Day 5: 3 Tips for Stopping Negative Thoughts from Spiraling Out of Control
A big problem with your inner critic is that it sometimes never shuts up. Once you start having intrusive thoughts, they tend to ramble on and on. In fact, these pervasive messages can feed off of each other until they become a constant barrage of criticism that leaves you doubting yourself and feeling stuck. The good news is that you have the power to stop these negative thoughts from spiraling out of control and taking over. Follow these tips to take charge of your thinking and get yourself back on track toward your goals.
Recognize What Isn’t True
First things first. You absolutely must learn to figure out what is and what isn’t true when these nagging thoughts creep in. As I’ve recommended in past articles, it’s always wise to look for patterns. If you keep telling yourself mean things over and over, chances are good that these things are rooted in your subconscious. They’re messages you’ve internalized from others or from your own self-doubt. Once you recognize the falsehoods, you can address them.
Challenge Negative Thinking
Challenging these negative thoughts can be difficult. One good way to do it is to think of times in your past when you’ve demonstrated the opposite of what you’re currently telling yourself. For example, if you tell yourself that you can’t do something, just think of a time when you did something that was just as difficult. If you were able to succeed in the past, there’s no solid evidence that you won’t do just fine in the present. Always try to look at these negative messages and ask yourself whether they’re realistic or if they’re rooted in something deeper like fear or self-doubt.
Focus on a Solution, Not the Problem
One of the best ways to overcome stinking thinking is to focus on reframing the thoughts into something positive or to look toward a solution to a problem. If you’re feeling like you can’t do something, ask yourself if that’s realistic. Then try to think of just one small step you can take toward doing the thing that intimidates you. You can figure out additional steps toward success as you go along. When you’re able to look at things in a positive light and see a potential solution, it’s much easier to shut your inner critic up and to move toward achieving your goals.
Keep these thoughts in mind when negative thoughts are taking over. Battling your inner critic is much easier when you have the right tools and weapons at your disposal.