What are Negative Thoughts?
Negative thoughts are usually associated with negative emotions such as feelings of low self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence. Feelings of sadness, worthlessness, anxiety, anger and frustration.
Sometimes we don’t always recognise that they are actually
Whilst we all have occasional periods of feeling low and thinking negatively, if this starts to become a long-term way of thinking about ourselves and our surroundings, it can have a serious effect on both our mental and physical health. It could also be a symptom of other mental health conditions such as
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
Typical negative thoughts can be things like
- I’m not good enough
- I’m a bad parent, partner, friend, son or daughter
- I’m not worthy
- People are much more successful than me
- I don’t feel attractive
- Everything I do is wrong
There is no single cause for negative thinking, some people believe that it comes from shame about the past, which could be caused by trauma or abuse. Anxiety about the present, which could be anything from relationship or family issues, financial problems, work issues or relocation worries. Or fear of the future but you need to remember that no one knows what the future holds, so worrying about it achieves nothing but unnecessary anxiety. Try to focus on the present, and deal with any worries, or seek help if you are unable to resolve these, or issues from your past.
- Finding it hard to sleep
- Lacking energy and feeling tired
- Weight loss or gain
- Struggling to remember things
- Stomach upsets
- Chest pain
- Expecting the worst all the time
- Hating yourself
- Lacking confidence
- Feeling alone
- Feeling irritable or angry
- Feelings of guilt
- Feeling sad
- Feeling you just can’t be bothered about anything even thinks you usually like
- Finding it difficult to make decisions
- Avoiding friends and family
- Putting off doing thinks you need to do
The internet is full of information about negative thinking and ways to help yourself. This includes things like mindfulness which teaches you to detach yourself from your negative thoughts and view them as though they weren’t your own, making them easier to solve.
Meditation which can help you relax and focus on positive thinking. Simple things like improving your diet and sleep pattern, taking exercise, listening to music or spending time with pets which will help lift your mood and reduce negative thoughts. Talking to family or friends and telling them how you feel, keeping a diary so you can question if your thoughts are realistic, if you would gain or lose by thinking that way.
If you still find yourself struggling to overcome your negative thinking alone, ask your doctor if he can help or consider therapy if they are unable to offer it. Therapies such as counselling, clinical hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and particularly cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you to retrain your negative thinking.
Written by Jan, Jeana and Wendy at Barnsley Hypnosis and Counselling (UK). For more free information click above link.