At PurposeLadder, we are committed to helping to build the resilience of our subscribers.  Learning to deal with negative thoughts is an essential part of this journey. Sometimes, we allow our negative thoughts and emotions to feed each other and become a self-perpetuating cycle. It saps our energy and colors everything we see, hear, and do.  The good news is that everybody can learn to break this cycle of negative thoughts. Given below are some tools to achieve this –

–         Break the downward spiral of negative self-talk by challenging it. For example, if you are in the mode of telling yourself things like, I never get things right, I always make things worse or my spouse never supports me, stop and challenge yourself to look for objective evidence to support this self-talk. Stacking your thoughts against hard facts will help you put things in perspective and break the spiral. The absolute terms like ‘always’ and ‘never’ are your cues to look for evidence against the sweeping generalizations your mind is making.

–         If you find you are living in your head and chewing over the same thoughts again and again, without reaching a helpful solution, know that you are aimlessly ruminating. Engaging and building on negative thoughts, letting them occupy too much mental space increases the intensity of the situation in our heads. You need to break this cycle as soon as you spot it by indulging in healthy distractions, like yoga, meditation, or a hobby that you enjoy.

–         We experience life via the meaning we attribute to events in our life. The meaning we give to an incident determines the emotion we feel towards it. Try giving a positive interpretation to a less than optimal situation. For example, the sky is partly sunny, low test scores are an opportunity to improve, a tough assignment is a challenge to prove your mettle, a noisy neighbor is a chance to enhance your focus.

–         Practice mindfulness, i.e., pay attention to the present moment non-judgmentally. Mindfulness teaches accepting thoughts as they emerge and letting them pass without engaging with them. This practice once built, allows you to diffuse negative thoughts without magnifying them. Of course, it takes time and may require training but there is scientific evidence that mindfulness changes the brain circuitry and helps treat depression, reduces stress and anxiety.

To summarize, trying out the following approaches will help you disrupt the cycle of negative thoughts-
– Challenge negative self-talk
– Find a healthy distraction
– Assign a positive meaning to life events
– Practice mindfulness
We hope you find these tips useful. If you need help dealing with your stress or anxiety, please  get in touch with us via our ‘contact us’ page.

PS : This was first published in Issue-04 of Resonicle (Newsletter by PurposeLadder)