10 Ways You Can Become Imprisoned By and Released From Negative Thinking
You are the driver of your own thoughts. Whether they are negative thoughts or positive ones, you can control them. Have you ever found yourself stuck in a weird situation where you questioned what the outcome would be? Perhaps as a child or adult, your ability or inability to change your thinking pattern in that situation was a deciding factor in your outlook of similar events.
It is easier said than done if you are in a negative place, but there is a way to stop being imprisoned by negative thinking. This article will look at five ways negative thoughts can imprison you and five ways you can wriggle free of them.
Why Is Negative Thinking Widespread?
Whether you believe it or not, negative thinking is a creative process. It is easier to think negatively and expand a thought beyond its original circumference. For example, imagine you were almost mugged but were helped by a passing stranger. It is easy to step into that excessive thinking mode and analyze all the negative possibilities from that scenario. Yet, it is impossible to see the positive side that your life was spared. Jumping into a negative conclusion is our mind’s way of telling you to put your guards up and not fall victim again, to be preventive.
But the question remains, are you overdoing it?
5 Ways To Prevent Falling Into Negative Thinking
Stop Excessively Thinking On Circumstances Beyond Your Control
It's life. Negative things are going to happen, but excessive thinking on what you cannot control can affect your life, goals, and personality. Excessive thinking means placing too much value or emphasis on a thought thereby magnifying it out of proportion. This attitude translates into fears, anxiety, and, in the worst cases, depression. For example, you walk into a restaurant and feel all eyes are on you, then you start to think that your dress is not elegant, your steps are wrong, or something else is wrong with you. This is excessive thinking and entrapment in negative thoughts. If you fail or fall, compose yourself, get up, dust yourself off, and let the show go on as if nothing happened.
Don’t Generalize Negative Situations
Seriously, just because your friend, sister, brother, or parents suffered an anomaly or unfortunate situation does not necessarily mean you will too. Generalizing a negative situation involves concluding that experiences that follow the same pattern will likely end the same way. For example, you could not finish a speech as a child because of stage fright or some other fear, and you have allowed that thought to linger on into adulthood. This is the feeling of ‘I-know-it-will-happen-again, which is an incorrect and limiting belief. Practice, practice some more, prepare, and be preventive so you’re best equipped to handle and deal with any negative future situations and live your life without imprisoning your thoughts with fear and anxiety.
Let Go Of Regret And Guilt
Occasionally, you may partake in actions that lead to regrets and feelings of guilt, but this is not the end of the world. It happens, and you are not alone. However, replaying that scene over and over and holding yourself hostage from growth and progress is dwelling in negative thinking and imprisoning yourself in a bad place. It’s not worth it and you’re worth more so refuse to repeat any poor actions that lead to your feelings of guilt and regret and keep it moving.
Accept That Negative Thoughts May Happen
There are curveballs in life that we just accept, and negative thoughts are one of them. If you are comfortable in your negative space, it is time for some rational thinking to break that cycle away from you. You might want to start by practicing positive thoughts more and gravitating toward people that exude positivity. This can help to bring harmony and balance into various situations and give you better perspectives on your negative thoughts.
Forgiveness allows you to move ahead from a terrible place, and while most people think unforgiveness is punishing the offender, it hurts you more and keeps you locked down. It also empowers you to analyze any pain and bitterness. When you forgive, you can let go of the negative thoughts and heal your mind from past errors. Make one of your goals of forgiveness to mentally and/or spiritually release yourself from the overwhelming emotional grip of your mental anguish so you can learn and grow from unfortunate circumstances, heal, move forward, and do your best to lead a positive and fulfilling life.
So, How Does One Stop Negative Thinking?
As easy as it is to wallow in the pit of despair, you will get tired of being sick and tired someday. Regardless of how comfortable negative thinking can become, you must realize that you cannot dwell there forever.
The following are five ways to release the power of negative thoughts over your life:
Assess Your Environment And Immediate Circle
This is the first step to releasing yourself from the imprisonment of negative thoughts and thinking. If your environment is a driver of negative thoughts, it is time to move away from it and replace it with a positive, better, and more peaceful one. Create a new space within your place or move to a new space altogether where the threat to your peace and fulfillment is eliminated. It may involve getting a new apartment or home in a safer neighborhood or job with less stress and workplace toxicity. If your friends or circle consists of harsh or toxic critics that never see anything positive about life or you, stay away immediately. These simple actions can enable you to clear your head of any negativity and focus on positivity.
Stop Negative Self-Talk
Practice mindfulness when negative thoughts creep in. It is easy to overthink and drown in your thoughts, especially without positive support. However, being mindful of your surroundings and immediate emotional situation is a lifeline to overcoming negative thoughts. Rather than beat yourself down with harsh comments, learn to curb these thoughts before it escalates and tell yourself that you can and will get through your challenges. Be sure to set aside some time to brainstorm your options and be willing to take strategic and calculated risks that can help to replace negative thoughts with positive and effective actions.
Find Out The Root Cause Of Your Problem
Negative thoughts typically do not start in a day. They can be an accumulation of months or years of problems that you ignored and did not address and resolve. Most times, the reason for a negative thought is not what is seen but what is not seen. For example, a child repeatedly criticized in childhood as not-good, dull, stupid, and good-for-nothing may grow up with these thoughts. So, when anyone makes a comment that emphasizes the patterns, the thoughts may immediately well up. To address the root and live a happy life is therefore paramount for your happiness and fulfillment. Getting solution-based therapy from a licensed, knowledgeable, competent, and experienced therapist can help you get to the root of your problems so you can heal and move forward in your life.
Consider Using The Stop And Replace Theory
Have you ever tried stopping a negative thought before it gets out of hand? You should try it. It can be highly effective. However, when you remove one thing, you need a better or more effective replacement. If you want to detach yourself from negative thoughts, stop it and find a positive thought to replace it like doing a favorite hobby or learning a new skill.
Journaling is an excellent way to keep track of the whys, what, how and who as you create solutions to your negative thinking patterns. A journal will enable you to identify your trigger styles to better understand your reactions when they happen. If you decide to keep a detailed journal, it can serve as conscious evidence to break away from negativity and find positive ways of thinking. Positive thinking can lead to positive changes and positive and effective actions by you.
If you are struggling with negative thoughts, you are not alone. However, if your negative thinking is affecting your life, family, relationship, career, or emotions, follow the steps above and seek the assistance of a professional therapist if you need support. Remember, changing your mindset is not a quick fix but a gradual process that will cleanse your mind and thought pathway and release you from negative thinking so you can be free to create a better life that’s centered on positivity and fulfillment.