How to break free from negative thoughts
How negative thoughts increase anxiety
Negative thinking is big block to recovery from anxiety. It can make any positive change seem pointless. You can’t see value in the vital small steps, and you feel too overwhelmed to take big steps, so you feel stuck.
Examples of negative thoughts
What if thoughts:
- what if I’m never free of anxiety
- what if I’m going crazy
- what if my friends think I’m being dramatic
Hope squashing thoughts:
- This always happens to me
- It might work for other people but this won’t help me
- That’s too simple my anxiety is different
- Every day is awful and it’s not going to get any better
Dwelling on how we feel We have talked about this before when we discussed mindfulness and the two arrows.
- when we expect things to go wrong
- or we fear the worst
Coping methods that help banish negative thoughts
1. Write your thoughts down
Why it helps: it gets the thoughts out of your head. Externalising negative thoughts gives you a chance to express them clearly, instead of letting them seep into your thinking where they make you feel bad and you might not know why.
Once you’ve written your thoughts down you can:
Talk them through with a friend for some supportive feedback
Use EFT Tapping to diffuse them
Look them over and question them - are they really true? Is there anything you can do about them?
Writing your thoughts down helps you put them into perspective
2. Set up thought check points during your day You can use a timer or an action to check in with your thoughts. The idea is to catch yourself at different times and notice what you are thinking.
To use a timer - set an interval for example every hour and when the timer goes off stop and write down what you are thinking.
If you want to use actions you can check what goes through your head in the showers, when washing dishes, when eating etc.
Thought logging shows us where we can do better. It reveals our unconscious concerns and inner struggles. Once we uncover our thoughts we have a chance to do something about them.
When you make a little progress log it and allow yourself some self-appreciation. Every little change in your thinking helps.
Always look for areas you can change, things you can improve
- that’s where your power is.
For more ideas on how to break free from negative thoughts - please listen to the full podcast here: