Ideas to stop negative self-talk and start thinking positively

Being in control of our self-talk is vital for our health and happiness. What we think affects how we feel and behave, and, in time, our mental and physical health. Knowing how to stop negative thoughts and think more positively has many rewards. As the self-improvement author Remez Sasson said: “Positive thinking evokes more energy, more initiative and more happiness.”

What are some ways to switch over to positive thinking? Try these easy techniques.

Use thought stopping techniques

As soon as we notice we’re thinking negatively think “Stop!”, and then change the thoughts to something more positive. Blinking and thinking “Stop!” at the same time, or just blinking alone, might also help. We’ll need to repeat this many times if the negative thoughts come back often, but it’s worth doing. If we persist with this technique, then in time the negative thoughts are likely to return less and less.

What positive thoughts can we substitute the negative ones with?

  • A funny or uplifting joke, saying, poem, quote or picture…we’ve read, heard or seen
  • Songs that make us feel good
  • One or more happy memories
  • Positive affirmations about health, success, relationships…
  • Plans we’re making in order to achieve our goals
  • A wish list that inspires and uplifts us
  • Our goals having already been achieved, such as feeling happy on a vacation we want to go on, or getting a promotion at work
  • Past successes we’ve had
  • People, plants and pets…that make us happy
  • Imagining practising a sport we enjoy, or working on a hobby or other pastime
  • If we’re religious, a positive prayer might help uplift us

Challenge the negative thoughts

Like the thought stopping technique above, think “Stop!” and/or blink. This time, just before we start to consciously think positive thoughts, have a mini conversation with the negative thoughts.

The conversations could go something like the ones below, depending on the nature of the negative thoughts:

  • “I’ve thought enough about this topic and I don’t need to think about it anymore. It’s a waste of time. I’m going to think about something pleasant now.”
  • “These thoughts are rubbish/hurtful/nasty… and they make me feel awful. I’m now going to think about something uplifting instead.”
  • “I don’t know what the answer is (or what to do, or what to say…) right now, but I don’t want to think about this anymore. I can think about it more later on, if need be.”

Ask ourselves where the thoughts have come from

When we notice we’re thinking a negative thought, ask ourselves where it came from. Did someone say it? Did we come up with the thought ourselves? Did we read it somewhere? Whatever the source of the thought, we can decide whether it’s a worthwhile thought, so keep thinking about it, or stop thinking the thought because it’s not true, upsetting, or a waste of time…

Changing negative thinking to positive thinking can occur straight away, or it can take time. If the negative thoughts have been ingrained for years, or have negative emotions attached to them, we’ll probably have to persevere. Put in the effort and keep going – the results are worth it.

… Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.”

– Willie Nelson

… Fill your mind with light, happiness, hope, feelings of security and strength, and soon your life will reflect these qualities.”

– Remez Sasson

written by Nyomi Graef

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