Sometimes, my mind gets the better of me. I want to be happy and healthy, just like everyone else, but sometimes my brain has other plans – it starts to fixate on negative thoughts and emotions, and before I know it, I'm spiraling downward.
If this situation sounds familiar, the first thing you have to realize is that your thoughts are under your control. Sure, you can't stop an idea from popping into your head, but I believe you can choose whether to entertain it or not.
You have the decision to ruminate on it, or let it go.
So if negative thinking has been holding you back lately, make a conscious effort to fight it with these 10 tips.
1. Get rid of the victim mentality. You are in control of your life. Remember that you have the power to change your circumstances.
2. Take the focus off of yourself. Help someone else; reach out; give someone a hug. You'll be surprised; when you start giving love to others, you often feel loved yourself.
3. Smile, even if you don't feel like it. You've probably heard the science before – smiling tricks your brain into thinking you're happy.
4. Accept your best. No one is perfect; don't hold yourself to an impossible standard, because that's the same as dooming yourself to fail. Your best is good enough. Acknowledge that.
5. Let go of the past. If you begin to dwell on past mistakes and past hurts, realize this – and let it go. It will be hard at first – you'll have to let go again and again, maybe ten times or more within an hour. But as you practice this habit, you'll get better at it. Let the past go, and dwell in the present.
6. Surround yourself with people who also practice positivity in their lives. If there's someone in your life who constantly brings you down (and you can tell, because after hanging out with them, you often feel drained and unhappy), then spend less time with them. Invest in relationships with people who encourage you, and lift you up.
7. Seek out inspiration to include positivity in your daily routine. Read poetry; stick positive quotes around your room; go for a meditative run; practice yoga; journal about everything you're grateful for. There are many ideas online for how to be and think more positive!
8. Be thankful. Exquisitely, vocally thankful for the many wonderful things in your life. Even when everything seems gray, gratefulness can help you find that one ray of sunshine in your life that will inspire you to keep going.
9. Embrace things that make you happy – singing, drawing, listening to upbeat music, snuggling with your kitty, drinking tea. Taking a warm bath always makes me feel a little more ready to deal with the stresses in my world. Love yourself, and seek out the joy in life. It's out there.
10. Get the negative things that are bothering you out of your head and onto paper. This is perhaps my favorite technique to conquer negative thinking, because it allows you to logically consider what you're feeling and why you're feeling that way. You clear your mind of these thoughts and view them like pinned insects on the paper before you. Then, you're free to do with them what you will: crumple them in a ball and throw them away; burn them and scatter their ashes on the wind; smile at them and shake your head, knowing they have no power to hurt you.
"Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact." – William James
You're not alone. When negative thoughts start to overwhelm you, reach out. Don't go through it by yourself. Find a friend. Push the negative aside and cling to the positive. Hard times pass; good times are ahead. And you are strong enough to make it that far.