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  • Writer's pictureEmma Coyle

How to Beat Negative Thinking

Do you find yourself constantly having negative thoughts? Thoughts such as "I never do anything right;' "Why am I always getting it wrong?' 'Nobody likes me really.' 'What if [insert worst case scenario] happens?'

These thoughts can arrive at anytime, whether spending quality time with your partner at home or mid way through a team meeting at work. You worry that your partner may think you are distracted all the time or that your work may suffer. So these thoughts, which started as a minor worry, now cause you to worry even more. Perhaps they are particularly bad at night when there is nothing else to distract you and you are lost in your own mind.

Having recurrent negative thoughts such as these can cause significant distress, both affecting relationships with others (constantly interrupting your time with them), as well as holding you back from getting on and living your best life.

These negative thought patterns are often deeply entrenched in our past experiences and strengthened whenever anxiety, depression or stress is present. Many people experience variations of this at some point or another but in fewer, more extreme cases it can suggest generalised anxiety or OCD (and here professional help may be called for).

How might it be if you were to learn to get better at controlling your thoughts, rather than letting your thoughts control you? What if you could take a step back and observe your thoughts from a distance? Do you think it might help you see things from a different perspective?

A good place to start is by making sure you ask the right questions. When you do this, you will often find that the thought you are having is either completely wrong or else an exaggeration of the truth. It may reveal itself as totally unhelpful at best, or destructive at worst.

So what kind of questions can you ask yourself? Here are a few suggestions:

- Is it really true? Is there anything to suggest it might not be? - What will happen if I keep allowing this thought to take up space in my head?

By learning to replace the negative thoughts you have been experiencing with something you know to be true, you start to create a new resilience in yourself. This means that when you do genuinely have an issue that needs your urgent attention, you are better equipped to actually get on and solve the problem rather than keep on worrying about it.

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