Nobody is perfect and can think positive all the time. Negative thoughts come crawling in even if you mean well. It is a natural and normal human nature that keeps us safe and protected. But, we should not let our negative thinking affect our decision making and mental health. Negative thoughts or thinking can lead to excessive stress, which can upset the hormonal balance and damage your immune system. They are also linked with various mental health disorders, such as social or performance anxiety.
This makes it crucial for us to master the art of controlling our thoughts. The best way to do this is by following a simple mindfulness exercise called AWARE (Allow, Watch, Acknowledge, Release, and Ease up). AWARE helps release unhelpful thoughts and stress and lets you focus on your potential to be creative and successful.
1. Allow – Let your thoughts and feelings come and go like the changing seasons. Once you let this happen, you will understand that negative thoughts do not define you but just a normal response to the situation.
2. Watch – Take notice of the stories that you tell yourself. Avoid choosing helpless narrative, such as “I can never do anything right,” or “I am so stupid.” Instead, use empowering stories.
3. Acknowledge – Make a list and name all the emotions that you experience. Instead of using the word “bad” for how you feel, understand how that emotion is affecting you and others around you. This helps in developing better emotional intelligence, and you will be able to control your emotions much better.
4. Release – Don’t always believe in the things you think. Don’t let your negative thoughts consume you. Let everything go and be free.
5. Ease Up – Practice self-compassion and be realistic. Give yourself time and be patient with yourself. Changing your mindset takes time and don’t expect overnight effects.
Other things that you can try are:
* Think about something positive or uplifting if you catch yourself thinking negatively.
* Watch something funny or happy instead of a movie with a sad ending.
* Focus on the things that you have in your life and not about the bad things.
* Take out some time during the day to do something you enjoy doing, such as walking, cooking, gardening, or painting.
* Write down thoughts that bother you the most and take a minute to analyze if there is even a little truth in them.
* Do not obsess over negative thoughts, as it will make it much more challenging to fight them.
Even if you get a few negative thoughts from time to time after following these tips, do not worry. Do not lose hope and keep practicing mindfulness exercises, and soon they will become second nature.