Do you want to get rid of negative thinking? Honestly, who doesn’t, right? We all want to throw away the bad thinking that makes us feel inferior. We all want to feel great and accomplish great things in life. Well, this is exactly what you’re going to learn in this article.
You can’t live a successful life if you keep thinking negatively. There is also a similar quote:
“You can’t litter negativity everywhere and then wonder why you’ve got such a trashy life.”
Therefore, if you want to live a good life, a successful life, and a more fulfilling life, you need to start with changing your thinking.
Particularly, you want to throw away negative thinking and change it with positive thinking.
When the way you think changes, so will your action, and ultimately, your life will change too.
Negative Thinking is Normal
The first thing you need to understand about negative thinking is that is normal. Every one of us tends to think negatively. It is a normal phenomenon.
The only problem is that when you think negatively, and you don’t do anything about it. You allow your negative thoughts to accumulate and affect your life.
Successful people encounter the same situation too. There are times they face difficulties and want to think negative about the circumstances. But luckily, they don’t dwell on the destructive thoughts.
Instead, successful people understand how to manage their mindset. They know what they need to do when the negative thoughts come. They understand that thinking negatively isn’t going to help the situation at all, hence, they are aware.
And when they are aware that they are thinking negatively, they do something to make a change.
So, are you ready to learn the techniques of how you can get rid of negative thinking from your life? Here are the 7 ways how you can do so…
1. Be Aware of the Negative Thoughts
First thing first, you need to be aware of the negativity before you can get rid of it. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t aware that there is a problem, right?
Imagine if you are sailing in a boat that is leaking. But if you don’t know the boat is leaking, you will never go and fix it. Until a time when the boat is overflowing with water, only then you discover that the boat is leaking and sinking quick.
And usually, by that time, things will be too late. You will have to abandon the boat and find other ways to survive in the ocean.
This is why being aware of your thinking is important. You want to know how you think and how you feel.
So that when the negative thoughts started to invade your mind, you will notice it immediately and take action to prevent them from further invading your peace.
I don’t want to leave you dangling and have no idea what to do even after reading this article. And that is why I have included some practical action steps you can take to help you overcome your negative thinking mentality.
So, how do you be aware of your thinking? On average, it is estimated that we process about 70,000 thoughts in a day.
That’s a lot, isn’t it? So, how can you be more aware of your thoughts and know if they are helping in a positive way or the negative way?
First, you have to separate yourself from your thoughts. And then pay attention to your thinking and feelings. You don’t have to take your thoughts too seriously. And then, try to have a conversation with yourself.
Here’s a great article you should read:
Use the experiment mentioned in the article above to create a conversation with yourself so that you will find out if a thought is positive or negative.
2. Don’t Dwell or Exaggerate
Once you are aware of your own thinking, the next thing you want to do is to NOT dwell on the negative thinking.
You definitely don’t want to keep yourself thinking negatively.
You know what, in fact, it is okay if you think negatively for a second, and then you go and do something else and forget about it.
The real disaster comes when you think negatively and continue to dwell on it. You let the cycle continues and trust me, it will destroy your life.
Just like how Tony Robbins explained it:
“People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulling prophecy.”
Success is a cycle. When you think positive, you feel good, you take action, you produce some small victories, and you build up the confidence.
When you are confident, you feel even better, you take more action, and you produce even more wins. And the cycle continues on.
So now, imagine what will happen if you think negatively and dwell on it.
For instance, you think negatively, you feel bad, you blame yourself and others, you complain, you don’t do take action, and then things get worse.
And when things become worse, you feel inferior, you feel like you don’t have the luck or you’re destined to be a failure, and eventually, you don’t bother about solving the problem or make things right.
You then become low confident and so negative that you will reject every solution or idea that comes to you. You will live in mediocrity.
This is why you don’t want to dwell on negative thoughts.
The moment you find out that you are thinking negatively, you want to quickly stop the cycle and get rid of the bad thought.
Stop exaggerating or dwelling on your negative thoughts. You don’t want to continue to think negatively. The key is to keep yourself aware of your thinking.
Whenever you find yourself thinking negatively, shout “Cancel” out loud. Yes, you may sound crazy if you are a quiet room and there are people there. But it is much better to stop your thinking than right away. And who knows you may humor others in the room.
Or if this technique doesn’t sound too powerful to you, try out the what I called ‘The Rock Motivation’ technique. Here’s a quote from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson:
“When life puts you in a tough situation, don’t say, “Why me”, just say “Try me”.”
Yes, replace “Cancel” with the word “Try me”.
If you need more help, read my previous article below:
3. Distract the Negative Thinking Cycle
This is a powerful technique to get rid of negative thinking. All you need to do is to distract yourself. Think about something else. Or go and do something else so that you will forget about it. And the moment you get back to it, the negative thoughts may have lost their effectiveness on dragging you down.
For example, every time when I feel inferior or that I feel that I’m not good enough at being a blogger, I will distract myself by doing something else.
I will listen to my favorite songs. Go to a local café, get a cup of my favorite mocha, and then read or work there.
Whenever I don’t feel good or that I’m thinking negatively, I will do something else like reading a book. Or watch a funny video on YouTube. Hey, feeling good is better than thinking negatively, right?
What about you? I bet you have tried this method before. Regardless of what are the things you do to distract yourself, stopping yourself from dwelling on negative thoughts is a great way to get rid of the bad thinking cycle.
Whenever you caught yourself thinking negatively, go and do something else. Exercise, go for a walk, sing a song, take a bath, play games for 30 minutes, read a book, etc.
The key is to get stop yourself from thinking in the negative cycle. You want to get rid of the negativity as soon as possible. Here’s a good article from BornRealist.com:
4. Replace the Bad Thinking with Good Ones
Another strategy you can use to prevent yourself from thinking negatively is to replace the negative thoughts with a good one.
Changing your thinking from negative to positive requires a few steps. First, you need to be aware of your negative thinking. As I mentioned above, knowing that you are thinking negatively is the first step in combating them.
Once you are aware that you are thinking negatively, the second step is to come up with a new positive thought to replace it.
For instance, when you think that you are going to fail at your business or a project, replace the thought by thinking on the bright side. Below are some examples…
- “I still have time. I can still do it.”
- “Is there any other solution? Perhaps I should check with John who has done it before.”
- “I will never give up no matter how tough the situation gets.”
- “Well, even if I fail, I get to learn something new. I will gain experience.”
- “Screw it, just do it.”
You want to keep repeating the positive thoughts until they fully replace the negative thoughts in your head.
Practice makes permanent. And with this technique, you are deliberately practice thinking positive. How powerful is that?
Here’s a powerful method of how you can remove your negative thinking and replace it with the positive ones – practice affirmations.
Yes, affirmations are like pep-talk. You see that professional athletes talk to themselves before the game begins to inspire and motivate themselves. Basketball players gather around and shout out loud to heighten their moods.
You can do the same through affirmations. Just one problem though, most people fail at affirmations. But don’t worry, I have got you covered.
I have written an article about positive affirmations and how you can make them work effectively for you. Check it out below:
And by the way, if you think that practicing affirmations is a great way to inspire yourself and prevent yourself from thinking negatively, but you have no idea what kind of affirmations to use, check out this list.
5. Focus on the Positive
I know this sounds easy. But you have to keep trying and keep practicing until you become a positive thinker.
No matter how difficult a situation, there is always something positive to look into. And that is the kind of mentality you want to develop.
Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day. And you just need to focus on the good.
The key is to focus on the good. You have to find a reason for you to feel good.
For instance, you are going to meet a client for a presentation, but out of a sudden, it rains. Well, you can think negatively and say something like it will be congested or your client may not show up, or you can think positively and say that this will be the best opportunity to show your client your sincerity and commitment.
When Richard Branson was stranded in Puerto Rico airport because his flight to Virgin Island was canceled, he didn’t think negative. Branson focused on the positive and discovered that he could charter an airplane and sell the tickets to other passengers who also stuck there.
Guess what, Sir Richard Branson did that. He chartered an airplane, borrowed a blackboard and wrote down, “Virgin Airlines, $39 one way to BVI”. And the tickets were fully sold.
That was how Branson started Virgin Airlines. You can read about the story from his blog here.
Therefore, focus on the positive. That’s the prerequisite to success.
I like how Grant Cardone puts it:
“You can’t get rich thinking poorly.”
Similarly, you can’t become successful if all you do is thinking negatively.
Reframe the situation. When it rains, tell yourself that there will be rainbows after the rain. When you fail at something, tell yourself that you didn’t fail, you only get wiser through experience.
And that was what Thomas Edison did. He failed thousands of times in his experiments to invent the electric light bulb. But when he was asked about it, he said that he didn’t fail, instead, he discovered thousands of ways that didn’t work.
The more you practice reframing the situation and look for the positive, the more it becomes a habit and the more positive you will be.
Want to learn more about how you can reframe a negative situation into a positive one? Read this guide below:
6. Change Your Environment
I always do this. Every time when I lack motivation or whenever I feel negative, I will just change my environment. And one of the most common things I do is to switch my work environment.
As a blogger, I work from home and also from a co-working space. And whenever I feel tired, no motivation, or when I start to think negatively, I will change my workstation.
As I told above, I will pick up my laptop and go and work in a nearby café. By the way, I’m writing this article in a coffee house too. I have just finished my mocha. 🙂
Well, you may not have the mobility to work anywhere you want, but you can definitely change your environment to change your mood and feelings.
You don’t change your office like me, perhaps, you can work on another table. Or maybe you can just do another task first that requires you to do something different.
Our environment and the surroundings that we’re in play an important role in shaping our lives. If you are in a negative environment, it is difficult to break free and move forward.
Do you know that the people you mix around with can affect the way you think, act, and spend too?
Here’s an obvious example. When all your friends spend on luxury items and buy expensive things to look good, you will be affected too. You will want to join them and spend on luxury items because you don’t want to “lose out”. This is also known as lifestyle creep.
You will fall into the trap and keep spending rather than saving. And this is how your environment can change you.
In one of my articles, I explained how your environment can affect your thinking and the way you make decisions. Therefore, you have to learn to redesign your environment so that you are setting yourself up to success.
Imagine your goal is to write a book. Can you write a book in a wet market where there are a lot of people and very noisy? You can’t, right?
In order to focus on writing your book, you will need to find the right environment where it is quiet and helpful to you.
The same in getting rid of negative thinking. If your company culture is negative, you will never be successful.
And when you get away from the negative environment, things will change.
There are many ways how you can change your surroundings and design your environment to stop yourself from thinking negatively. When you are in a positive environment, you can achieve and accomplish more.
Read these articles below to learn how you can build a positive and supporting environment:
- How Your Environment Affect You and Your Success in Life
- 10 Tips How to Change Your Environment for Greater Motivation
- 10 Tips How to Build a Positive Work Environment for Solopreneur
7. Practice Being Grateful
When you are grateful, you will never feel or think negative. This is one of the easiest ways to get rid of bad thoughts in your head.
Whenever you start to think or feel negative, ask yourself how you can be grateful, and you will be amazed at how quickly the negative thoughts will change into positives.
For example, when you think negative and say that your boss is a jerk who doesn’t care about you, ask yourself what you can be grateful for having a boss like him.
Well, at first, it will be really hard. But try, really try. If you need to, get a pen and paper and write down your answer.
You may come up with things such as “I’m lucky to have a tough boss like him so that I can grow”, or “I grateful to have a difficult boss so that I can gain more experience and grow myself to the next level.”
I know, it is not easy. But practice being grateful is one of the most powerful ways how you can overcome negative thoughts.
In an interview, Tony Robbins asked Sir John Templeton what the secret to wealth was. Sir Templeton was an investment pioneer who turned $10,000 into billions during the World War II era.
Guess what was the answer? Gratitude. Here was what Sir Templeton said…
“Because if you have a billion dollars, and every day you live pissed off and frustrated, the quality of your life is called pissed off and frustrated. But if you have next to nothing, and are grateful for whatever it is you have, you’re the richest person that you’re going to know. It doesn’t matter how much money you’ve got if you don’t have gratitude.”
You can read this story from this article on BusinessInsider.
When you are grateful, you will never be negative.
Practice feeling grateful every day. Being grateful is a powerful emotion. Gratitude can make you feel fulfilled and change your life in many positive ways.
So, how do you practice being grateful? Here are a couple of ways:
- Keep a gratitude journal and write down things you are grateful for each day.
- Show your appreciation and tell people that you love them.
- Simply smile more and say “Thank you” more often.
- Volunteer your time and help those who are in need.
- Reward yourself for your own hard work and effort.
Celebrate your wins because the more you celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.
Check out this article from Lifehack for a list of 40 simple ways to practice gratitude.