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7 Powerful Ways to Stop Negative Thinking

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7 Powerful Ways to Stop Negative Thinking

Negative thinking is a much more common problem than you may think. Many of us experience them every single day. That’s why it’s important to understand what they are, where they come from, and how you can overcome them.

Negative thoughts are the thoughts we have that essentially cause us to adopt pessimistic points of view. Negative thinking leads us to focus on the worst aspects or possible outcomes of a given situation instead of the positives. This negative thinking can cause us to experience a great deal of stress, worry, and sadness as long as we continue to adopt these thought patterns.

Here are a few examples of some common negative thought patterns:

I won’t attempt to chase my dreams because I know only a few people make it. I’m not going to be one of those people, so why even bother trying.

I would love to take on a new role at work, but will I even be able to handle that? If I try and fail, people may only see me as a failure. This could make my life at work more difficult and less satisfying.

I wish I could give presentations like that person. But I’m just not good at public speaking and it scares me. I guess it just wasn’t written in the stars for me. It’s not one of my skills and I can’t get over my fear.

If you can relate to any of these thoughts, then this article might just be exactly what you’re looking for.

What Causes Negative Thinking?

Negative thinking is mainly a result of fear.

Nobody likes feeling afraid, and very few of us enjoy facing our fears. But fear is the source of our negative thinking. Fear paralyzes us and prevents us from pursuing the things we truly want in life as we attempt to avoid negative outcomes.

For many, a big one is fear of the unknown. When we don’t know, or we can’t predict an outcome of a situation, we choose to play it safe. This often leads us to adopt a pessimistic point of view.

Though this negative thinking may allow us to avoid our fears, such as preventing us from ever having to get up on a stage and give a speech, it will prevent us from reaching our full potential. In the long-term, this often leads to greater dissatisfaction and more regret than adopting a more optimistic point of view and taking a risk pursuing more positive thoughts.

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This is why it’s so important to become aware of what scares us and prevent it from negatively impacting our minds in this manner.

So, are there any common negative thoughts people have? This is a difficult concept because each and every one of us is unique. This means one situation that may cause an individual to engage in negative thinking may actually trigger a different person to adopt a positive thought approach.

For example, consider we have two people. One has spent their entire life training to be an athlete and never studied a day in their life, while the other individual has spent their entire life studying and has never once exercised.

If we were to have these two compete in an athletic event, who do you think would be more likely to adopt a positive pattern of thinking? Likewise, if we were to have these two compete in a trivia event, who might then be more likely to adopt a positive thought pattern?

My point here is that what causes negative thinking in anybody is subjective. It’s going to vary.

That being said, there are some common fears, so here are some of the most common negative thoughts:

I’m not good enough to achieve that goal so I guess there’s no point in even trying. Besides, if I try and fail then people might think I’m a failure.

I couldn’t possibly be as good as him/her at that, they’re so naturally talented. Even if I worked hard I won’t get that good. Unfortunately, I don’t have what it takes.

I wish I was as good looking as those movie stars and models. Then people would like me and I would be super popular.

How to Stop Negative Thinking

Finding ways to challenge negative thinking isn’t easy, nor is it simple. It takes careful planning, patience, and a good amount of effort to truly master your mindset. However, finding ways that enable you to overcome your negative thinking is truly satisfying.

Funnily enough, as we attempt to overcome our negative thought patterns, negative thinking itself can impede our progress. Again, we need to be patient and retain a positive mindset. Life developing any skill, this will take time and practice.

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The first step to overcoming negative thinking is understanding your thoughts, what triggers negative thinking for you — Is it a person, a place, a certain experience? Take note of them. These insights will allow us to recognize negative thought patterns in our lives.

The next step is to begin establishing a plan that will help you to combat your negative thinking in these circumstances. Once you’ve created a plan that you think will work for you, it’s time to try it out.

Then, it’ll just be an ongoing process of tweaking this plan as you move forward to figure out which strategies best help you overcome your negative thinking.

Here’re 7 powerful ways you should start trying:

1. Don’t Try to Stop Your Negative Thoughts Altogether

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that what you focus on becomes your reality. This is the idea behind my next point.

If you spend most of your time thinking about how to stop your negative thoughts all the time, what do you think your focus will be on? Your thoughts will always be on your negative thoughts of course! This will only increase your anxiety and make you feel worse.

The more you focus on your negative thinking, the more likely it is to have an influence on you and your daily functioning. Your goal, thus, shouldn’t be to eliminate your negative thoughts completely, but to be able to recognize them more efficiently so that you can combat them when they do arise!

Simply saying you won’t ever have a negative thought won’t help you overcome your negative thinking. It can only ever serve you as a short-term strategy. This is because regardless of how hard you try, you are at some point going to have negative thoughts. And if you haven’t taken the time to develop your systems for overcoming that negative thinking, then it will begin to take over you.

2. Understand Your Thinking Styles

If you can understand your thoughts, it’s possible to begin controlling the outcomes that they are having on you.

So take a moment to assess how you think right now. Do you tend to be optimistic or do you tend to adopt a more negative point of view? Do you approach situations positively or negatively? These are the types of questions you can ask yourself to help shine some light on your thinking styles.

If you’ve determined that you’ve got a negative approach to your thinking style, think about why that might be. Do you tend to adopt negative thoughts in certain situations over others? Is there a particular event, situation, person, or place that triggers negative thinking for you consistently?

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Once you’ve identified the source of your negative thinking, the next step is to begin putting a plan in place to tackle the issue!

3. Challenge Your Negative Thoughts

After you’ve identified your common negative thoughts, try to find ways that you can begin to challenge them.

Ask yourself whether the thoughts you’re having are realistic. Are they true depictions of the situation? Or, are your fears and negative approaches causing your negative thoughts to be exaggerated?

Would you support the thought if someone else had it? For example, if your closest friend said that they would never be good enough to get that next promotion, would you support that thinking? Or, would you step in and remind them how great they are?

Start using these strategies for your own thinking as well. Don’t give your negative thoughts a free-pass.

4. Release Your Judgment

It’s just the reality of being a human that we all make assumptions, have biases, and make judgments of others based on our experiences. It’s one of the foundations for phenomena like stereotyping and discrimination. But this comparing of ourselves to others can also serve as a method through which we put ourselves down.

When we set goals for ourselves, we tend to look at people who have already accomplished those goals. We look and think about how much better they are than us. Why they were able to achieve that goal and why we never will be able to. These negative thoughts rush in and drag us down.

So try to let go of these types of judgments where you compare yourself to others. You’ll feel free when you finally achieve this.

The best way I’ve found to do this is to begin reflecting more consciously on your thinking. Recognize where this negative thinking stems from within you, what stereotypes, assumptions, and biases you are allowing to generate these negative thoughts in your life. Then find ways to alter this line of thinking.

5. Learn How to Cope with Criticism

Though there is absolutely nothing wrong with standing up and defending yourself in certain situations, we can all work on being better receivers of criticisms, especially when these are serving constructive purposes.

Lots of negative thinking can occur when someone criticises us. We begin to focus only on the negative things they said. We make up reasons as to why we aren’t good enough. This is something that can easily be avoided by learning how to cope with criticism.

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One of the ways that I have been able to do this is by looking at criticisms as opportunities rather than shortcomings. If someone says my writing lacks emotion, that doesn’t mean I’m a bad writer, it simply means I need to focus on this aspect of my writing to further develop it. This criticism has provided me with the opportunity to become a better writer.

If you want some tips on how to do this, check out this article: Why a Criticism Is Better Than a Compliment

6. Focus on Your Strengths

I’m sure if you reflect for a moment on the comments you remember people making about you, the majority are negative. This is because as humans, we tend to focus on the negatives and overlook the positives in our life. We dwell on our mistakes and shortcomings while brushing aside our successes and positive traits.

So try to shift your focus. This can go a long way to helping you overcome your negative thinking. The more you shift the focus of your mentality to positive things in your life, the easier it is going to be for you to think and act positively![1]

Try writing out a few positive things about yourself right now as an exercise. Then next time when you find yourself thinking negatively about yourself, either pull these positive statements out or write out a few new ones!

If you think that you might need some help with that, take a look at this article: How to Become Successful 10 Times Easier: Don’t Focus on Improving Your Faults

7. Seek Professional Support When Needed

The final thing I will mention about negative thinking is that you should never, at any point, feel the need to take it on all by yourself.

If your negative thinking at any point becomes overwhelming or begins to interfere with your daily activities, recognize that you may need help to conquer it. Don’t hesitate to reach out for support if you ever feel you need it. There are tons of people who are willing and eager to help you.

These supports change lives. So if you feel that you might benefit from them, make sure you take advantage of them!

Final Thoughts

Negative thinking is nothing that anyone should be continually subjected to. You deserve to be happy.

Understanding the root of negative thinking is the first step to overcoming it. So make use of the strategies mentioned above and stop letting these thoughts hold you back from moving forward!

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Featured photo credit: Bonnie Kittle via unsplash.com

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Mark Lynch

Featured Life-Balance, & Personal Development Author

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Last Updated on December 6, 2021

Feeling Lost? 40 Quotes to Help You Find Meaning in Life

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Feeling Lost? 40 Quotes to Help You Find Meaning in Life

Sometimes, we carry with us ancient wisdom that has been whispered through generations where we find strength for what we need. Other times, we sense our happiness and sanity have been swept away, and we float rudderless in our space. We wonder if we’re heading in the right direction and feel doom rather than the transformation. In these moments, we may need some feeling lost quotes to help us find inspiration again.

During the times when we feel lost, it’s too easy to forget the comfort of good times and wade through the fluff that separates us from the pack.

I often work in leadership and have to test my limits and inspire those I’m leading. One of the quotes I keep in mind by T.S. Elliot is:

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

Knowing how you will perform in a crisis, personally or professionally, can help you get through tough times. The people who tend to work best in a crisis or stay calm in stressful times are those who are honest and forthright.

We often try to find sense in our lives with logic, reducing perceived risks by increasing control. The problem with control is you can hold on too tight, narrowing your options and missing the big picture.

Trying to squeeze action out of undefined goals only increases the pressure. Being happy comes from a sense of self and freedom, not a narrow list you’ve locked yourself into.

Sometimes, we need to observe our life in new ways and examine it with wisdom we doubt we have. Those big successes are done with small incremental actions done every day. Who will you choose to be in times of doubt?

Whether you bookmark this page for future inspiration or show off powerful, inspiring quotes on your T-shirt, coffee mug, key chain, and screen saver, these 40 feelings lost quotes will help remind you of your true essence.

We can reconnect with our priorities and take inspiration from both the ancients and modern visionaries with some of my favorite words below that inspire simplicity and truth.

Feeling Lost Quotes

1. “If you are working on something you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you” –Steve Jobs

2. “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” –Gordon Eadie

3. “One of the truest tests of integrity is a blunt refusal to be compromised.” –Chinua Achebe

4. “The fears we don’t face become our limits.” –Amy Elizabeth

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5. “Be who you needed when you were younger.” –Anonymous

6. “We generate fears when we sit. We overcome them by action.” –Dr. Henry Link

7. “The intangible represents the real power of the universe. It is the seed of the tangible.” –Bruce Lee

8. “Storms make trees take deeper roots.” –Dolly Parton

9. “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” –Henry Ford

10. “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” –Vincent Van Gogh

11. “Stop acting so small, you are the universe in ecstatic motion.” –Rumi

12. “A tree that is unbending is usually broken.” –Loa Tzu

13. “What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” –Plutarch

14. “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” –Plato

15. “Your teacher can open the door, but you must enter by yourself.” –Chinese proverb

16. “To get lost is to learn the way.” –African Proverb

17. “Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.” –Zig Ziglar

18. “Do you know who you are? Don’t ask. Act. Action will delineate and define you.” –Thomas Jefferson

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19. “Give thanks for what you are today and go on fighting for what part of you will be gone tomorrow.” –William Shakespeare

20. “Sorrow looks back. Worry looks around. Faith looks up.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

21. “One day you will ask me which is more important, my life or yours? I will say mine and you will walk away not knowing that you are my life.” –Kahlil Gibran

22. “You were born to be real, not to be perfect.” –Anonymous

23. “After climbing a great hill, one only finds there are many more hills to climb.” –Nelson Mandela

24. “We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.” –Maya Angelou

25. “I wash my hands of those who imagine chattering to be knowledge, silence to be ignorance and affection to be art.” –Kahlil Gibran

26. “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.” –Japenese Proverb

27. “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” — Joseph Campbell

28. “Go within every day and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out.” — Katherine Dunham

29. “One swallow does not make a summer, neither does one fine day. Similarly, one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.” — Aristotle

30. “There are two ways to live your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein

31. “You got to go down a lot of wrong roads to find the right one.” — Bob Parson

32. “Anger, resentment, and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others. It only changes yours.” — Shannon L. Alder

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33. “To be lost is as legitimate a part of your process as being found.” — Alex Ebert

34. “Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on.” — Henry Rollins

35. “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.” — Elbert Hubbard

36. “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” — Vivian Greene

37. “Nothing is more beautiful than the smile that has struggled through the tears.” — Demi Lovato

38. “Leave your front door and your back door open. Allow your thoughts to come and go. Just don’t serve them tea.” — Shunryu Suzuki

39. “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” — Robert H. Schuller

40. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” — C.S. Lewis

Sometimes It’s Ok to Feel Lost

After looking at these feeling lost quotes, it is easy for someone to be confused. But these inspirational quotes will guide you to hear a voice every time when the risk is high, and you have nowhere to run. It is always easy to choose the shortcut and ignore the voice of the subconscious to do the right thing!

No matter how dire the circumstances might be, you need to make efforts and find ways to uplift your morale. Not making an effort is more painful than the risk of immersing your thoughts in negativity.

When you are feeling lost, it is natural to be confused about the next step. However, you have to determine when the risk of staying in a sad state for a longer period is causing more harm than good.

And don’t you worry, it’s okay sometimes to feel lost and not know where you are heading in your life. We go through various phases in life, and none of them stay permanent. Remember that “Life is a work-in-progress” and this too shall pass. Keeping hope is very important if you want to sail through the tides of life.

Don’t Be too Hard on Yourself

Everyone is fighting their fight in their ways, but none can say – “I know it all.” Life is a constant struggle, and everyone has to push through personally to overcome obstacles.

Whether it is your professional life that’s making you feel lost or your personal life brought about this state of mind, remember that you alone can find the solution. Happiness is a state of mind, and you alone can control the emotions that can bring a change in your attitude when you are feeling lost.

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No one can tell you what your purpose is in the world, and only you have to decide that on your own. The universe has given us life and one that teaches us various things through unique experiences. Some might be good, and some might be bad.

So, don’t beat yourself up or be hard on yourself even if you have not yet figured it out. It’s okay! You don’t owe anyone an explanation about why it is taking so long or why haven’t you been able to figure it out yet. Go at your own pace, and you shall reach where you intend to. Nothing is permanent, and you will find your way out. It’s just a matter of time.

Rather than complaining and belittling yourself, you can try brainstorming ideas to help you move on. Procrastinating and beating yourself up will only drown the motivation and bring nothing of value but just self-pity.

Don’t forget if you set your heart to something, you can achieve it. Feeling lost is not a permanent state, and to uplift your emotions, you need to have faith.

Final Thoughts

Many of these feeling lost quotes have a common core. That is, to take a step back and view yourself in a new way.

Take action and make inspiration a routine. To act creates learning, and that builds confidence, provides direction, and eliminates doubt.

Imagine what you want it to be so that your vibration matches your desire. We can’t snap our fingers to instantly change feeling lost, but we can increase our situational awareness with our emotions and places where our lives have or may take an abrupt turn.

We take inspiration from our daily lives in as many individually unique forms as we are different. Inspiration can strike instantly and sporadically or feel like a trickle that slowly grows into a majestic waterfall crashing through with creative energy. That trickle is what will keep you going in dark times.

When you’re in a place where you feel lost and don’t recognize yourself, allow some inner compassion for the person you are right in that moment[1].

You have the power to create your world, one step at a time, and these feeling lost quotes can help. You choose how you think. Tune in to how you feel and why.

Remember you have the power to be, have, and do anything you desire. Tough times never last, but tough people do.

See what I did there? Another quote to inspire original thought as it applies to you. It’s been said that if you want to test a man’s character, give him power and you will see his true colors. So keep your inspiration on tap for when you need a reminder of your purpose.

More to Inspire You When You’re Feeling Lost

Featured photo credit: Daniel Jensen via unsplash.com

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