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Ways to Keep Negative Thoughts from Spinning Out of Control

You’ve probably heard this maxim before: thoughts are things. Even before “The Secret” and all the Law of Attraction books came about, the idea that what we think shapes our lives is already well-accepted. After all, from thoughts come attitudes, and from attitudes come dispositions and behavior. If you constantly think you’re nothing but a failure, then expect success to elude you like a plague.

If you want to live a happy and productive life, you have to think happy and productive!

Here are some tips you can use to keep downers from transforming you into a ball of anxiety:

List down all your bad scripts

Managing negative thoughts starts with first becoming aware of dialogue that constantly torments us.

Are you prone to making “should” statements (e.g. “I should be excellent all the time.” or “Everyone should love me.”)? Then perhaps it’s time to go easy on yourself. Are you given to emotional reasoning; that is, you take your feelings as facts? Then perhaps you need to be more conscientious in finding evidence to support your feelings. (After all, just because you suspect that your spouse is cheating on you doesn’t mean that he or she is!) Or maybe you have a habit of catastrophizing. A minor disaster comes and you think it’s the end of the world.

Figure out all the bad scripts playing in your mind. List them down on a piece of paper. Awareness of our negative thoughts is already winning 50% of the battle.

Practice thought stopping techniques

Once you’ve already identified the negative thoughts that often victimize you, it’s time to practice ways of nipping them in the bud. Employ some thought stopping techniques the moment you become aware that these thoughts are lounging in your head. Think of yourself as a bouncer making sure bad characters never get in!

What thought-stopping techniques can you use? Anything that can give you a sudden feeling of shock will help. For instance, persons with depression are advised to snap a rubber band on their wrists whenever they encounter thoughts that aggravate their depression. Smokers are advised to imagine a picture of burning lungs whenever they get thoughts related to cigarette craving. And those with anxiety disorders are advised to start jumping up and down and or reciting the constitution whenever they sense anxiety triggers coming on.

You’re not powerless against negative thoughts. You can literally snap out of it!

Debate with yourself

Lastly, you can keep negative thoughts from spinning out of control by actively changing them into positive thoughts. Debate with yourself! Argue the flip side of what you’re thinking. Think of more positive ways of framing and interpreting situation. The glass can be half-full or half-empty depending on how you look at it.

For example, every time you think “I can’t do this,” ask yourself: do I have evidence that I can’t do this? Where can I get evidence to the contrary? Every time you feel irritated at a loved one’s annoying habit, remember: that they can annoy you means they’re alive and healthy --- would you rather silence but your loved one is not there? You may even practice self-affirmation every morning. Telling yourself what a blessed fellow you are is always a good way to start the day right.

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