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How to Get Rid of Negative Thoughts: 13 Strategies

Written by Liz Brazier
Liz is a Certified Health Coach with years of corporate experiences.
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To have negative thoughts is to be human and the battle negativity can sometimes weight heavily. This is exactly why you may constantly ask yourself how to get rid of negative thoughts. Well, you’d be surprised to know the answer to this question is much simpler than it seems.

Even the simplest things can easily drown beneath the roar and constant cascade of negative thoughts that seem justified. If you could ignore that roar, what would you do?

Make new friends or pursue a new career? It isn’t that you have a mind full of over-eager negative thoughts.

Our mind is always on red alert to speak with a negative voice.  Here are ways to understand why negative thoughts are extremely dangerous and how to deal with them.

13 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Thoughts

Check out these go-to strategies to send negative thoughts on their merry way.

1. Identify the Triggers

As you start to observe your thoughts without judgment, begin to look for patterns in these spirals from a distance. Is there a common trigger point that kickstarts this spiral? And once you identify that, don’t stop there.

Dig deeper to identify the triggers and the underlying emotions behind them. What about the trigger is actually affecting you so much? Are there unresolved issues lurking beneath there? Instead of solving the symptoms, see if you can address the root cause.

If it is too emotionally heavy, talk to a therapist to work them out together. Healing those open wounds or bruised scars underneath might help resolve these spirals in the long run.


2. Read It Out

There has been a trend for celebrities to read their negative social media tweets out loud, and when you see that you realize how absurd and ridiculous they truly are. Try it out with the negative voice inside your head. Call up a friend, share your negative thoughts with them, and then laugh at how ridiculous the mind can be.

By saying these words out loud, you will change the energy around it, and it will be easier for you to let go of the negative thought and replace it with something positive. You’ll be surprised at how this tip on how to deal with negative thoughts can impact your life.

3. Tell a Joke or Funny Story

Laughter always moves you to a better mindset. Smile, tell a joke, or remember a funny story. Laughing at yourself can never be a bad thing either! Laughter does wonders to the soul – it’s a great passion that makes your life better because you become happier and healthier.

When you feel negative thoughts start to creep in, remember that you can always combat them with this tip. Of course, it doesn’t mean you have to make a joke about everything. It simply suggests that doing something that makes you laugh or smile is the best way to overcome negative thoughts.

4. Speak Back

Negative thoughts like being in charge. When it wants to take over, do what I do. Mentally say to it, “thanks for sharing,” and get on with your day. There is no point fighting with it as it will get louder. Just speak back to it and move on!

It takes conscious effort to follow this tip. When you feel negative thoughts start creeping in, catch yourself. This awareness will ensure you can speak back and turn that thought into something else. For example, if you put on a dress and you start thinking bad about yourself, take a deep breath and look in the mirror. Instead of belittling yourself, reassure yourself that you are confident and you look good.


5. Breathe

Calm your thoughts by taking three deep breaths. Stop what you are doing, get your feet connected with the ground, and breathe deeply. Don’t rush them, breathe in and out, and plan your next move.

Breathing does wonders for the mind. This is why it’s an integral part of meditation. Breathe in and out, and feel the oxygen fill your body up from your nose to your lungs. Breath-based meditation can also be done by silently counting your inhalations and exhalations so you can focus on these instead of your intrusive thoughts.[1]

The secret to breathing as a form of meditation is simply awareness. After doing this tip, see if you can feel your body start to relax.

6. Set a Time-Limit

Hanging out with your negative thoughts won’t make them go away. Tell yourself that you will allow those thoughts for no more than one minute and then they are no longer welcome. For an added incentive, set a timer on your smartphone. Once it goes off, don’t allow any negative thoughts back in.

This actionable tip on how to get rid of negative thoughts is something even beginners can follow easily. After all, you can’t simply shut down negative thoughts the moment it starts creeping in.

By doing a countdown, you can observe your negative thoughts and prepare yourself for them. You can’t simply “turn off” your mind, but you can slow it down to an acceptable level by cutting off unnecessary chatter.


7. Exercise

Exercise will alleviate your mood and the recent surge in group fitness mind/body classes highlights that. This makes it one of the most important ways in how to remove negative thoughts.

Smart workout enthusiasts have been doing this for years by taking the revolutionary mind body workout, IntenSati, where you train your mind to speak positive thoughts and use the intentions from class in your everyday life. One favorite statement used out loud in class goes like this, “all negative thoughts stop right now!”

Through workouts like IntenSati, you can transform your exercise from something that used to be a mindless chore into something that is not only life-affirming but also good for your mind and body.

This workout technique can even improve your cognitive and psychosocial function.[2]

Moreover, it can do wonders to help you feel great about yourself, and in time, it will make you realize the importance of living a life that you love.

8. Change Your Environment

Learning how to clear your mind of negative thoughts is no easy feat. However, a change of scenery, even walking out of the room you are in, can move the mind to new thought patterns.


Stand up and walk away from the situation and find something new to focus on. You may look at folding the laundry in a whole new, and more positive light.

For example, if you are hanging out in your room and you’re starting to hear negative thoughts in your brain, go outside the house and open your window. If you want to take the extra mile, you can walk around your neighborhood. Doing this will give you access to new things to shift your focus.

Following this tip may even help you look at folding the laundry in a whole new, and more positive light.

9. Write It Down

Negativity kills positivity so get those thoughts out of your head. Set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes and write down all your worries. Once you have done this, crumple up the piece of paper, rip it up, and throw out that list. Get it off your chest and move on.

Writing does wonders for our ability to think clearly and objectively, and you let your worries out. It gives you a chance to look at yourself in a different light and gain some sort of power. This is especially helpful when you’re struggling to move forward with something.

10. Use Affirmations

Do you want to know how to stop negative thoughts? Prepare a positive statement to say to yourself when a negative thought appears. For example, “yes I can, I can do it, I am in the process of figuring it out.” Find one that speaks to you and have it on hand to ward off the negative voice.


It doesn’t have to be a full sentence. Sometimes, it can just be one word or a phrase that expresses what you want to tell yourself. Repeat that over and over in your mind until you feel the negative thoughts disappear.

Saying affirmations is a great way to start the morning on a positive and light note before letting any negative thoughts to come through.

11. Use a Go-to Mannerism

Have fun with this one. When a negative thought appears, have a reaction with a fun or silly action. Poke your tongue out, slap your wrist, or just smile. Find a bodily response that will get you out of your head and focus back on the present. This tip can help you learn how to stop spiraling.

By associating your effort to stop negative thoughts with an action, you can focus more on the reaction instead of the thought itself. The thought which accompanies the negative feeling simply fades into the background.

This technique needs to be used daily if you want to see results. It will take time to practice, but it will be worth it.

12. Observe Without Judgment

When we start going down the spiral of negative thoughts, we are often our harshest critics. “How dumb was I not to see this coming?” “How could I even think this was possible?” “What is wrong with me?” “I keep making the same mistakes.” “Won’t I ever learn my lesson?”


The next time you find yourself swimming in the deep end with such negative thoughts, try and transition to the seat of the observer. See if you can rise above the thoughts and observe from a distance. Often, when we are too close to the situation, we fail to see how our thoughts are nonsensical or ridiculous.

Becoming an observer is like holding up the mirror to reflect on our own thought processes. This honest and non-judgmental reflection helps us see the fallacies in our thought processes. We start seeing and perceiving the things we were blinded to when we were in the thick of things, and it helps us move forward.

13. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

This is a huge tip in learning how to get free from negative thoughts. It’s incredibly easy to compare yourself to other people in today’s social media environment. A study showed that the more time people spend on Facebook, the more depressed they are.[3]

People tend to share their achievements via status updates and post pictures that are flattering. It’s easy to compare yourself to your friends’ Facebook facade and come up lacking. Then, you decide to post an update that makes you look good, and if it doesn’t get a ton of likes and comments, you get the impression your Facebook friends don’t like you.

This applies a great deal to people who are in relationships as well. Oftentimes, they do so because they’ve seen their friends do the same. If you’re not in a satisfying relationship, seeing someone’s positive status in the artificial environment of social media can be a serious downer. You end up comparing yourself to them without even realizing it.

How to Get Rid of Negative Thoughts: 13 Strategies

Changing Negative Thoughts Patterns

4 Actions
How to Get Rid of Negative Thoughts: 13 Strategies
Use affirmations and go-to mannerisms to help you stop spiraling from negative thoughts.
How to Get Rid of Negative Thoughts: 13 Strategies
Stop comparing yourself to others, especially when using social media. 
How to Get Rid of Negative Thoughts: 13 Strategies
Try exercising and breathing techniques to help shift your focus. 
How to Get Rid of Negative Thoughts: 13 Strategies
Identity your triggers and see what is causing these negative thoughts and what is the root of it. 

Final Thoughts

The tips shared above should have answered the ringing question of how to get rid of negative thoughts. Remember, the mind is an important and sacred place. Keep it clean and clear.


Whenever you catch yourself going down this rabbit hole of negative thoughts, anchor yourself consciously to the present moment. Bring your awareness to your present reality and observe the thoughts from a distance. Remind yourself that you are much more than your thoughts and feelings.


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