We all have days where negative issues or thoughts start to overtake our minds. So much so, that we can't focus on our priorities. When something's bothering us, getting it off our mind is easier said than done. In fact, research shows that when people tell themselves to not think about a certain topic, it makes the thoughts even more intrusive. But rehashing negative thoughts over and over in your head is unpleasant and adds no value whatsoever— it can even pave the way to chronic depression.
Luckily there are some proven strategies that help you to expel negative thoughts from your brain ASAP;
1.Take a step back
Sometimes we have worked ourselves up to such a degree that we start to think in absolute extremes. For example, "I'm definitely going to lose my job" or, "Shes definitely cheating on me". Where is the evidence? How did we get to this extreme point? When we get to this extreme place we've lost all rational and the only thing we must do is take a step back. The thing we absolutely must not do is take any action when we are in this, "extreme thought" space. Take deep breaths and bring yourself down to your rational thinking point, this is the only way you can begin to focus on other things.
2. Don't read into things too deeply
When we have negative theories or anxieties it causes us to read into every little detail, far too much, with little accuracy. They say that The Idle Mind is a Devil’s Workshop. So, if you don’t get replies from someone, or shorter answers than preferred, your brain starts over-thinking why, especially, if you have a negative theory - by doing this you exacerbate your negative thoughts. Just stop. Stop drawing assumptions without evidence, it doesn't benefit your mental health. Just be as rational in your thinking as possible and when you start to jump to assumptions you can assume your emotional thoughts are driving you.
3. Maximize positive thinking and minimize negative thinking
Regardless of your thoughts at any one time, always ensure you have more positive thoughts in your head than negative. If you can't reframe a certain thought, think of everything else you have in your life. Be grateful. Always try to keep your attitude in the positive zone. This mindset becomes a way of life - the glass can be half full or half empty, it's your choice. A quote I like to remember if I feel in a bit of a slump and want to regain control is "It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves". - William Shakespeare.
4. Reframe negative thoughts
Nothing is ever black and white. If you're stuck on a negative thought, that involves a person, thinking with empathy instead of anger gives you a totally different perspective. Don't be so set in your negative theories, people often don't deliberately go out of their way to hurt others. Another way to reframe is to see the silver lining. How can this negative incident make you a better person? How can you grow from this? They say there is no success without failure, for a reason.
5. Don't let negative thoughts become beliefs
Self-awareness is key. If you didn't perform properly at work and you start to believe your own self-criticisms you will eventually believe you are incompetent. Positive people, instead believe they will do better next time. These tiny tweaks in your thinking, preserve your self-confidence and performance ability over time. Don't be self-defeating. Monitor your negative thoughts and make sure you are not crushing your own confidence.