How to stop negative thinking

by Elia Strange

Sometimes it feels as though it is really difficult to think positive thoughts.

Your thoughts maybe recalling a time when something not very nice happened in your life, or perhaps the time when you argued with your boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, your friend or someone in your family.

Maybe you feel negative because somebody was very rude to you this morning and this action has rapidly changed your mood for the worse or even perhaps be completely overwhelmed by it all as you are heading down the dark path of divorce. Anyway, “Yes you”, there are always more than enough reasons why, so to change your mood for the better what you now need to do is to take control of your thinking and force it to be distracted from thinking about whatever you were feeling troubled about.

Have a look at the suggestions below and see if you can use some of them for yourself.

1. If it is possible, take yourself to the cinema after you have carefully selected ‘mood’ films that you feel will provide you with the emotional upheavals, comedy, drama or horror film, that will keep your attention focused. It might take a few attempts to fine tune your ‘mood film’ selection skill’s and be able to choose whatever works for you.

2. Sit in a peaceful place and read something engaging; try to read about a variety of different things that you think might be of interest to you. Then it becomes so much easier to find that interesting book, motivational magazine or to track down those obscure articles on the Internet that you always wanted to read.

3. Selectively start looking through your photographs and briskly removing from sight, the ones that remind you of troubled times as you plan to create different albums. Fill one with photographs of the wonderful times that you’ve had on holidays with your family or friends. Then when you need a lift you can revisit these moments in time and spend a while enjoying thinking about the fun and laughter you had with them.

4. Engage with a new hobby; the challenge of starting a new hobby can push at the limits of our comfort zones but it is quite easy to get the best enjoyment from a new hobby. All it requires is a high level of concentration whilst researching the subjects and then careful logistical planning so as not to interfere with your current life. A hobby could suit someone who has suffered from negative thoughts for awhile, for example if they are currently going through a difficult phase in their life. Hobbies, such as intricate jewellery making or converting a motorcycle to fuel injection, can keep you happily distracted whilst you are learning new practical skills and becoming better at using them.

5. If the ideal of a hobby doesn’t interest you then you could look at a short or long term courses, such as starting to learn a new language. As with the ‘hobbies’ above, this is a broad tactic for someone who is going through a difficult patch at the moment. If possible, find a course that makes you join a group, this provides fun and help from others whilst you learn a new language there.

6. Volunteer to help, it might be to help your friend and it could be to babysit or help them to redecorate their house. Or you could assist in one of the many litter picking walks along public footpaths. I know this sounds cheesy but by physically doing something different this action will make you think differently that day.

7. Start writing a dairy, not just little messages but just write down whatever comes into your mind, about the “Good or bad” or the “Happy or upsetting”. You could write for an hour or two about how your day has been if you like, setting out what has dissatisfied you and you will vent your frustration onto the paper and you will feel much better for it. Guaranteed.

8. Go outside, walk to the library, shops, or your local market. Go anywhere where you can walk about and look at thousands of different things to distract yourself from your gruesome thoughts.

9. Talk to your parents or your family, even though they are the closest people to us, and sometimes this can feel like the hardest thing to do. But our loved ones can often supply the unconditional love and support that we need to cheer ourselves up. Think carefully about what and how you are going to say something and be aware that sometimes talking to them can help, but sometimes it doesn’t, you have to make your own decision with this one.

10. Make an appointment to speak to a professional counsellor as there is nothing better than offloading all of your private and personal problems on to a professional. As they are not emotionally attached to your situation they will often make you see things in a way that you would not and thus can make you see your problems in a different light too.

Whatever you do, these activities are not the permanent solution to your problems, but the distraction can help temporarily. Sometimes we just need a little time to allow us to cope and whatever works is fine.

The way that you cope (or deal with things) can be "emotionally-based", perhaps by distracting yourself by creating an interest in going to the movies or out shopping. Or it could be "solution-based", where you are looking for the answers to your problems. For example, from a counselling session or by finding the needed piece of information on the Internet and by finding this answer you can create a solution-based method of coping.

Please don’t use alcohol or drugs to make yourself feel better as they are known to only work short-term and usually make you feel worse the next day. The underlying problem is still in there, but now you might feel even more depressed because you had ‘a little’ last night. So don’t go there, start taking back control of yourself. Book that counselling session and if you have a good friend, invite them for coffee and chat with them.

'A problem shared is a problem halved'

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