If you tend to think of negative things, often due to depression or other issues in one's life, it is important to try to turn that around. The only way you can truly have a happy life is if you take control of your thought process. Don’t tell yourself that you have no control over your own thoughts; you do. There are several steps you can take to make it easier to get rid of negative thoughts.
1. Exercise - Moving around each and every day, whether it’s a quick walk, a swim, or going to the gym, is really good for getting the positive endorphins flowing into your blood stream. If you start each day with just a ten-minute, brisk walk, you will be surprised at what a difference it can make in your life. Shoot for thirty minutes of activity each day for the best results.
2. Meditate – Sitting quietly and breathing deeply while thinking about nothing at all can be amazingly uplifting. Sit in a comfortable position that enables you to breathe well and clear your mind. Try to focus on having zero thoughts. This can be very difficult and will take practice. Aim for 10 minutes a day starting with just one minute.
3. Smile – It might seem silly but something as simple as being aware of your facial expression can help you feel more positive. It’s really hard to think of negative things if you are forcing a happy smile on your face. If it helps, put a mirror near your desk at work to remind you to smile at yourself.
4. Listen to Positive Music – Hardly anything is better at lifting the spirits than music. It’s one reason music is so popular and has been for centuries. Find music that you can go to right away when negative thoughts become overwhelming. When you listen, if you can then sing along with the song and really feel the music.
5. Keep a Happiness Journal – When we are prone to thinking negatively it can become more and more difficult to see the goodness around us. Start and end your day with your happiness journal. Write five things in it each night before bed that was good that happened or that you noticed today. Each morning re-read what you wrote the night before.
6. Find Positive Friends – The saying that misery loves company is accurate. Look around you and determine whether you have some positive friends. If you don’t, it’s time to cultivate some. Join a book club or other group to help you find positive people.
7. Flip Negative Thoughts to Positive Thoughts – When you notice you’re thinking of something negative, try turning the thought on its ear to become the opposite of the negative thought. First, stop thinking in absolute terms. Nothing is “always” or “never” and there is usually a middle ground.
8. Take Responsibility for Your Life - If you tend to blame others for your failures or problems, try to realize that you have a lot more control than you think you do. In fact, it’s the idea of lack of control over one’s life that breeds discontent and negative thoughts. When you realize you are in control, you can turn it around.
9. Get Out of Your Own Life for a Day – Helping others can do wonders for your mindset and self-image. If you think other people get tired of hearing you complain, you probably are the one most sick of it since you “hear” yourself more than others. Take the focus away from yourself and put it on someone else for a day.
10. Realize that Perfection is Overrated – No one is perfect, and you know that. You likely do not expect perfection from others, so why expect it from yourself. Be at least half as patient with yourself as you are of others. Striving for excellence is understandable but setting the bar too high will only lead to disappointment.
11. Watch Positive Movies – Find a go-to movie that you can watch that makes you feel hopeful and wonderfully positive. Even if it is just a silly movie that makes you laugh, laughter is excellent for breeding positive thoughts and feelings.
12. Read Positive Quotes – Collect positive quotes that you can read anytime negative thoughts come to mind. If you memorize the positive quotes, so much the better. Then, you can call them to you when you’re waiting in line at the bank and the negative thoughts overcome you.
13. Eat Right - It is amazing how much eating can play into negative thoughts and emotions. If you eat a lot of processed food, sugar and junk, try to eliminate those foods from your diet for at least 80 percent of the time. Add in more whole foods, fruits and vegetables to fill you up and keep you nourished.
14. Get Sunshine – Many people around the world suffer from something called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. This is feeling sad and even depressed for “no reason” during dark times or wintertime. Some people who don’t get enough sunshine even feel this way in the summertime. Ensure that you get at least 30 minutes of sunshine each day. This will not only help keep you more positive but will also ensure that you get enough vitamin D.
Following these tips will help you fight the negative thoughts that come to your mind any time of day or night. But remember that practice makes perfect. If you have a bad day, remember that tomorrow is a brand-new day, and a brand-new chance to get it right.