is the push you need: in your therapist you will find the person that makes you feel understood and guided in the process. Knowing how anxiety manifests is the first step to overcome it.If you want to improve your level of well-being, in TherapyChat we can help you. We are international leaders in online psychology and we have the right therapist for you.