How To Overcome Negative Thoughts And Restart Yourself
Stuck in life, anxiety, and chronic negative thoughts? This one’s for you.
Researched, written by Amber & The Team
Updated on December 16, 2022
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Negative thoughts can ruin your life, or motivate you to fight back. Why? Hear me out.
When I was in my early twenties, my life was so chaotic that instead of sorting things out I thought… “meh, I will do something about this later. I am not in the mood this YEAR”.
I had no energy or will to do anything about my messy life. There was so much of everything.
And all the motivation I had? Just a continuing self-beat talk in my head. Not the best support, I know!
You see, I was just a twenty-something millennial girl who always had a billion things to take care of.
Studying, working, trying to make some extra money, helping my old parents, keeping a social life, clean apartment, looking put together, staying healthy, feeling energetic, always punctual… The list goes on.
On top of that, I had a cherry on a cake – the things were rarely going my way. I don’t really know why. Somehow, I wasn’t very lucky in my early twenties. I guess some people have it easier, some – harder and the latter was the case for me.
How am I supposed to stay motivated and productive when there are so many things going on?
And also – so many things going wrong – AT THE SAME TIME?
In fact, there was so much to do that I knew – if I don’t change anything, I’ll stay in that chaos forever and probably go crazy.
I decided to reclaim control and overcome negative thoughts once and for all. It was a slow process, but I finally made it to recovery. There are a few methods that helped me and I will tell you exactly what I did.
HOW TO OVERCOME NEGATIVE THOUGHTS AND TAKE A STEP TOWARDS HAPPINESS
1. Why Do Negative Thoughts Come To Our Mind?
Indeed, what is the main cause of negative thinking?
We, humans, have a tendency to emphasize all the things that are wrong or negative (source). We have a “built-in” sensitivity to negative things and that can make us ruminate and overthink things that are not exactly the way we want. This is why we tend to catastrophize, get sad and overthink various negative situations in our life.
P. S. This is also the reason why most of the news you see on TV or online is negative – it’s a lot easier to catch your attention with negative news.
2. Why It’s Important To Overcome Negative Thoughts
Staying in a circle of negative thoughts can keep you stuck forever. It doesn’t help you move forward, and it’s even unhealthy for your body. Spinning in negative thoughts and doing nothing about it can eventually lead you to depression, just like it did to me.
This article will help you to overcome negative thoughts restart yourself if:
- You feel emotionally tired, angry or unmotivated;
- You keep overthinking your past mistakes or misfortunes;
- You want to change yourself, but don’t know where to start;
- You already tried changing, but got back to older habits;
- You feel disappointed;
- You struggle with low confidence;
Turns out, there are ways to overcome negative thoughts and emerge stronger, brighter, and harder than before.
It IS possible, but you have to ACT.
Also read: 25 ways to get unstuck in your life
3. How To Overcome Negative Thoughts And Restart Yourself
I will show you exactly what I did to overcome negative thoughts and how you can do that as well.
STEP 1 – Get out of the self-pity role and accept your feelings
All this time I felt so sorry for myself… I saw myself as a victim of my circumstances and everything that ever happened to me. And paradoxically, it felt quite good.
Being a victim is easy. You don’t have to do anything about your problems – just stay sorry for yourself. But sooner or later you find out that staying a victim means staying miserable forever. No one is going to drag you out of it… It’s you that can help you the most.
So how to overcome negative thoughts and get out of that victim role?
You do that by turning your thinking upside down and accepting that right now – yes. You’re experiencing negative feelings. And that’s okay! You’re dealing with something, and that creates negativity in your mind. It might even be the most rational reaction to the situation you’re in.
Yet instead of fighting it and trying to end those thoughts (which only makes them stronger)… Why not allow them to simply be around until they lose their steam? Believe it or not, it’s possible to allow negative thoughts to “float” around you (you can even imagine them as little clouds in your room), yet still move forward with your life. After all, thoughts are just thoughts. They might not be true. They might be exagerated. Or not. They might be totally true and adequate to the situation. But then again – they’re just thoughts and at any moment, they can drift away, they can be replaced by another thought, they can go away completely.
STEP 2 – Say goodbye to perfectionism
I had so much experience of things going wrong so I thought – why would they be perfect in the future? They may go wrong again. I promised myself to be okay with this and never give up again. Even when facing the hardest times of my life. In order to overcome negative thoughts, you must allow yourself to be imperfect. To be vulnerable. And accept this vulnerability, sensitivity as a part of you – a beautiful, fragile, and unique part of you. This is your first step to healing.
STEP 3 – Befriend your fears
Since I was facing many problems and unfinished tasks, it meant that I will have a lot of hard moments. I took my negative thoughts and intentionally turned them around to more helpful ones. This helped me to go through the biggest tasks in a pretty inspired mood.
If you want to learn to reframe your negative thoughts too, check out these resources:
3 Powerful Mind Shifts That Heal Anxiety For Life
How To Stop Overthinking In 3 Easy Steps
50 Articles That Help You Build Remarkable Mental Strength
You can also try journaling to cope with negative thoughts and deal with unhelpful, unpleasant thoughts & stay strong in hard situations. I use this thought workbook every time I feel anxiety rushing in.
Note – Things To Avoid When You’re Coping With Negative Mindset
- Do not compare yourself to others at this moment. Please, allow yourself to be just the way you are right now.
- Forcing yourself out of the victim mode doesn’t mean being hard on yourself. Do not do that! You’re in a bad mood already. Don’t add extra weight on top.
- Always be extremely supportive of yourself.
- Use self care and encourage yourself with positive affirmations.
- Don’t try to force negative feelings out – it doesn’t work. Instead, try to be comfortable even in the face of negative thoughts. Soothe yourself. Enjoy calming tea. Bring your attention to the present whenever it wanders to the future or past.
STEP 4 – Cope with negative thoughts by planning and organizing your life
Since there was so much going on, I needed to become active.
I needed to put things in their places and I did that by planning my future. My days, my weeks, months, and even years. Deciding on my goals. Sorting my thoughts out. Finally writing down important dates. Writing plans. Tracking my finances and everything else that felt important.
Slowly, but surely I got back to my normal self and moved on forward.
When looking back, I see that negative thoughts often come from a lack of order in our life. Yes, there are situations when it’s hard to stay positive. But having a plan gives you at least a feeling of control. At least a pinch of hope – a perfect antidote to negative thoughts.
If you feel that your life is too messy and it’s bringing you down, start a planner! It is the best thing you can do at this moment.
You can check out the free ShineSheets collection to get ready to use, printable planners to set up yours right away, and here is my guide on how you can start planning your life and use it as a way to overcome negative thoughts:
How To Set Up a Planner That Fits You
How To Use Planning To Minimize Your Anxiety
How To Get Organized: 99 Ways To Get SERIOUSLY Organized
Hint… Take a lesson from my mistake – at first, I got a little too excited. My negative thoughts kept pushing me to organize as much as I can every day… I felt super organized, but also very tired. I took things a little too fast. A little too much at once. And instead of being super happy about my new, organized life and a sparkling new planner, I felt even more exhausted. I’m not telling you to skip organization – no! Planning your life and sorting your environment – these things will help you achieve your goals. Take it seriously! But the secret is to start life organization gently. Especially if you’re an anxious person (and if you are), check out my tips on how to organize your life if you’re an anxious person.
STEP 5 – Enjoy inspiring self-improvement books
When you lack self-compassion, inspiring books can be a real lifesaver.
Once I started reading one self-help book after another, it hit me: there are thousands of people who already solved many problems that you and I have. They have working solutions, and they already know how to overcome negative thoughts. So you only need to take their knowledge and apply it to your own life.
A Book That Will Show You How To Overcome Negative Thoughts (And Give a Little Less F*cks As Well)
A truly spectacular book I want to recommend is The subtle art of not giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. It’s an inspiring, eye-opening book, sold over a million times. The author isn’t some kind of life coach or writer – just a simple guy who cracked down the code of not giving that many f*cks. This book is perfect for you if you want to overcome negative thoughts, become happier, braver, and live a more fulfilling life!
You can get this as an e-book here: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
Things To Avoid When Choosing Self Help Books
I can only name one. It’s trying o read a lot of mediocre books instead of finding really good, bestselling books that give the most value (like the one I just mentioned). Hey, if a book is a bestseller, it probably has a good reason why! So instead of grabbing anything at the bookstore, browse online for opinions and recommendations. Book lovers all over the internet have already found the best books so there is absolutely no reason to skip their recommendations. I mean, they did your job for you!
Check out my favorite self-improvement books here: 3 powerful books that make you stronger immediately
4. How To Overcome Negative Thoughts That Give You Anxiety
If your negative thoughts are not only making you unmotivated, but anxious as well, you should work on dealing with your anxiety too.
I’ve been an anxious person for a big part of my life and I know how it feels. Anxiety doesn’t want you to feel better – it will always find another reason to be negative about. If you don’t take care of your anxiety, you will never really learn how to overcome negative thoughts by letting them be around. These processes go together.
It would be impossible for me to fit all the helpful information I have on this topic. So here is a list of a ton of my anxiety resources and I am 100% sure that you can find relief with them:
- 3 Powerful Mind Shifts That Heal Anxiety For Life
- How To Stop Anxiety From Ruining Your Life
- How To Journal For Therapy At Home
- 30 Ways To Calm Down Your Mind
- How To Cope With Anxiety Naturally
- The Power Of Anxiety Journal + Where to Get One ASAP
- How To Be Fearless In Your Life: 3 Life-Changing Things To Know
- How To Stay Positive When Life Keeps Giving You Problems
- How To Stop Feeling Like a Failure
Choosing To Overcome Negative Thoughts – a Recap
You might say…
“Why would I listen to you? Why would I trust your advice?”
The truth is – You don’t have to. I’m not a superstar life coach. Learning how to overcome negative thoughts does not have one shoe that fits all of us… But if these things have worked for me, they might work for you too. I encourage you to try them and see if it helps. You’ll never know where a step can lead if you don’t take it!
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