Managing your negative thoughts is no simple feat. Our brains are wired to look for threat and possibly negative encounters/outcomes (this is how we have survived and evolved in the world). It's especially difficult when struggling with depression, anxiety, or other challenges. We can rewire our brains, so those negative thoughts no longer have as much power over our health, relationships and lives.
Psychotherapy can help you figure out how to manage your thoughts and feelings, but everyone requires a different approach depending on their symptoms and triggers.
Here are some helpful tips for managing your negative thoughts and preventing them from taking control of your life:
Identify thought distortions
Our minds can create cognitive distortions to convince us of something that isn’t true. These distortions often lead to negative thoughts. If you can identify them, you can try to challenge them. Here are the most common distortions:
Challenging negative thoughts
Whenever you have cognitive distortions, stop and analyze whether they are correct. Consider how you would react if a friend said something similar about his or herself. You would probably correct them and provide evidence to support your view, right? Apply the same logic to yourself and ask if there are other possible outcomes for the distortions.
Schedule worry time and then take a break from the negative thoughts
It’s not easy to separate yourself from negative thoughts when they stem from anxiety or depression. Instead, schedule some time (10 minutes a day) where you are allowed to entertain those negative thoughts/ worries. Giving yourself that permission can feel like you are containing the thoughts and worries and therefore you are having control over them.
Breaking negative thought patterns can be hard but with conscious effort, you can stop them from taking a toll on your life and the people around you.
If you are having negative thoughts, whether they are caused by depression or anxiety, I can help you. I help people move forward with psychotherapy, including effective anxiety therapy in Washington State and for many other mental conditions. Get in touch today.