Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could press pause when our mind is racing and jumping to all sorts of unpleasant conclusions?
Stopping negative thoughts in their tracks does not need to be that difficult.
I’d like to share four simple techniques that helped me to stop negative thinking. They can be used at almost any time. Not only will they help us to dissipate the negative thoughts, but they will also help us to slow down and clear our minds.
Here are four simple but profound ways to increase our well-being:
1. Becoming aware of our bodies.
Our mind could be in a million places at once, but our body is always in the present moment. However, we go through our days but rarely pay any attention to how we are feeling in our bodies because our thoughts and external environment tend to consume most of our attention—we are literally stuck in our heads.
To bring back awareness to your body, withdraw your attention from the external world, and shift your thoughts and focus toward how your body is feeling in the present moment.
Bring your attention to your legs and hands and feel the weight of your body resting on the chair if you are sitting down—feel free to close your eyes, if necessary.
Walking meditation is another way to bring ourselves into the present moment and snap out of thinking. We simply need to focus all our attention on how the soles of our feet feel as we take each step.
Doing these simple exercises for a few minutes will help us interrupt and stop the momentum of negative thoughts in our minds, which will help us to feel more grounded.
2. Writing down our thoughts in a journal.
Journaling is something that helps me to slow down and gather myself when I find my thoughts running all over the place.
When it comes to journaling, all we need to do is to grab a notebook and write all the thoughts that are bothering us or unload everything that is on our mind onto paper.
I find that when I write my thoughts down on paper, they seem to have less power and feel less intimidating than when they were solely present in my mind. Doing this helps me clear up my mind and regain my ability to focus.
3. Shifting our focus toward what we are grateful for.
When we catch ourselves worrying and gravitating toward negative thoughts, a simple way to shift our thinking is to pause and ponder on the question:
What are the things that I am thankful for today/this week/this month?
It could be anything from our family, friends, music, good food, or simple conveniences that make our lives more pleasant, which we might usually take for granted.
The more we focus our attention on what we are grateful for, the less we will find ourselves slipping into negative thinking.
4. Listening to music that makes us feel good.
I find music to be one of the easiest ways to lift my mood.
I could be having a bad day, but all it takes for me can be hearing an old familiar song that I love. Doing that reminds me to stop being so serious, and instead, inspires me to think how good life can be when we let it.
Consciously making an effort to pay complete attention to the music can help calm our minds and stop us from slipping into negative thinking.
Having a playlist of songs ready to turn to when we are feeling down can come in handy in times of crisis.
These techniques can be effective because they help to bring us into the present moment. Ultimately, the key to snapping out of negative thinking lies in taking charge of our attention and preventing our mind from wandering off into autopilot.
The next time you find your mind going on one of those negative rants, try out these techniques and see what happens.