“I’m not going to get it right;” “everything always goes wrong” “I always have such bad luck…” Happiness can be elusive with this kind of negative thinking, and thinking negatively can impede your progress in all areas of life. It’s normal to have those moments of negativity when going through some hard times, but if you let those negative thoughts get to you at just a hint of a hard time, they can eventually start to become habits. Constantly thinking negatively can lead to low self-esteem and can make you more susceptible to depression and anxiety.
1. Write your negative thoughts down
The first step to ditching negativity and becoming a more positive person is realizing when you’re having negative thoughts throughout the day. If you’re aware of when and why you have these kinds of thoughts, you’ll be more able to reflect and change them.
2. Find an alternative thought
Writing down when you have negative thoughts will help you become more conscious of when you have them, which will help you recognize when you’re having an “unrealistic” thought. When you notice one of these, you can think of, and write down alternative positive thoughts, which will help to enhance positivity.
3. Don’t try read minds
Many negative thoughts come from “reading people’s minds”. We think we know what others are thinking, but how can we really be sure? For example, if we see someone we know and they didn’t stop to say hi, we might start to think “it’s because they don’t like me”. No one has the ability to read minds, so don’t let yourself try to tell you that you do.
4. Throw away negative thoughts
A study from the University of Ohio and the University Autonoma in Madrid says that writing negative thoughts down and throwing them in the trash can be a good way to get rid of some of these negative thoughts.By doing this, it helps you relate these negative thoughts with useless objects that you throw in the trash.
5. Surround yourself with positive people
Just like negativity is contagious, so is optimism and happiness. Stay away from negative people, as they can end up dragging you down with them. By surrounding yourself with people who see the good in situations, you’ll pick up the “vibes” and end up being happier, too!
6. Enjoy the positive
Often our negativity makes us unable to enjoy the good things that are happening around us.
7. Be thankful
It’s easy to get carried away by the negative experiences that we’ve gone through throughout the day and forget all of the good things. There’s always a silver lining, even though it may be hard to see sometimes. Be thankful and acknowledge the good things that you experience every day. If you can do this, you’ll see that it’s harder to see the negative.
8. Stop complaining
Complaining about a certain situation or event can help us vent, and it’s alright to do every once in a while. However, if you constantly complain about everything, you’ll focus on the things around you that you find upsetting, rather than the good things. Complaining doesn’t help improve the situation, so rather than waste energy complaining, put it towards finding a solution.
9. Don’t generalize the negative
Are you one of those people who says “it’s always me”, “I have such bad luck!”? Generalizing the negative not only makes us feel bad, but it’s usually pretty far from reality.
10. Distract yourself
Sometimes you know that whatever negative thought you’re having is just silly and isn’t true, but you’re not able to shake it. When this happens, the best thing to do is distract yourself. Think about something else, immerse yourself in an activity or conversation; actively use your brain to do something else.