If you poll 100 people and ask them what they think their greatest enemy to their personal success is, most of them would say that it’s their own mind. Negative thinking and thought patterns can stop our progress before we even begin moving towards our goals. When the little voice in your head constantly tells you that you can’t do something or accomplish a particular task, it can be incredibly difficult to shut out the noise and focus on your goal.
When we become our biggest critics, finding ways to eliminate negative thinking becomes one of the most important things we can prioritize. By learning how to combat these thoughts with positivity and affirmations, we can accomplish the big overarching goals we have set for ourselves. Alas, figuring out how to shut down the internal negativity on your own can feel like a self-defeating prophecy. If you find the right mental health treatment center, however, you can start seeing the right path forward.
Why It’s Less About Positive Thoughts and More About the Process
We can try and think about all the positive outcomes of a particular situation, but if we don’t change how we process scenarios and the source of the negativity, it remains an uphill battle. Our mind and corresponding mental state represent a complex system of brain chemistry, external circumstances, and learned flawed coping mechanisms. If our negative thought processes remain intact, we’ll focus on those outcomes and fall back into the bad—and potentially destructive—habits.
If you’re trying to recover from long-term substance abuse or alcohol addiction, the negative thought patterns developed during your condition can prove challenging to break. Breaking down how to get rid of negative thoughts starts with a small change.
Gradual Mental Shifts
Banishing these negative thoughts doesn’t happen overnight or with sweeping changes to your daily routine. Trying to make drastic changes stick only sets yourself up for failure and leads to you relapsing into bad habits. It all starts with one gradual mental shift to stop negative thoughts for good.
Changing how you approach banishing negative thoughts and behaviors means starting small and unlearning one action at a time. You want to recognize how you would have approached this situation in the past, identify where the negative thought takes over, and make a conscious effort to change how you handle it. These conscious mental shifts can help combat the anxiety and stress associated with these situations and help move you in a more positive direction.
Change How You Talk to Yourself
Word choice can significantly impact how we view specific situations and our outlook on potential positive outcomes. Something seemingly innocuous like “I should eat healthier” or “I should stop drinking” can trigger negative thoughts like guilt or shame that set you up for failure. Reframing the internal conversation around “I can eat healthier by” or “I will try my best to get to the gym” can help put you into a better headspace regarding your goals.
This shift in the conversation can help alleviate some of the pressure you may feel that can lead you to procrastinate or avoid responsibilities. You can have a gentler conversation with yourself and avoid a negative thought spiral that can ruin your current headspace.
Recognize Different Patterns of Automatic Negative Thinking
Automatic negative thought patterns can quickly trigger as soon as you encounter a specific situation. Instead of having a free thought that allows you to look at it critically, it becomes a reflex where you exclusively focus on the negative thoughts and outcomes. By finding ways to take a moment to recognize these thought patterns for what they are and how you can focus on how that situation makes you feel, you can begin changing your response.
These may have been long-held and learned behaviors, but the right residential treatment program can set you up for sustained success at stopping these negative thoughts.
Come to Lifeskills South Florida to Get the Help You Need
Whether you want to help treat your anxiety about making decisions or seek a more complete mental health treatment plan, Lifeskills South Florida is here to help. Our personalized treatment plans help you identify the underlying causes of your negative thoughts and what triggers them and teach you the coping strategies you can use to shift your internal narrative. We help our patients learn how even the smallest step can be the first one on your long-term road to recovery.