Breaking Free From Negative Thought Loops
Continually mulling over your problems or negative feelings can turn into what’s called “ruminating thinking.” When you turn those thoughts around … so that you begin to focus on the POSITIVE side of things … you’ll immediately begin your journey toward feeling better.
Five-$ Fact: “ruminating thinking” gets its name from cows, which are ruminant animals. They continuously chew their cud.
(and if you don't already know, cud is actually the partly digested food returned from their first stomach for even more chewing. Tasty, huh?)
In our case, ruminating is when you get stuck in a thought loop about the same topic, over and over. However, chewing on your thoughts and negative feelings can take a sour turn fast.
It can quickly become a habit that replays itself automatically. (Kind of like when you’re tired and continuously remind yourself of it. It gets progressively more difficult to pull yourself out of it)
This happens more often than you might think, and most of us don’t even realize we are doing it!
According to the American Psychological Association, many times, when we get into this thought loop, it’s because we believe thinking about a problem is DOING something to solve it.
But of course, as you know, that’s not always the case. And... according to the APA, thinking about something repeatedly can actually get in the way of making things better! However, it can negatively affect your thought processes and your ability to solve problems … plus it’s linked with depression.
So, what can be done? Well, I've compiled a few ways you can upgrade your thinking with the following tips:
Number 1. Affirmations (one of my favorite thought upgrades!)
They can help you turn negative thoughts around. Like, instead of saying, “I’m exhausted,” tell yourself, “My energy creates my reality, What I focus on is what I will manifest.” (thanks to Gabrielle Bernstein for that one!)
Or instead of telling yourself you’re stressed out, say, “I’m capable of anything I set my mind to! One step at a time, I’ve got this”
Find an affirmation that resonates with how you WANT to feel, vs. how you do NOT want to feel.
Make sure your affirmation is positive and empowering, and repeat it to yourself every time you feel like you’re going down the negative rabbit hole.
Number 2. Breathing exercises. This is a powerful tool! There are great free apps you can find pretty quickly if you look for them.
Breathing exercises can have almost an instantaneous effect on your body. Deliberately concentrating on the flow of air in and out of your body, can help turn on your body’s natural relaxation response, and within minutes you can start to feel more relaxed, centered, and in control.
Number 3. Do something! Find a single, small action you can take to begin solving the problem or moving you through it. This is huge! Nothing beats stress, like taking action.
For instance, if you feel tired, come up with one thing you do to feel more energetic … and then DO it.
Maybe it’s setting the alarm on your phone to chime every 30 minutes to remind you to get up and walk around. Perhaps it’s going for a walk next time you want to lie down for a nap. Maybe it’s standing up right now and doing 10 squats while you’re reading this post! :-)
Making those changes can help you feel more control over your situation, and that’s precisely what you’re looking for.
Number 4. Be realistic. Truthfully, if you’re stuck in a negative loop because it feels like you aren’t getting enough done, make sure your goals are actually achievable and realistic!
Some of the most successful people in the world have a daily to-do list with just 1 to 3 things on it. Set yourself up for success and set goals you actually can reach within a sensible time frame.
Lastly, these are just tips and not a cure-all. If you are feeling depressed and genuinely overwhelmed, I highly encourage you to discuss it with your doctor!
But if you are having regular everyday stress and are feeling stuck, as a result, experiment with the tips I've outlined and start turning things around today!
If you found post this helpful, post a comment below and let me know what you think and what your favorite tip was. If you’ve got one of your own tips, feel free to share that also!
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