Thoughts are powerful.
Maybe you’ve noticed – the more negative they are, the more they command your attention.
Studies suggest that around 80% of scenarios that replay in the average person’s brain are negative. In fact, the reason you’re here today is partially because of negative thinking. Your ancestors used it to their advantage – they needed it to keep them on high alert from predators and other dangers – and it worked. It kept them alive long enough to procreate, and pass those genes down to you.
However, today’s world is vastly different from theirs, and much of what our mind focuses on now just causes unnecessary suffering.
We spend so much time worrying about highly improbable what if’s, robbing ourselves of the chance to think about pleasant things, and experience joy in the here and now.
If you find yourself trapped in negative thinking, here are some tricks you can use to part the clouds; make room for sunshine in your mind.
Don’t Attach to Your Thoughts
Thoughts are simply thoughts. Just because we think something, doesn’t make it true.
The more attention and emotion our thoughts are able to elicit, the more powerful and important they seem.
Because of our penchant to be extremely sensitive to anything that can “hurt” us, these negative thoughts appear like a worthwhile thing to pay attention to. Yet most of the time, they’re not.
Give it Time
Sometimes, there are situations in life that warrant a little worry.
In times like these, dedicate 20 minutes or so to think about the situation. Ask yourself, is there anything you can change? Is there anything you can do to prepare, or make it easier?
If there is, make a list of strategies. Then move on to something else.
Catch and Redirect Yourself
Worries often catch us off guard. You’re waiting at a traffic light, lost in thought. You’re ruminating over something really unpleasant… and you realize. The negative thoughts are back. It’s ok.
Thoughts sneak in all the time when we’re not paying attention. Recognize they’re back, show yourself some compassion, and focus on something else. Box breathing helps: breathe in to the count of four, hold for four, and exhale for four. Repeat for as long as it is helpful.
It’s Worse in Your Head
Have you ever had a situation where you spent an exhausting amount of time worrying about something, and then it happened… and wasn’t that bad?
Perhaps it’s a presentation you have to give at work that you’re dreading, or a diagnosis that leads to surgery.
When whatever it is actually happens, it ends up working out much better than you anticipated in your mind. The same goes for things in your head that have held you hostage for years. When you finally get help dealing with them, they begin to lose all their power; you see how frail and flimsy they actually are.
Exercise is integral to our overall health. You’re well aware of this already, so no need to get into it. Remember though, exercise is a great way to ‘get out of your head,’ to change it up, get your heartrate going, and work through any stored anxiety.
Take a stroll through the park with your friend, or try a new exercise class. Move in a way that brings you joy. YouTube is full of all sorts of exercise videos for all skill levels that you can do at home, for free, with no equipment.
Mindfulness is an excellent way of noticing your thoughts, and separating them from you. It’s a tool you can use no matter where you are.
Simply focus on your breath, follow every inhale and exhale. When your mind wanders, which it will, gently return to the breath.
If it’s safe to do so, close your eyes.
A regular mindfulness practice leads to a quieter, more centered mind.
Get Some Support
It’s always nice to have friends to connect with – someone you trust – with whom to share your struggles.
For more support, talking with a therapist is recommended. If left too long, persistent negative thinking can have detrimental consequences and lead to depression and anxiety. If you are beginning to feel more anxious or are thinking about depression treatment, finding a therapist is your best course of action.
At the Relationship Therapy Center, we offer virtual sessions, and in person visits at our Roseville, CA and Fair Oaks, CA locations. We have helped countless people work through their problems and regain peace of mind. We’ve provided them with tools, insight, and resources to restore their happiness and wellbeing. We’re always happy to chat, give us a call if you want to learn more about how we can do the same for you.
Begin Depression Treatment in the Sacramento Area:
If you are struggling with depression, you may not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But, With treatment for depression, you can find enthusiasm, hope, and joy again. You don’t just have to cope with depression but you can overcome depression. To begin counseling in Fair Oaks, CA, Roseville, CA, or online therapy in California, please follow these steps:
Reach out to the Relationship Therapy Center to schedule your free 20-minute phone consultation to learn more about depression treatment
Meet with one of our therapists
Begin depression treatment and find the joy in your life again!
Other Services offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:
In addition to depression treatment, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. Our couples services include: Couples Counseling, Counseling after infidelity, sex therapy, co-parent counseling, family therapy, divorce counseling, intensive couples retreats, and premarital counseling. Our individual therapy services include anxiety treatment, therapy for children, teen therapy, depression treatment, codependency counseling and individual relationship counseling. Our therapists offer online counseling in California to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Please reach out to our Sacramento area therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your loved ones.