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  • Olivia Sanders
    Olivia Sanders

    Battling Automatic Negative Thoughts

    Negative thoughts enter our minds every single day, especially in these difficult and uncertain times. Some of this negativity is driven by our emotions, while other negative thoughts may be due to inner self-criticism, judgments from others, or external sources of stress. This type of negativity can be overwhelming and can cause us to feel helpless and stuck. It's important to know how to relate to these debilitating images that erode our potential and well-being. Below are a few strategies to help you deactivate the automatic negative thinking that permeates our psyche.

    The first step is to recognize when your thoughts are turning negative. Many people get so wrapped up in their inner dialogue and worries that they fail to notice the transition from neutral to negative cognitions. If you can become aware of the shift, then you can take action and start to turn the tide. When you notice that your thoughts are becoming more negative, it's helpful to reframe them into a more constructive or positive light. For example, rather than believing 'I'm never going to get this right', instead try thinking 'I will eventually figure this out, even if it takes time.'

    It's also important to challenge the accuracy of your thoughts. Ask yourself: Is this necessarily true? What facts have shaped this thought? What evidence do I have that might prove otherwise? By questioning the accuracy of your thinking, you can gain perspective and keep your thoughts from becoming too extreme.

    If you find yourself caught up in habitual negative thinking, mindfulness practice can be extremely helpful. Mindfulness is the process of observing one's thoughts and feelings without judgment. It allows us to tune into the present moment and recognize where we are headed before it's too late. Through consistent practice, mindfulness can actually change the way our brains are wired, leading us to become less reactive towards stressful or triggering stimuli.

    When it comes to managing negative thoughts, self-compassion can be another powerful remedy. Instead of engaging in toxic self-criticism and judgment, try being gentle and understanding with yourself. Acknowledge the hard work you are doing and the trials that you are facing. Remind yourself that everyone experiences difficult times, and that we all make mistakes.

    Finally, don’t be afraid to seek professional help if the situation becomes too much to handle. Speaking to a qualified mental health specialist can provide additional guidance and support as you try to sort through your thoughts. Therapy can be particularly helpful if you are struggling with depression or anxiety, as it can help you create new thought patterns and foster greater wellbeing in the long run.

    No matter what, remember that you are not alone in your experience. However overwhelming negative thinking can feel at times, there are ways to cope with it in an effective and healthy manner. We wish you strength and resilience as you navigate these difficult times.

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