We all feel down from time to time. It’s natural. But the key is to keep negative thoughts from having a lasting effect, and instead replace them with more reasonable, positive thoughts. The key is to reframe your thinking and detach your negative thoughts from your self-identity.
Steps to Replace Negative Thoughts
Everyone can feel negative once in a while, but the most successful people take control of their negative thoughts and stop them in their tracks. You can do this in the following ways:
- Be self-aware. When you’re feeling down, learn to recognize your negative thoughts. How are they affecting your emotions or behaviors? Identify the negative thoughts you’re having and how they’re making you feel. The most common types of negative thoughts are:
- Assuming how events will turn out (i.e., jumping to conclusions)
- Expecting the worst possible outcome
- Applying what happened in a past experience to your current experience
- Labeling yourself in a negative way (e.g., bad at spelling, a slow reader)
- Assuming something is true based on your emotional response to it (e.g., I feel anxious because I’m in danger)
- Taking things personally and blaming yourself
- Separate the thought from your identity. Realize the negative thought is just an emotion—it’s not you. Separating your thought from your true self is the first step in turning it around.
- Reframe the negative thought. Now it’s time to apply your logic and reasoning to the thought you’re having. Ask yourself a few questions about it:
- Is the thought realistic?
- If a similar outcome has happened before, are you on the same course that lead to this outcome?
- Is there another explanation for what you think is happening?
- What would you gain vs lose if you continue to believe the thought?
- Is the thought actually the result of one of the most common types of negative thoughts?
- What would you tell a friend that found themselves thinking the same thing?
- Have compassion for yourself. Replace the thought with something more reasonable and more positive. Be compassionate with yourself just as you would with a friend or loved one.
Are Your Negative Thoughts Related to Your Job?
Sometimes, they can be the result of too much stress, possibly job-related. If you are finding your job is making you frequently unhappy, it may be time for something new. And Happy Faces can help. To learn more about our job openings, visit our job search page.