Negative Thinking- How to break free from the prison of your thoughts?
Dr. Nisha Vidyasagar, Clinical Psychologist, Unified Brain Health Care
Our thinking shapes our life.
Our happiness and quality of life can be enhanced if we think positively. Our thoughts have the power to guide our feelings as well as how we live our lives. However, over time if we repeatedly think in a certain way, it becomes a habit and these thinking patterns become hard-wired in our minds. They get automatically activated when we face a certain situation. Hatred, guilt, unforgiveness, self-pity, self-criticism, jealousy, etc., lead to and also aggravate negative thought patterns which come in the way of our happiness and mental peace.
All of us thus, walk around with a chatter in our head, “I am no good,” “How careless of me,” “I can’t face the audience, I will fail,” “I can’t stand this person.” This never ending monologue running in our minds creates self-doubts and causes a giant dip in our confidence. These toxic thoughts can cause great physical and psychological harm. They tend to affect relationships, our performance at work and even health. Such thoughts bring about a mix of negative emotions and if they spiral out of control, can even lead to clinical anxiety and depression. We hence need to force ourselves to snap out of it and break this vicious cycle.
These negative thoughts are sometimes due to certain childhood experiences or situations which had impacted our self-esteem. No matter what the root cause of these thoughts may be, since it is affecting our present moment of peace, we need to look at how to get rid of them.
There are several strategies to get out of this self-defeating thought patterns. Here are three simple ones:
Observe the chatter: Listening in to the conversations we have with ourselves, would help us weed out the negative thought patterns. Sometimes our own emotions to a particular situation can act as good guide-posts. If we notice ourselves as being upset, then it helps to question as to what is making us angry and thereby become aware of our thoughts. This also serves to help us understand that we are in control of our thinking and emotions.
Appreciate oneself: Every day, let us think of things we like in our self. This helps us to be connected to the positives within us and steers us away from being too critical with ourselves.
Create our own affirmations: It helps to make up a list of our own positive statements to be repeated often in our heads. These help in generating comfortable feelings when we are angry, anxious or stressed out. Some examples: “I am safe.” “I love and accept myself.” “I am relaxed and calm.”
However, there might be moments in life, when the negative chatter could spiral out of control and overtake our life by creating more hurdles, frustrations or on some occasions even hopelessness.
During such moments, it helps to reach out to a qualified mental health practitioner who would help us deal with these toxic thought patterns by changing them or letting go of them.
Unified Brain Health Care is one of a kind integrated Neuro Rehabilitation Centre in Chennai for adults and children offering in person and online therapy in Cognitive Neuropsychology, Clinical Psychology, Psychiatry, Speech Therapy, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Clinical Nutrition, Career Counselling, Fitness Coaching and Educational Intervention. We also offer Family and Marriage Counselling, help for PCOS, care during pregnancy, post-pregnancy care for new moms, infant and early childhood stimulation, infant and young child nutrition, care for caregivers and promote holistic brain health.