Ways to Deal With Negative Thought
Our mind is the inhabitant of random thoughts. All the time our mind is busy thinking. According to a study, the mind thinks between 60,000 – 80,000 thoughts a day. That’s an average of 2,500 – 3,300 thoughts per hour. It is definitely a huge number. Our thoughts are interlinked with each other. Did it ever occur to you that you saw an object and then you became lost in your thoughts unless someone jolts you to come back to reality? Sometimes any object triggers an old memory and you start thinking about it, which further pulls out another memory of an old event from the memory data bank? That is how our train of thoughts goes on and on. Thoughts are like water, flowing freely, making a stream. The more we let them freely flow the bigger the stream becomes, which gradually turns into a river, and then if we drift with the flow, it can become as powerful as an ocean.
There is a general tendency that we indulge in negative thoughts easily. Whenever we encounter any situation our mind starts thinking about the negative outcomes. For example, when we have an important meeting or presentation, we keep thinking about the things that could go wrong. Our mind is inherently wired to have such negative thoughts, as its main purpose is to protect our well-being and keep us away from danger. That is why it triggers an alarm of fear to guard ourselves before going into any new situation.
Dr. Aaron Beck, the founder of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), referred to these thoughts as ANTs – Automatic Negative Thoughts. These thoughts invade our minds like ants. We need to shake them off and Squash the ANTs. But as you know ants may look very small and insignificant but when they invade as a group, it is hard to fight with them. It is essential to tackle with them carefully. It is best not to resist these thoughts, because, it is often said that the more you resist the more it persists. Hence, it is better to accept these thoughts as a friendly reminder of our brain that is meant to protect us from danger. For example, if you feel nervous before a meeting, list down the areas of improvement, work on the areas and convert your nervousness into excitement.
Another and very effective way of conquering ANTs is to turn them into PETs – Positive Empowering Thoughts. Change your self-defeating, negative thoughts into something more uplifting and encouraging.
Self-talk affects our personality majorly. If we do not keep track of our thoughts, we become prisoners of our minds. To keep the charge of yourself, you need to break those chains of negative thoughts that stop you from achieving your dreams. Turning off an unending flow of negative mental chatter is one of the best things you can do for your overall happiness and mental health.