Negative thoughts are inevitable, the good news is, you can learn how to change your thought patterns! At times it may feel as though your negative thoughts are in control of you. However, you can learn how to challenge and change them. When you learn how to change your negative thoughts you help yourself to feel empowered. By doing this, you can reduce the amount of impact that negative thoughts have in your life. Here are five tips for changing your thought patterns when you’re feeling overwhelmed by your thoughts.
1. Identify the thought, then change the thought
Before you challenge a negative you need to know what the thought is. Awareness is key, if you don’t know what thoughts are causing negative feelings, then it will be hard to change those thoughts. Often, our thoughts happen so quickly that we aren’t even aware of them. One way to start identifying your thought is by keeping a thought record. A thought record will help you to become aware of what is going on with your thoughts and feelings.
2. Check your mood
- Challenge negative thoughts by checking in on your mood. Identifying your mood is a great way to be more aware of your thoughts. If you are experiencing negative thoughts, try to determine if they are caused by something specific in your life, such as an event or circumstance, or if they’re part of a larger pattern.
- Notice when negative thoughts come up for no reason at all–this can help you become more aware of them and prevent them from taking over your day-to-day experience.
- Try not to get stuck on these thoughts; instead, try shifting back into a positive mindset by focusing on things you are grateful for or imagining what would make today a great day (for example: “I’m going out with friends tonight!”). Gratitude is a powerful tool in helping you to change a negative thought.
3. Change your perspective on the negative thought
In order to challenge negative thoughts, you must first understand what they are. A negative thought is any thought that makes you feel bad about yourself or the world around you. For example, if someone tells me I did a poor job on my homework and I believe them (which is not always true), that would be considered a negative thought because it affects how I feel about myself and my work.
Positive thinking does not mean ignoring the truth–it means seeing things from multiple perspectives so that even if one perspective is negative, there are other ways of looking at things as well.
4. Look at the supporting evidence for your thought
Try to examine if the thought is based in facts or feelings. Is the thought based on things that are actually happening in your life? Or is the thought based on a feeling you may be having? Being able to differentiate between facts and feelings is a coping skills that a Mindhues therapist can help you to work on to better understand what is going on inside your mind.
5. Practice acceptance of your thoughts
Acceptance is a choice, not a feeling. You can choose to accept your situation or you can choose not to accept it. It’s an active process that involves letting go of the past and moving forward in order to find peace and happiness in life. You can choose to accept two conflicting thoughts, using a skill from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). The skill involves accepting two opposing truths. You may say to yourself something such as, “I am upset that I received a poor grade on my math test, and I will move forward and be hopeful about my grade on future math tests”.
A Mindhues Therapist Can Help You Learn more Ways to Identify and Challenge Negative Thoughts
Looking for a youth therapist to start your journey to better mental health? Mindhues can help. We connect young people with qualified youth therapists to treat and overcome mental health struggles. Contact us to start the process today.