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How to Control Negative Thoughts

Have you ever felt that even if it was your intention to be more positive and grateful in life, those negative thoughts have a way of sneaking in? Whether it's ruminating on a past disappointments, or getting down on yourself for not having it all “together,” whether imposter syndrome is barging in, or there’s just a nagging sense of the unknown, you’re not alone. We live in stressful times. So today I want to give you 6 ways to reset your mind, and get back to a greater sense of control in your life.


First thing though, is I’m not big on "controlling" (or suppressing) thoughts or emotions. This is because they offer valuable information that’s informing us where we’re at. Instead, consider seeing  what clues they are presenting. And then, with that awareness... here are some ways to reboot your system, and realign with what’s important to YOU.


  1.  Don’t "Should" on Yourself:

Be on the lookout for anytime you say, “I should..."  Saying this to yourself is actually a the voice of judgement. You are literally putting yourself down, and we are all so used to doing this. A better approach is to catch yourself using that work, and replace that with the voice of Self-Compassion. That is much kinder and more motivating. Then sprinkle in some action, and you are really opening things up.

Example: I should work out every day.

Change that to

“I’ll try my best to work out every day. Here’s one thing I can do…”

Example: “I should stop thinking this way.” That’s not very kind to yourself, and will only makes you more anxious that you’re feeling anxious.  Being anxious about being anxious is how rumination happens. We get stuck in a loop.

A better option is to change that to, “I see that I’m having some anxious thoughts right now. What would I tell my best friend if she were in this exact situation?  Move from judgment to self-compassion… it's liberating.


  1. Recognize that thoughts come and go: It’s so important to remember that your thoughts don’t define your identity. You’re not an sad person – you are a person who is experiencing thoughts of sadness.  Label what you are feeling. Name it to tame it.  I’m feeling sad, mad, fear, irritation. This helps you distance yourself from the thought itself. Mindfulness involves being present in the moment and observing your thoughts, which come and go, like the images on a screen.


  1. Interrupt negative thoughts. Physically move in order to change your state - get out of your head and into your body. Go for a walk, get some Vitamin D outdoors, grab some weights. You are breaking that stuck state, and you will feel yourself becoming more at ease, stronger and more connected. Moving the body, moves the energy.


  1. Ask these 4 powerful questions. This is from the work of Byron Katie.
  • Is it true?
  • Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
  • How do you react when you believe the thought?
  • Who would you be without the thought?


  1. Journal to connect with your true self:

Think of your everyday-self asking your future WISE self for advice. Here are some questions to get started:

  • What do I need to know today?
  • What do I want today? (a thing, a conversation, a goal, a feeling)  You are allowing a space for your intuition to rise to the surface and break through the mental cycle you’ve been caught up in. You are making room for more aliveness and more joy.
  • What is one thing I can do to move that forward?


  1. Develop a support network:

It could be one friend that your check in on, and they do the same for you. It could be a counselor to help you navigate your way through. It could be some volunteer work where you remind yourself that you can get out of your own head and help others. You have more options than you may think. It’s the overthinking that is the trap. Ask yourself “Am I overthinking this?” If you suspect that it may be a yes, you’ve already interrupted the pattern and are in the process of setting yourself free.


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