5 Healthy Ways to Deal With Negative Thoughts [with Practical Examples]

How to Overcome Negative Thinking

by Olasubomi Samuel Kolawole
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Negative thoughts

Negative thoughts hinder us from achieving our dreams or living the life that we desire. They produce mental health challenges like self-doubt, fear, anxiety, depression and even suicide. Despite knowing how these thoughts affect us emotionally, physically, and financially, we find it difficult to rise above them and get easily scared of them. 

Here’s the good news! In this post, I have highlighted 5 effective methods anyone can apply to deal with negative thoughts. That way, you can find new love, speak confidently in public, secure that post, attend that pool party, and do much more than you could ever imagine. 

5 Effective Methods to Manage Negative Thoughts [with Practical Examples]

Controlling negative thinking may seem Utopian, but the truth is that you have the power to deal with it. If you are intentional about breaking free from this “mind disease,” these five proven methods will surely help you out: 

  1. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

This is a popular therapy used to challenge Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) – bad thoughts that already pitch their tent in the subconscious mind of an individual. If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, and severe self-doubt, then you have automated negative thoughts. 

These thoughts have clouded your mind and have now become your reality. So, how you can live your normal life is to bulldoze these thoughts from your subconscious mind. That’s where Cognitive Behavioural Therapy comes in to help you deal with negative thoughts. 

When I was struggling with extreme social anxiety, Dr Opubo, an experienced clinical psychologist at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, prompted me to get a notepad and be intentional about writing every bad thought that sprang up in my mind, then question it. 

For instance, if the following thought creeps into my mind: “I don’t think I am good enough…”  Then I would pen it down and question it this way: 

“Why do you think you are not good enough? Is it because you think others appear more qualified than you? Well, they are not except you agree they are. Since you don’t want to accept that, then know that you are just as qualified as they are. So submit that proposal and expect a positive response. If it turns out bad, it doesn’t mean you are a failure. It simply means you should learn from your mistakes and prepare better for the next opportunity that comes your way.”

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  1. Visualize your thoughts as floating objects

Assume you are heading home after work. Then, suddenly the wind begins to blow. Do you stand erect there focusing on the balloon, the nylons, and the waste that flies around in the air? No, you simply don’t, and why is that? You know that’s a waste of time. 

Trying to even stay can make the specks of dust block your sight. Imagine your negative thoughts as those objects flying in the sky, moving towards any direction the wind blows them to. By viewing them that way, they won’t distract or capture your attention such that you now focus on them. 

For instance, consider thoughts like: “I am not good enough,” and “Can I do this?” as objects flowing in the sky and that they shouldn’t stop you from taking that position, giving that presentation, asking your boss for a salary raise, or applying for that job.

Read also: 8 Bad Habits to Avoid for Sound Mental Health

  1. Share your thoughts with someone

When I was battling with extreme social anxiety and couldn’t control my negative thoughts, I sought the help of a mental health therapist. By revealing how these thoughts were affecting me academically, I felt relieved that I was about to share the burdens in my mind with another person. 

The therapist engaged me in several therapy sessions that changed the negative reality I have about people and the world. Now, my anxiety has reduced, and I can now, to some extent, relate with people. What lessons can you derive from here? 

Whenever you have negative thoughts that make you feel anxious, simply discuss your situation with a friend or therapist. By doing so, they will be able to question or challenge your thoughts and even act as a backup as you engage in that activity. 

Read also: How to Cultivate a Positive Mindset: Strategies for Nigerians

  1. Act deaf

It doesn’t matter whether you are an actor or not, simply get on that stage and act deaf. Just kidding anyway. Even though you might still have to wear that character after reading this post. Here’s how it works: anytime bad thoughts pop up in your mind, act like you don’t hear. 

For instance, this thought springs up in your heart: “You may not be hired so there’s no need to write that application letter,” just nod your head as in “OK.”, Then, without a second thought, get your phone, write the letter and go submit it. 

Read also: Effective Communication Strategies for Teenagers and Young Adults

  1. Do something that you love

Engaging yourself in an activity that you love is another method to manage your negative thoughts. As a music lover, anytime I am having any bad thoughts, I grab my small MP3, turn it on, and begin to listen to songs that light up my mood. 

As I listen, I will begin to smile alone, imagining myself doing positive things, like speaking confidently on stage and being applauded; being a wealthy philanthropist that gives back to society, and a lot more. Yours might not be music, but another activity that you love or makes you happy. Engage in it when any bad thought slides into your mind and watch it vanish. 

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Negative thoughts are parts of our lives. There will always be situations that will birth these thoughts. However, to live the life that makes us happy and fulfilled, we don’t want to permit these pessimistic thoughts. 

To guard your heart, I have shared five proven methods to deal with negative thinking. By implementing them, you can still pursue your dreams, find love again, attend a social event, and secure that position in your company. 

If this content has impacted you immensely, you can share it with a friend who needs it too. Let’s contribute to making the world a better place. Thanks for reading through! 

Edited by Priscilla Ajayi.

About Author

Olasubomi Samuel
Olasubomi Samuel Kolawole
Olasubomi Samuel is an SEO content writer and a direct-response copywriter.

As the former, he has created several in-depth, engaging blog posts ranking on the first page of Google, in niches such as self-development, digital marketing, e-commerce, and freelancing.

As the latter, he helps online coaches, course creators, and self-development brands generate maximum ROI by using his proven A.O.C strategy.

When he is not writing, he is seen listening to Christian messages or cracking jokes to make his friends laugh.

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