We all experience negative thoughts from time to time. While we can’t always control what pops into our heads, we can control how much attention we give those thoughts. Learning to manage negative thinking is an important skill for mental health and overall well-being. Read on for ten practical tips to help you take control of your thought patterns.

  1. Identify Thought Distortions

Our minds often play tricks on us, leading us to catastrophise or jump to conclusions. When you notice a negative thought, ask yourself if it’s distorted in some way. Identifying distortions like “all or nothing” thinking can help you regain perspective.

  1. Challenge Negative Thoughts

Once you identify a distorted thought, challenge it. Ask yourself if it’s really true or likely to happen. Look for evidence against the negative thought. This can help diffuse its power over you.

  1. Practise Positive Self-Talk

Counter negative thoughts with positive ones. When self-criticism creeps in, replace it with compassion. Write uplifting affirmations and repeat them when negative thoughts arise. Surround yourself mentally with positive messages.

  1. Distract Yourself

If simple thought-challenging isn’t working, distract yourself fully. Call a friend, take a walk, or turn on some music and sing out loud. Activities that fully engage you in the present moment can interrupt negative thought cycles.

  1. Visualise a Stop Sign

Visualisation tools can help limit negative thoughts. For example, imagine a stop sign every time a negative thought enters your mind. Picture yourself stopping in your tracks and shifting gears to think of something positive.

  1. Manage Stress

High stress fuels negative thinking. Try relaxing activities like yoga, deep breathing, and meditation. Getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly also helps manage stress. Reducing overall stress makes it easier to control anxious or depressive thoughts.

  1. Limit Social Media Use

Social media often promotes comparisons that fuel negative self-talk. Limit the use of apps like Facebook and Instagram if they regularly trigger gloomy thoughts about yourself or your life. Be selective about who you follow to create a more positive social media experience.

  1. Practise Gratitude

Make a daily habit of writing down things you’re grateful for. Expressing gratitude in a journal, letter, or simply in your thoughts is a powerful way to shift out of negative thinking patterns. Focusing on what’s going right increases overall positivity.

  1. Seek Support

Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if negative thoughts seem overwhelming. A licensed therapist can provide tools to manage difficult thought patterns and address underlying causes. Support groups also provide a space to share struggles and solutions.

  1. Consider EFT Tapping

Emotional freedom technique (EFT), also known as tapping therapy, uses acupressure while focusing on negative emotions or thought patterns. Studies show EFT in London may reduce anxiety and depression. On top of this, it can also help with stress relief by regulating the body’s energy system. 

With regular practice, these tips can help limit the power negative thoughts have over you. You have the power to take control of your thoughts and write a more positive narrative.