IWTL how to make my negative thoughts go away
By - Vrikkiegikk
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They're not just going to go away. The first thing you can do is learn how to realize when it's happening.
When I recognize it, I immediately focus, analyze the thought, and walk the thought process through to conclusion. At some point, I get to the point where I realize the thought is irrational. If I get there and still feel negative, I know it’s not my mind or the logic, it’s an imbalance. I then drink 1L of water and go workout. This seems to immediately and effectively resolve the issue.
that's kind of the 3rd step.
simply paying attention to one's own thoughts already goes a long way. OP shouldn't rush it.
If you find it difficult to just interject and fix your own thoughts, CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) might not work for you. Try it, but it is a very old style of talk therapy that works for just some people.
If you go to the app store, you might find a ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy) app with some visualization exercises. This is also worth your time to try and a very different technique to do exactly what you are trying to do. In one exercise you might acknowledge your thought, put it on a cloud and watch it float away. And you will do this with each negative thought. In another, you might acknowledge your thoughts sequentially and release them putting those thoughts on leaves floating down a stream slowly as you have them. There is more to it than that, but you get the idea of how you might let the thoughts go and how an app helps you do it.
I don't know if an app is the right way to do this.
I'm partial to mindfulness, it has excellent applications in therapy.
It doesn't look like it's been brought up yet, but one trick I've learned is to *replace* the negative thoughts with positive affirmations. It sounds hokey, but try this:
Write out all of your negative thoughts in a list. For each item on the list, write down it's opposite. "I'm stupid" becomes "I'm intelligent" and "I'm ugly" becomes "I'm beautiful" and so on. Add a few more as you like about your positive qualities that otherwise went without saying. Add some more for the laughs. One of mine was "I'm a pirate."
Copy each affirmation onto a sticky-note and leave around your area. On you mirror, corner of your monitor, desk, closet, cabinets, wherever you can see them. Put your favorite one somewhere so it's the first thing you see when you wakeup.
Go about your day. Whenever you see a note, repeat it, *even if you don't agree with it*. If you have an intrusive thought, counter it with a note you've memorized. It can take time. Forget about them and move on to other things.
One day you may just glance at a forgotten note and reply, "you know what? I *am* a pirate!"
As for intrusive memories, I'll remember times when I acted like an absolute fool and cringe. For these I try to frame it as a sitcom where I was the comic foil for some unseen audience, complete with dorky catchphrases and exaggerated gestures. Basically, I try not to take myself too seriously. We're all people, and people make mistakes. Learning to forgive oneself for not being perfect is a path to growth.
Can confirm. I started doing this in therapy and it was hard at first, but you slowly get the hang of it.
It's definitely not hokey, it's the basis of CBT therapy, which is highly effective to reduce intrusive thoughts and negative rumination. It's as effective a treatment for depression as antidepressants.
You are right in that it is a long established technique in therapy, in use over 50 years. It is not universally effective, which is why act and dbt techniques were developed.
I have mixed feelings about this. From what I've read, affirmations can be great if you are open to them, but can actually cause more negative feelings if you're trying to insist on something that you fundamentally believe to be untrue.
That was also my experience with them. In all honesty, I felt like an idiot and they just emphasised how much I DIDN'T believe what I was saying (and made me believe more strongly in the opposite negative belief). I had more luck with challenging my thoughts like this article describes.
I say do what works for you!
I literally just had a conversation with a therapist about this. He said that those thoughts don’t even matter, they are intrusive and everyone gets them, and you just gotta let them go because they mean nothing. Not sure if that helps but I think it’s good to know that intrusive thoughts are something that is natural, just gotta let it go and don’t dwell on them.
When you get concerned over a negative thought--which meant nothing in the first place--you're giving it energy it doesn't deserve
Let yourself have negative thoughts, but notice that you’re doing it, and make sure to put them in their place
Look into OCD intrusive thoughts. It’s common and could be what you’re struggling with, and there are many resources available to help.
No, but the mechanics and methods of coping can still be helpful resources for anyone dealing with intrusive thoughts.
Hence why I said “could”.
I suggest trying Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). Pick up the book Feeling Good by David Burns
If they're negative thoughts about yourself - the kind that mess with your self esteem - literally tell that voice to shut the fuck up. You're in control. You call the shots. You don't have to identify with your inner critic.
Edit- I was just looking at this the other night:
Try putting some of those thoughts into writing. Our brains are programmed to obsess over mistakes as a self preservation measure, but sometimes that can be more harmful than it is helpful. When this happens you can sometimes trick your brain by writing the thought down somewhere.
"Ok brain, you're telling me I'm stupid? Let me write that down so I don't forget."
The act of writing can also be cathartic and serve as an outlet for excess energy.
Not a gauranteed fix but it tends to help me when I have difficult feelings to process or am spiraling into obsession.
If the thoughts are too overwhelming though, please reach out to a therapist.
Relatable - Sorry you feel focused on the negative. What is important is that you are aware that you are having these thoughts, and motivated to seek help. This is a great start. I find that meditating or "micro-meditating" (if that's a thing) can be helpful to slow those thoughts down. It's not about blocking thoughts out, but to acknowledge them, try to understand why it is weighing on you, and either make a change(resolve)/ apologize/ or make peace with that thought/person/yourself and move forward. Do some research on practicing mindfulness.
There’s a lot of great advice here already, so instead I’d like to offer a word of caution: there are actually methods to “make negative thoughts go away”, and I’d be careful of anyone trying to teach you that. Those methods aren’t conducive to personal growth and critical thought, and so are often used by cult groups under the guise of being helpful while establishing personality control over others.
identify them, find where they come from, try to calmly imagine the happy alternative of it for 2-3 minutes everyday and dont miss a day - literally i have the loveliest thoughts everyday and I wake up feeling like everyday is a wonderful day… i used to have terrible self deprecating and bitter thoughts
I would absolutely recommend talking to a therapist. I was experiencing something extremely similar to what you have described that I hoped would eventually go away by itself (it didn't) and reaching out to somebody to help get to the bottom of what was causing it was a game-changer.
So many people seem to think that seeking help regarding their mental health is only for people who are experiencing crippling depression or are actively suicidal. I wish more people knew that even more 'mild' issues are legitimate and that you can get help with them.
Edit: the other commenters suggesting letting yourself have negative thoughts but being aware of them etc. are probably correct, but these are very difficult things to just do intuitively. A therapist can really help you out with these kinds of techniques and how to apply them to your unique situation.
Watch videos about Cognitive Defusion
No expert here, went through similar situation. My advice would be change your routines. Could be as easy as listening to different playlist or podcast. I also try and say thank you very much instead of just thanks. Makes me feel better knowing my polite/genuine words could have a positive affect on someone’s day.
Also at night when I remember or am thinking about what I have to do or didn’t do I set an alarm. For when I know I will have time to do that thing the following day as a reminder. Could be as easy as calling post office or paying a bill. I lessen the stress of not doing it or forgetting while ‘planning’ for it tomorrow.
After doing this, I’m ready to go to sleep I focus on breathing techniques. Not any one in particular but I’m sure there are numerous out there. I focus on taking deep breaths while counting the inhale/exhale in seconds. I’ve also done the rain sounds and sleep meditation videos but breathing always helps me.
Hope this helps!
That's depression for you. I have been working on getting rid of negative thoughts and my depression in general for over 10 years. We all have negative thoughts. We just need to learn to acknowledge the thought but let it pass. My counselor told me to do "Mindfulness". A small exercise I do is sit quietly for 10 seconds. You can close your eyes and counts slowly to 10. If a negative thought comes in start counting over. If you can't make it to 10 after a minute or two that's ok. Just stop and try again later in the day. Slowly you will start making it to 3 then 5 and hopefully 10. When you count and a negative thought comes through just let it go in one ear and out the other and say something positive. So if I'm doing it and I think " Im all alone" I will replace that with a few examples of why I'm not alone. "I have my relatives who love me and my dog who also loves me". Something like that. Hope this helps
I'd rather make negative thoughts positive's. You are your own worst critic, so might aswell take it constructively. (I'm assuming your talking about self loathing btw).
"I'm ugly/fat" Then I should try and become healthier.
"I'm useless/ I can't do anything/ I'm just wasting oxygen" The I should probably try and practice something or even try to learn, doesn't even have to be big or recognizable I spend 20 hrs a week in an aim trainer for fps games and I love it.
"I can't do anything right" You aren't going to get it right until you learn how so might aswell give it another try.
Anyone can go from useless to worldclass at anything, just takes effort.
I hope this helps or that it's related because if it isn't I look like an idiot.
My therapist said to write them down. All
Of your fears and negative thoughts and then throw them away, erase them, get rid of them. Seema to help. At night I drink sleepy time tea. It helps me knock out. I’m 33 lol not 80 though I still love my sleepy time tea
I have a clue. I have had often negative thoughts.
What helps me is seeing the brain as an organ. Just like muscles can have muscle aches or skin that can have eczema, the brain is also an organ that can superficially dysfunction.
I have accepted that my brain has a tendency to spiral into negative thougths, its just a genetical en constutive disadvantage just like some people have the traits to develop eczema. I accept that this predisposition I have and that I cannot change that.
When I notice I start spiralling into negative thoughts I strongly remind myself of the above.. somehow this REALLY helps. Its like I consciously with all my effort try to swim out of that stream of thought. This really helped me. Hopefully it can help someone else as well
I've had very similar issues. What helped me was an overabundance of literature (reading), music, and videos (lots of comedy). You are what you consume both physically and mentally, so give your mind lots of new and interesting material. Follow your passions and curiosities. I hope this helps, friend.
a quick thing is, whenever you realize you're doing it, focus on your body, your breathing, the sounds you can hear, the things your body has contact with and how it feels (your feet on the ground, your back against the chair, etc.), smells you can smell withought judging it.
this will quickly snap you out of the bad thoughts loop and bring you into the moment.
I read [this book](https://www.amazon.com/Cant-Afford-Luxury-Negative-Thought/dp/0931580242) years ago. Very insightful.
It will be an ongoing process as others have pointed out, but something that helps me in the moment (and helps me bring awareness to the thought) is to imagine myself swiping away or literally erasing that negative thought. Or you can physically do the swiping motion to really nail it in :)
What kind of dumb stuff? Things that had already happened or things you think would happen? Whatever happened had already happened and rarely many people would remember what we did; what could happen might not end up happening as the other external factors could turn in different ways (who would’ve though a pandemic hit just like that, right?)
Without further details, my humble (and general) opinions are that: 1) think of funny memories or funny things (a joke will do, too); or 2) immediately fill our heads with appreciation (I.e., I’m grateful of such a sunny day. Thank you, keyboard, for working so well for me. My chair is so comfy, so a shoutout to the manufacture and my boss for getting it. I’m so lucky to have this job and friendly colleges etc.) Trust me, a list of thanks could definitely keep your mind busy for a while.
Talking about my experience, it's super difficult task, but in the end you will become a truly new person when you finally will be able to deal with your own thoughts.
Firstly, you must recognize that you once again doing this negative behavior. It seems to be easy, however it's not. Secondly, you must come up with counter actions, which can modify your current behavior. I like to use a simple one, which is:
I ask myself continuously why I feel such a way and what is the reason behind that. After 4-5 questions I can reveal the root cause of my behavior, from that point I can start to come up with positive examples, which can replace my negative thoughts.
It takes a lot of practice and sometimes you will fail, but you always keep going and remain consistent.
Add a negative thought to the negative thoughts then they’ll turn into positive thoughts
This is honestly something you need to work on with a therapist