how to stop negative thoughts

How to Stop Negative Thoughts from Taking Over Your Life

Are negative thoughts controlling your life? Do you know how to stop negative thoughts from spiraling out of control? As providers of counseling services in Tucson, AZ, our team at In Balance Counseling will hear your struggles and help you find new ways to gain control. 

Call 520-722-9631 to set up an appointment for individual counseling. Then, continue reading to learn better ways to cope with negative thought patterns.  

#1 Name the Thoughts

First, take a moment to find a quiet space to reflect. Sometimes, the hustle of your daily routine can get in the way of your mental health. But your health is important, and you deserve the time and space to reconnect with yourself and change negative thinking.

Then, identify the thoughts by giving them names, which can be particularly helpful for individuals dealing with different kinds of anxiety. Some examples of appropriate labels include:

  • Catastrophizing: “If I can’t complete this task perfectly, my manager will fire me.”
  • Negative labeling: “I am the worst at writing emails.”
  • Blaming: “She didn’t talk to me. She must hate me. She makes me feel bad.”

#2 Replace the Thoughts

Once you’ve labeled the thoughts, try to understand what they’re actually telling you. Use the catastrophizing thought as an example. You think the worst-case scenario will certainly take place. Yet, it hasn’t happened, and what actually takes place might differ completely.

The following examples demonstrate how you can have a negative thought and transform it into something more positive or balanced:

  • Replace “If I can’t complete this task perfectly, my manager will fire me.” with “I may feel disappointed if I can’t complete this task perfectly. But I do not know how or whether my manager will react.”
  • Replace “I am the worst at writing emails.” with “I will work on my email writing skills to improve them.”
  •  Replace “She didn’t talk to me. She must hate me. She makes me feel bad.” with “She didn’t talk to me. Perhaps she’s busy. I’ll catch up with her later.”

#3 Affirm Yourself

Learning how to stop negative thoughts requires self-affirmation. After replacing each thought with a new, more balanced thought, follow up with an affirmation. If loved ones approached you with the same thoughts about themselves, how would you respond? 

You would reaffirm their value to your life and the rest of the world. Practice doing something similar for yourself. 

#5 Reflect and Track Your Thought Patterns

As you practice this pattern of mindfulness, try to track your thought process in a journal. You can use the following tracking template.

  1. Original negative thought
  2. Thought label
  3. Thought replacement
  4. Affirmation

You might notice that your thoughts slowly begin shifting away from the old thought patterns that controlled your life and happiness. 

Learn How to Stop Negative Thoughts with Resources from In Balance Counseling

Discovering how to stop negative thoughts can help you cope with negative experiences in a more productive manner. At In Balance Counseling, we offer therapy for anxiety, depression, and other issues that cause destructive thought patterns.

Call 520-722-9631 to find mental health resources that fit your needs today. 

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