Strategies for Managing and Overcoming Negative Thoughts

negative thoughts

Scientists have estimated that 40 to 60 thousand thoughts rush through our heads every day. Some of them have a negative connotation. And this is completely normal. However, sometimes negative thoughts do not give us any peace at all. According to researchers, 85% of problematic situations that cause us to lose sleep will eventually have a neutral or positive outcome. Even if our worst fears come true, 80% of us will cope with it much better than we imagined before.

Negative thoughts are not something special, they are present in the minds of all people. But sometimes it turns into a kind of “mental gum”: we go over and over in our thoughts the same negative scenario with a disastrous outcome. Scientists call this phenomenon rumination. Rumination leads to a feeling of hopelessness in life, the emergence of anxiety, and depression.

Handling Negative Thoughts: Finding Alternative Perspectives

Don’t focus on just one negative reason for what happened. Come up with a few more options. This may take some time. Don’t back down. Consciously do it. For example, your boss yelled at you or you were not hired.  The initial thought was, “I deserve this,” or, “I don’t deserve any better.” Keep going, don’t halt.

negative thoughts

The first reason is already in the piggy bank. Moving on. Perhaps the boss is simply having a rough day. Another reason? – please: he just doesn’t understand anything about your work. Or very tough competition. Come up with three or four different reasons that could lead to what happened. Henry Ford used to say in such cases that “a negative result is good. Because there is a second chance to do the same better.”

Let’s take another example. Someone’s phone hasn’t answered for two days now, and you don’t know what to think. The worst assumptions are running around in my head. However, the fact that the phone does not answer, in itself does not mean anything bad. We are thinking about the second reason: maybe the person you are calling is going through the honeymoon of his life! Or I just lost my phone (aha! – that’s the third reason). And you were just unlucky to get through.

This is the concept: “unlucky” is the key. It is very important to perceive the situation not as a catastrophe, but simply as bad luck. Which, in fact, it is. Just bad luck. Wrong time. Wrong place. The wrong person. And there is nothing personal or permanent about this bad luck.

Boosting Positivity: Strategies to Counter Negative Thoughts

Try “defensive pessimism” You can come up with the worst possible scenario. And if you think through really working strategies to overcome it, you will cope with anxiety. Learn to resist negative thoughts about yourself

be happy

“What an idiot!!!”, “Well, you’re a fool!!!” – these thoughts sound like this. Learn to pay attention to them and recognize them. Now imagine that it is not you who are talking, but someone else. Ask yourself: can a person who cares about you tell you this? Try at the moment when you are angry and scolding yourself with the last words, to imagine what your best friend would say to you in this situation. Or how would he protect you on your behalf: “Oh, come on. It happens to everyone.”

By being attentive to how and what we think, we become much more positive. Look at the evidence of your negative statements Do these thoughts truly make sense, such as “I failed because I’m inadequate” or “She didn’t call because she’s with someone else”? “, etc.)? Defend a positive point of view with the help of a good old mantra: “Everything will pass. And that too.”

By the way, master the following meditative technique: concentrate on the current moment (“I’m at home. Today is Sunday, October 28th, half past seven in the evening. Here are my books, here is my cat, I’m sitting on the couch and I feel this and that”). Slowly consider the current moment in all the details that you can see, realize, and remember. Take a few slow deep breaths.

Positive Actions to Counter Negativity and Foster Optimism

What is in front of you and what you want to achieve (for example, learn French or go to university). Take steps to move towards achieving this goal. Use the “CHUPSS” rule. Pay attention to the negative feelings that give rise to pessimism inside you. Track your negative beliefs and note for yourself the consequences to which they lead. Question these beliefs and notice how much they bring sunshine and positivity into your life.

Lend a helping hand. Help someone. This will distract your thoughts from problems and increase your self-esteem. Try to find the benefit in the negative experience. People who are engaged in such a “search for benefits” have fewer thoughts that destroy them, less negativity, and they see more meaning in their lives. Optimists tend to simply ignore the negative – unlike pessimists, they simply make a conscious choice not to believe bad news. However, they use this strategy wisely.

Flow of Emotions: Balancing Positivity and Negativity

Having negative thoughts from time to time is as natural as sleeping sometimes. Psychologists say that attempts to constantly be in high spirits can actually make us much more unhappy than those who experience both positive and negative feelings. It is the fact that our mood has both “ups” and “downs” that allows us to enjoy life in its entirety. People who have learned to recognize both positive and negative thoughts and feelings get access to their inner positivity faster.

Constant suppression of negative thoughts can have unpleasant consequences

In a psychological experiment that has now become a classic, participants Those who were told not to think about a polar bear actually ended up thinking about it more frequently than those who were given the freedom to think about a polar bear from the start. Another study showed that when we, instead of accepting negative feelings and calmly living on, try to drive them away, we start eating “yummier”.

Accepting your negative experiences is a powerful means of personal growth. Always keep in mind that thoughts are just thoughts, and feelings are merely feelings. And nothing else.”

Let go of jealousy

People who regularly compare themselves with others usually experience a whole range of feelings: envy, guilt, and chagrin. These people are overly sensitive to criticism from the outside. Jealousy can also occur at work

Studies show that employees who are often inclined to compare themselves with others experience less pleasure from work than those who do not compare themselves. Please do this at least once. Compare yourself with someone obviously worse than you. This will help you understand that your problems can be overcome.


Find your strengths. Select the most attractive one, in your opinion, and try to use it in one way or another every day for the next week. Let your envy do something for you. In a particular study, researchers discovered that experiencing “white envy,” wherein individuals feel admiration rather than resentment, actually motivated students to study more effectively and yielded improved results on IQ and creativity tests.

A few simple ways to resist negative thoughts. Walk

Yoga, Fitness, and warm-up for the day

Listening to upbeat music

Switching attention to something unrelated to the subject of negativity

Allocation of special time for negative thoughts daily (optimally an hour)

If you quickly repeat a word or phrase symbolizing your negative experiences (“I can’t”, “it’s impossible”, “I’m a complete nonentity”) for one or two minutes, then this word or phrase will lose meaning for you (the phenomenon is called “semantic suggestion”; and the technique is called “cognitive dissolution”).

You can pronounce these phrases deliberately in a childish or even cartoon voice, from this they will begin to sound not only meaningless but also stupid.


Keep a diary. If you take 20 minutes every day to write down on paper what causes you anxiety, you will think less about the stress factor – this is proved by experiments conducted by psychologists. There is another way. Briefly write down negative thoughts on a piece of paper. Tear this piece of paper (you can just crumple it up). Throw it in the trash or kick it to your heart’s content while playing football. Get warm. Our brain perceives physical and mental heat using the same areas. The next time you feel lonely or abandoned, just take a hot shower or bath. The researchers promise that it will help you feel much better!

Just change the situation. For example, leave the room. Scientists have found that this simple action helps to cope even with hopeless negativity. No matter how difficult it may be at first, remember: that it takes time to learn to be critical of your negative thoughts. If you decide to follow this path, please be patient and self-indulgent.


What is rumination, and how does it contribute to feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, and depression?

Rumination is the act of repeatedly going over negative scenarios with disastrous outcomes in one’s thoughts, leading to feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, and depression.

What is the concept of “defensive pessimism”?

“Defensive pessimism” involves imagining the worst-case scenario and developing strategies to overcome it, which can help in coping with anxiety.

Why is it important to accept both positive and negative thoughts and feelings?

Accepting both positive and negative thoughts and feelings is important because it allows us to access our inner positivity more quickly and enjoy life in its entirety.

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