Do you ever find yourself ruminating on negative or unhelpful thoughts? Maybe you can't stop thinking about a mistake you made, or you keep worrying about what others think of you.
According to the national science foundation, human beings have 12,000 to 16,00 thoughts per day and of those thoughts, 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive. Since we are habitual animals, negative thinking becomes a passive thinking process creating negative scenarios in our minds. We can trigger thoughts that have built up from previous associations subconsciously without any additional stimuli.
Since thoughts contextualize and create substance for what you’re actually creating in your life, holding onto and repeating thoughts that don't serve you can be draining and counterproductive, leaving you feeling stuck and unhappy. If you find yourself struggling with thoughts that don’t serve you, here are some helpful tips on how to let them go:
1. Identify the thoughts that don’t serve you
The first step to letting go of thoughts that don’t serve you is to recognize them. Take some time to reflect on the thoughts that you have and how they make you feel. Are they negative, self-critical, or judgmental? Once you identify the thoughts that don’t serve you, you can start to work on letting them go.
2. Challenge your negative thoughts
Negative thoughts can be powerful, but they are not always accurate. It’s essential to challenge these thoughts and question their validity. Ask yourself if there is any evidence to support these thoughts, and if they are serving you in any way. More often than not, you’ll find that negative thoughts are not rooted in reality, and they don’t serve you in any positive way.
3. Reframe your thoughts
Once you have identified your negative thoughts, try reframing them into something more positive. For example, if you find yourself thinking, “I’ll never be good enough,” reframe it into something more positive, like, “I am enough just the way I am, and I’m always growing and improving.” This simple reframing can help you shift your mindset and start focusing on the positive aspects of your life.
4. Practice mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness can help you let go of negative thoughts by helping you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. When you notice a negative thought, try to observe it without judgment and let it go. Remember, you are not your thoughts, and you don’t have to let them control you.
5. Cultivate self-compassion
Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion. Negative thoughts can be self-critical and judgmental, which can be damaging to your self-esteem. When you practice self-compassion, you are more accepting of yourself, flaws and all. You can start by talking to yourself as you would a friend, with kindness and understanding.
Negative thoughts can be powerful, but they don’t have to control you. By recognizing, challenging, and reframing negative thoughts, practicing mindfulness and self-compassion, you can let go of thoughts that don’t serve you and live a more positive and fulfilling life. Remember, it’s a process, and it takes time, but with practice and persistence, you can let go of negative thoughts and start focusing on the positive aspects of your life.