Outsmarting Negative Thinking

Negative Thinking is powerful. It might be conscious, sounding like a loud harsh voice in your head, or subconscious, as persistent nagging. These thoughts are learned habits which originally were intended to protect you or motivate you. But now they are not working.

Negative thinking feeds depression and anxiety, blocking hope and change. Common types of negative thinking are:

  • Cynicism
  • Catastrophizing
  • Generalizing
  • Labeling
  • Chronic Self-Criticism
  • Resignation
  • Exaggerating Negatives
  • Minimizing Positives

In order to feel better, you will have to change these habits. It can be done, but it takes time and effort.

Commit to Outsmarting your Negative Thinking

Step 1: Start paying attention to your negative thoughts and write them down. Negative thoughts seem "realistic" but they are not. Reality is complex, not one-sided, and includes positives as well as negatives.

Step 2: Re-write those thoughts into more realistic ones. You can do this by first finding what is really true, then finding what is untrue or generalized, exaggerated, etc.

Ironically - your negative thinking will attempt to sabotage your efforts! This is called Resistance, and it will happen, so it's best to expect it, and learn how to counter it. (see "Countering Resistance".)