Remove Negative Thoughts with These Five Steps
Don’t allow negativity to impede personal development
by Joanne Troppello
Negativity can consume your life and impede your personal development and emotional maturity. Sure, we all have times where we experience negative thoughts—some more than others. However, they can weigh us down and cause us to stagnant in insecurity, unproductivity, and decreased emotional growth.
With COVID-19 and the social unrest, experiencing negative thoughts can happen more often. We don’t know when this coronavirus will end. Many people have lost jobs or lost hours. People are dying from this virus. Right now, there is a lot to be negative about.
I am not a negative person by nature and choose to try to find the silver lining in every situation in my life. However, my faith in God gets me through and I have faith that we as a human race will come through on the other side of this pandemic—hopefully stronger and less divided.
Decrease negativity in your life
There are several strategies that you can implement today to effectively start removing negative thoughts from your mind.
1. Keep Moving
This step can be difficult right now, with most of us stuck at home. However, you can go for a walk around your neighborhood or go outside and get fresh air. If you don’t have the option to go outside, exercise inside.
Just get in motion to stimulate blood flow in your body to get more oxygen to your brain. This will be effective in increasing mental capacity and performance. When you exercise, endorphins are released and that will improve your mood and increase energy—two things that can help you remove negative thoughts.
2. Move to Another Room
Again, when living in quarantine life, it can be more difficult to change your environment and move to a new area. However, simply getting up from the recliner and going to sit outside on your deck or walking to another room to start a new task can change your focus.
For those who are working at home, make sure that you have a designated office area where you can leave at the end of the work day. If you are laid off and have applied for unemployment benefits, you are likely experiencing some negative thoughts.
Make sure you start the day by opening the shades to let light in—so you can see outside and improve your perspective. According to researchers at the University of Minnesota, the environment you find yourself in each day can influence your mood. Make positive changes to your environment to improve your focus and perspective.
3. Think Positively
This can be more difficult when you’re already overwhelmed with negative thoughts. However, Candice Pert is a neuroscientist who said:
“What you are thinking at any moment is changing your biochemistry.”
When I read those words, they impacted me in a powerful way. My thoughts have physical power over my body. That resonated with me. Hopefully, Dr. Pert’s statement will impact you as well.
Don’t allow negative thoughts to control your overall health and well-being. Think positively to start to overcome those negative thoughts that are living rent free in your head.
Positive thinking won’t come easily when you are inundated with negative thoughts. You’ll have to work hard at changing your perspective. I like to write out motivational statements and Bible verses on notecards and sticky notes and leave them by my work area. They can be powerful reminders to help me take charge of my focus and think positive thoughts.
4. Express yourself
Mental Health America posted some helpful information on their website about changing your perspective and how to Deal Better with Hard Times.
“How you think about a problem affects both how much it upsets you and how well you tackle it.”
The simple takeaway is that the way you think dictates the way you behave and whether or not you’ll be more or less successful in life. Shift your tendency from focusing on negative thoughts toward focusing on positive thoughts.
You can share how you feel with a trusted friend or family member. Maybe your spouse or significant other is your confidante. Maybe not. During quarantine life, we are restricted with whom we can interact in person. However, take advantage of the various other ways to confide in that trusted person by phone, text, email, or video chat apps like FaceTime or Duo.
Again, if your negativity level is extremely high, it is important to seek out professional help from a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist.
5. Keep a journal
In a Psych Central article, psychologist, James Pennebaker advised that consistent journaling is effective in augmenting your immune system, particularly the cells called T-lymphocytes.
When you journal, that can augment your thought process and help you refocus your perspective and remove negative thoughts. Set aside time each day or at least a few times a week to journal. If your negative thoughts are overpowering, turn to your journal to vent. Try to focus on things you are thankful for so your mindset shifts to the positive.
You can overcome the negativity
Don’t allow negativity to overpower your personal development. Keep in motion. Change your environment when necessary. Think positively. Find positive ways to express your negative thoughts and emotions. Start journaling. You can overcome the negativity when you implement these five steps in your daily life.
Previously published on Medium.
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel.