6 Ways to Overcome Negative Thoughts

6 Ways to Overcome Negative Thoughts

6 Ways To Overcome Negative Thoughts

Negative thoughts can affect not only happiness, but your overall well being. You could start your day off with positive intentions, but what about the moments when things don’t go your way? Don’t let negativity ruin your day and control your feelings. Here are six easy ways you can overcome negative thoughts:

Take a deep breath and ask yourself to stop

Self-awareness is a key component for breathing techniques to be successful. The moment you realize you’re thinking negatively, just imagine tapping yourself on the shoulder and telling yourself to take a deep breath and to stop the negativity. Once you’ve gathered your thoughts, refocus your attention on what’s at hand. Studies have shown that diaphragmatic breathing or deep breathing can be a non-pharmacological approach to emotional enhancement (Stromberg et al., 2015) this includes a reduction in anxiety, depression and stress (Brown and Gerbarg, 2005a,b; Anju et al., 2015). Performing diaphragmatic breathing can also lower your cortisol levels (stress hormone), which can decrease overall negative thoughts caused by day to day stressors. 

Analyze your negative thoughts

A lot of thoughts that play in your mind can sometimes be irrational especially when negativity is clouding your brain, it’s easy to overlook this as a fact. Instead of taking your negative thoughts at face value, try breaking it down and rationalizing your thoughts. In the Journal of Experimental Psychology General (JEP:General) (Vol. 130, No. 3), writing about negative events and thoughts reduced intrusive and avoidant thoughts in participants. This is said to free up our cognitive resources for other mental activities, which includes our ability to cope with stress more effectively (American Psychological Association September 2001, Vol 32, No. 8). Also, using a coping mechanism referred to as “reframing” makes one aware of their internal monologue, which can widen their perspective of difficult situations (Seaward, 2006).  Utilizing this coping mechanism can make individuals aware of their thoughts, evaluate, and challenge the negative thoughts by questioning their validity (Hughes, J. S., Gourley, M. K., Madson, L., & Blanc, K. L. 2011). 

Hughes, J. S., Gourley, M. K., Madson, L., & Blanc, K. L. (2011). Stress and coping activity. Teaching of Psychology, 38(1), 36–39. https://doi.org/10.1177/0098628310390852 

Talk it out with someone you trust

Sometimes you just need to get the heavy feelings and negativity off your chest. Talk it over with someone you are closest to and ask for their advice to see if they can offer better insight and give you some positive alternatives. Studies have shown that talking about our problems and negative emotions with someone we trust can be healing by reducing stress, strengthening our immune system, and reducing overall distress (Pennebaker, Kiecolt-Glaser, & Glaser, 1988).

Go for a quick run

Clearing your head from time to time is important. When you feel like your negative thoughts are consuming you, and your attempt to stop your negative thinking isn’t working, then it’s time to go out for a run or get in a quick workout. Activity will occupy your mind and give you time to rationalize your thoughts. Studies written in the International Journal of Midlife Health and Beyond states that aerobic exercise can contribute to mood enhancement by increasing temperature to the brain stem promoting relaxation, releasing endorphins, and enhancing mitochondrial biogenesis to increase neural plasticity. Increased neuroplasticity of the brain allows it to respond to stress in a better way. The general outcome from this research indicates that exercise can have an effect on many physiological changes resulting in an overall improvement in mood, self-esteem, and decrease stress and anxiety levels. (Mikkelsen et al., 2017)

Think about the things you’re thankful for

Practicing gratitude can be a vital part of overcoming your negative thinking.  Gratitude journaling for example, can redirect your negative thoughts by focusing on aspects of your life you are grateful for. When you have days full of negativity, refer to your list as a reminder to yourself why you’re fortunate. Use this as motivation to overcome setbacks and excel towards accomplishing your goals. Studies have shown that gratitude journaling has increased levels of well being in individuals improving interpersonal relationships and positive affect (Emmons & McCullough, 2003; Watkins et al., 2003).

Make someone smile

One of the best ways to free your mind from negative thoughts is by giving a bit of your time and attention to someone else. Do something nice for a family member or a friend or even a random stranger on the street. Make it a daily goal to make someone smile or happy, and you may find many of those negative thoughts start to fade away.


Another aspect that is sure to help with negativity is fostering a sense of belonging. Many studies suggest that a strong sense of belonging allows us to better manage stress and other behavioral issues. When we feel we are supported and not alone, we are more resilient and more effective at coping during difficult times in our lives. Our group training classes provide one hour out of the day where you can drop your thoughts at the door, get into your body and get moving with a group of people chasing after the same goal: to improve their fitness and live BIG. Ready to try it out for yourself? Click the link below for your free 7 Day Trial.

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