Work, health, relationships, and finances provide everyone plenty of situations to become stressed over and develop negative thought patterns. However, negative feelings that are left unresolved often lead to chronic self-defeating patterns. To avoid becoming triggered into reactions that are later regretted, or overwhelmed with stress, negative thought clearing techniques can help one reach a more positive state of mind.
Most often, negative feelings occur when people are triggered by memories of negative events, want more control over situations, or become stressed from trying to take on too much at one time. One of life’s toughest challenges is not actually dealing with the difficulties themselves, but with how they are perceived. When facing challenges, people often allow undesirable thoughts to multiply and affect how they react to others in ways they later regret. This is sometimes called “catastrophizing,” or “making a mountain out of a mole hill.”
Many people try stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, watching TV, and herbal tea to reduce tension, and while these practices can have a positive effect at reducing daily pressures, unless a concerted effort is made to eliminate the underlying causes of the reactions and stress, negative patterns will persist.
My audio program, “Mind Power for Self-Empowerment” is a tremendous resource to help you make the shift to positive thinking at both a conscious and subconscious level.
Where Do Negative Thoughts Come From?
Negative thoughts are the major cause of negative reactions and stress, and, as a self-perpetuating cycle, the more stress people are exposed to the more negative beliefs they will develop. Beliefs derive from conclusions about major issues that affect one’s life, and negative thoughts and conclusions are what reveal underlying assumptions and beliefs, many of which are held in the subconscious mind. Of the various ways of reducing negative thought patterns the use of positive self-talk is one of the most effective.
Self-talk is composed of the thoughts that go through one’s mind. Most people have a continuous stream of never ending thoughts. Negative self-talk occurs whenever people think negatively about themselves, others, or situations. So negative experiences influence how the person thinks and then reacts to bad situations. For example, if someone is cut-off in line at the grocery store by another shopper they may believe the other shopper acted in an inconsiderate manner, intentionally meaning to slight them. In response they tell themselves the other shopper is a rude and has no manners. Alternatively, the shopper being cut-off can influence how they react by not taking the experience personally and choosing to think the other shopper was just in a hurry and didn’t actually mean to behave inappropriately. The reactions and the choice of positive or negative thoughts derives from the interpretation of the event.
How Are Negative Thoughts Created?
People often develop negative self-talk without even realizing it, but there are some common identifying patterns that are easily recognizable.
- Personalizing: A person always blames themselves whenever something bad happens. For example, a parent will blame themselves for their child’s poor behavior, or a child blames him or herself for the problems of their parents or others.
- Negative Filtering: Obsessing over the negative aspects of an experience while filtering out all the positive characteristics. As an example, if someone gets a pay increase at work they will think they could have gotten a larger raise if they had done a better job. Despite success on the job they never think they are rising in their career fast enough.
- Fatalistic Thinking: Obsessively anticipating the worst case scenario. Examples of fatalistic thinking are paranoia and hypochondria. Paranoia refers to a person thinking others are out to hurt them physically or emotionally. An example of hypochondria is someone convinces him or herself that a harmless mole is cancer before they even see a doctor.
Techniques to Change Negative to Positive
To overcome negative self-talk people must learn to replace negative thinking with positive thinking. Becoming optimistic doesn’t happen overnight, but there are things that can be done to clear negative self-talk patterns when they occur. To replace negative with positive self-talk, people must make a conscious effort to change their view. As examples, instead of:
- Thinking something isn’t possible; think of a challenge as an opportunity to be innovative and learn how to do something new or in a new way.
- Believing something won’t work; look at the situation as a way to be creative. Often while one person is thinking something can’t be done, there is someone busy doing it.
- Feeling people don’t make the effort to communicate; initiate talking with them.
- Believing something is too complicated; choose to look at the problem from a different angle.
For more help with this see my free article titled “Negative Thoughts Can be Stopped“.
The hard reality is people often do not have control over many of the things that happen in their daily lives; however, they do have the choice of how they chose to react. By learning to replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk as a negative thought cleaning technique, people will have much greater control over their own well-being and happiness. With practice, negative self-talk can be replaced with positive thoughts to afford people a more positive outlook on themselves, others and the world around them.