Overcoming Negative Thinking Through Challenges

Negative thoughts are the greatest enemies to your success. Negative thinking can be a habit of mind. Thoughts sink in and linger there until you take action to get rid of them.
When you first start thinking negatively, it can be tempting to try and force those thoughts out of your head.  You try as hard as possible to stop thinking about them and push them out.

My Personal Struggle

In 2015 I undertook an epic fitness challenge. It took me three attempts to succeed at this challenge and throughout the Journey, I had an ongoing struggle with sustaining a positive mindset.
I have been working on myself to be a very positive person since I realized this negative thoughts were slowing me down in life.
During my first two attempts when things got difficult, I had frequent barrages of negative thoughts. Telling myself this is too hard, the conditions are too tough.
When I had this negative thoughts, I really didn’t know how to deal with them. I thought the only way I could succeed was by having a positive mindset 100% of the time and avoiding any negative thoughts. I thought if I started having negative thoughts, then was going to set me up to fail and thus in my mind, my failures on my first two attempts became testament to this.

Negativity is Part Of Experience

Then, One day while I was training for my third attempt something finally clicked in. Mentally, I felt beaten. My brain was a flood of negative thought. “ Its dangerous to push your body like this and you don’t need to do this to yourself.” I was close to quitting on this challenge right there and then. Somehow though, I found a way to keep moving forward and I made it through the challenge.
Reflecting on that experience, I realized you can’t have the ups without having the downs. Having negative thoughts when you’re under stress or in the midst of a challenge is part of the experience. It’s part of being human. Negative moments should not be feared because they are the moments that have to occur for you to be truly tested. Its these down moments that provide you with the opportunity to take action to reach a new high.

How to stop negative thoughts

1. Try to be aware of your thoughts. Most often, one thinks in an automatic way, hardly aware of what he or she are thinking. If you strive to become aware of your thoughts, you will know when you are thinking negatively, and therefore, would be in a better position to avoid them.
2. When catching yourself thinking negatively, consciously, try to think of something else, something positive and up lifting.
3. Choose to watch happy and funny movies, instead of movies about disasters and unhappiness.
4. Think often about the goods things you have in your life, and less about the bad things. Look at the filled part of the glass, not at the empty part, even if the empty is greater than the full.
5. Align your thinking with your actions. When doing something, focus on it. When eating, focus on the act of eating. When dressing, focus on dressing, and when exercising your body, focus on the exercise. In this way, you will not make a place for negative thinking.
6. Sometimes, during the day, visualizeyourself doing something you love doing, like being on the beach, being in a beautiful place, or being in the company of people you love. You can think about happy events or success you had recently. All of these thoughts are positive ways to avoid negative thinking.
7. Be aware that sometimes, problems and difficulties are blown out of proportions. Often, they are minor problems and difficulties not worth your time and energy. Having this point of view can help you avoid negative thinking, when facing problems or difficulties.
8. If negative thoughts persist, write them down, and analyze them to see if there is any truth in them.
9. Don’t fight the thoughts you don’t want or don’t like. If you fight them, they become stronger. A better approach would be treating them with detachment and lack of interest.
10. Surround yourself with positive people.

I really hope this can help you with your negative thoughts. One of your most important goals, if you want to be truly happy, is to free yourself from negative thinking.
Remember, No matter how negative the moment , Keep moving forward.


One thought on “Overcoming Negative Thinking Through Challenges

  1. Hi, Ali – I appreciate your very candid posts and your raising awareness of mental illness and ways to manage it. I have suffered from clinical depression most of my life and hardest parts of having this illness is the sense of shame that came with it. It’s heartening to know I’m not alone and that the world is becoming more aware. Keep speaking out!

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