With all the horrible things going on in the world nowadays, thinking positive thoughts and maintaining an optimistic attitude can seem almost impossible. What with the pandemic still ravaging the globe, ongoing racism, wars, wild fires, and who knows what other things you could be going through in your personal life. All the negativity can result in a pessimistic attitude toward life.
However, it is possible to stay positive in the face of adversity and negative situations. You can use the following tips to help you think positive thoughts when feeling negative and overwhelmed. They are easy to do, and with consistent practice, you can maintain a positive attitude in the face of adversity.
How to Think Positive Thoughts When Everything Feels Negative
- Practice positive self-talk
When feeling pessimistic, you expect the worst in every situation, engage in negative self-talk, and entertain self-defeating beliefs. The best way to stop this is by replacing them with positive self-talk in the form of positive self-affirmations and rephrasing negative statements. It is a way to trick your brain into thinking positively every day.
There are different types of affirmations for everything, including confidence, self-worth, self-love, inspiration, abundance, to achieve particular goals, gratitude, among many others. Depending on what is causing your negativity, practicing self-affirmations that complement your situation will help you remember how to think positive thoughts when things feel negative.
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You are what you think and say you are. Saying positive words can help you believe the things you say to yourself and manifest them. For example, instead of saying ‘I failed in doing X,’ say, ‘ I gave my best today,‘ or view it as a lesson and say ‘I will do X differently next time.’
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- Keep a gratitude journal
When going through a negative situation, your motivation and mood are low, and everything begins to seem pointless. It is easy to overlook the good things going on and forget how to think positive thoughts about life when you focus on how bad a situation is.
Keeping a gratitude journal reminds you that despite everything seeming negative right now, there is some good to be found and a lot to be thankful for still.
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- Take care of your mental health
One of the main reasons for negative self-talk and a pessimistic attitude toward life is poor mental health. For instance, if you are stressed or suffering from depression, you might get trapped in negative thinking patterns. But there are ways to think positively when depressed too.
To think positive thoughts and develop an optimistic attitude toward life, start by protecting your mental health and identifying what causes the negative thinking patterns.
Once you know what triggers the mental health issues, you can then work on ways to manage them. This could include doing activities such as; mindfulness meditation, journaling, eating healthy diets, exercising, reducing screen time, sleeping, taking breaks, building better relationships, changing your mindset, and asking for help when you need it.
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- Do something you enjoy
If you feel overwhelmed with negative thoughts, doing something you love can help you think positively, improve your mood, and make you happier.
Set aside time to do something you enjoy to promote thinking positive thoughts about life and create your own happiness. For example, you could engage in your hobbies, explore your creative side, watch comedies, listen to music, dance, read, or do anything else that brings you joy.
As you become distracted and immersed in the activity of your choice, negative thoughts may no longer overwhelm you and instead, could be replaced by positive thoughts because you enjoy what you’re doing.
- Surround yourself with positive people
Positivity and negativity are contagious, thus your mood is usually affected by the people you surround yourself with. If everything feels negative right now, it is probably because of the people you are hanging out with.
Spending time with people that have an optimistic attitude can rub the positivity off on you, and you will find yourself thinking positive thoughts more often. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. If you often hang out with a pessimistic crowd, a change in the company you keep could make you start thinking positively about yourself and life situations.
However, be careful when spending time with people who are too positive as it might turn into toxic positivity which is counterproductive. If all they do is want you to be positive and happy all the time while denying other types of emotion and viewing them as bad, it would be best to stay away from them too when feeling low. They might make you feel quilt and shame for feeling the way you do. But, it’s okay to not be okay sometimes.
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- Laugh more
Your mood and thoughts are very closely related. The old saying that ‘Laughter is the best medicine’ is true. Having a good laugh can reduce stress, elevate your mood, and promote positive thinking even in difficult situations.
So, laugh at yourself, at simple things, watch comedies, share humorous stories with friends, crack jokes, watch funny videos; and do anything else that brings out positive emotions and eliminates negative thoughts from your mind.
To laugh at a situation, you have to see its good side, and hence, have to think positive thoughts about it. Laughing puts your mind on the right path toward developing an optimistic attitude.
- Read quotes/Inspirational materials
If there is one thing almost all of us fall back on when we need encouragement or a boost of motivation, confidence, or happiness, it is reading positive quotes and other inspirational materials. These are quite effective at making you a more positive person.
Inspirational materials can motivate you and change your perspective and outlook toward life. Reading materials and quotes on the power of positive thinking, or others that relate to your current situation can also give you tips on how to start thinking positive thoughts every day and overcome negative feelings.
- Live in the moment
No, this does not mean you let your negative thoughts consume you and wallow in self-pity. Living in the moment means focusing on the present without the interference of feelings of guilt over past mistakes or worries about the future. By living in the moment, you put your negative thoughts aside by losing yourself in whatever you are doing right now.
A lot of the things that trigger negative feelings are related to your past or future, and by eliminating this negativity from your mind for this moment, you can think positive thoughts and be happy. So, go out, feel your feet touch the grass, practice mindfulness meditation, learn new things, get into the ‘zone’ when doing your activities, celebrate your wins, and have fun.
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When to ask for help
Constant negative thinking patterns could be an indicator of mental health issues such as depression. If you realize that despite making all the above efforts and knowing how to think positive thoughts, you are still struggling to get out of negative thinking patterns and self-defeating beliefs, it is probably time to seek help.
Talk to a trusted person, such as a friend, family member, or therapist, about your feelings to help you come to terms with them. A therapist can recommend treatment options to help you overcome negative thinking patterns.
It is not easy to learn how to think positive thoughts when everything feels negative, but it is doable. Positive thinking has many benefits and you shouldn’t miss out on them while being pessimistic. It gives you an optimistic attitude toward life and makes you appreciate the simple things in life. You see the good side of situations even when feeling overwhelmed by negativity.
To be a positive thinker, think of negative thoughts as just a temporary phase you can overcome and believe in the phenomenon of regression to the mean. How many times have you thought things couldn’t possibly ever be good again, but you pulled through eventually? Use the above tips to think positive thoughts and develop a positive outlook towards life, even when feeling negative.
What do you do to think positive thoughts when everything feels negative or overwhelming?
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