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How do I prevent negative thinking?

232 Answers
Last Updated: 12/02/2020 at 1:55pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Lara Gregorio, LCSW


I believe that depression can feel all-consuming. I have a real passion for helping my clients to reclaim their voices and lives from depressive thoughts.

Top Rated Answers
September 7th, 2017 6:08pm
Go deeper into the negative thought - i.e. instead of just repeating it to yourself (staying on the surface), go deeper and find out what you specifically mean and where that thought comes from and how you would feel if someone else had gone through that kind of experience and had gotten that thought. You might find that you're able to reframe the situation and see it as a self-compliment instead. All those negative thoughts might automatically turn into compliments.
September 8th, 2017 5:38pm
When your minds are full of negative thoughts, I would say it's probably a sign from your brain that you need to take some time off. It doesn't hurt to just relax and do nothing. When I say do nothing, I mean really let your mind be free from all these thoughts for a moment. Sometimes it just needs a break.
September 21st, 2017 4:32am
If by negative thought, you mean pessimism, its as simple as accepting that your judgement of how an event will play out is an assumption based on previous information, some of which may not apply. "Why ask him out if he's just going to say no?" You have no way of knowing that. That's the trap people fall in is finding the patterns of previous situations even when each situation was slightly different than all the others, no matter how similar they are. Approach each situation as though it is brand new. Predicting patterns of behavior is useful for hunting, or for not touching a hot stove a second time, but it does you no good in social interactions or in situations you simply don't have enough prior knowledge to draw on.
September 29th, 2017 10:09am
By first learning to detect it. Thoughts manifest themselves into emotions and emotions guide actions, remember that sequence. So it would be helpful if you could learn to detect negative thoughts, and then choose to either let them slide by or replace them with a positive thought depending upon how much those thoughts affect you.
October 10th, 2017 7:54am
Negative thinking itself cannot be prevented, but it can be managed. One strategy is to recognise when a negative thought pattern is beginning, and to immediately say "Stop!" either out loud or in uour head. Then immediately redirect your thoughts to something else, whether it be a song you enjoy, a movie you've seen, or your plans for the weekend. At first the negative thoughts will be persistent but over time you will build the habit of redirection and be able to steer away from these thoughts earlier and earlier.
October 12th, 2017 3:37pm
Always question why you are having a negative thought and list for and against the thought. Ask yourself how much is the negative thought true, is the thought important and is the thought helpful. Looking at a situation or thought like a cup half empty and half full may be helpful in moving negative thinking into more positive thinking. =)
November 3rd, 2017 9:26pm
You don't. Negative thinking is natural. If we didn't have negative thoughts, we wouldn't know what positive thoughts are, and visa-versa. That being said, negative thoughts are certainly overwhelming. And when they become too much, I've found that recognizing the thoughts, acknowledging them as a possible truth, and a possible not-truth, has helped me work with them. The more you fight them, and yourself, the worse they get. The more you settle with them and understand they're there because life might be going in a bad direction right now, you might be stressed, people around you might be stressed, you might not be happy with where you are right now, e.t.c, the easier it will be to continue on with life. It's the first step to being okay with these negative moments.
November 9th, 2017 12:22am
Focus on the good, such as as all the things you are grateful for. Live in the moment and the present. If you find yourself on the negative path, refocus your thoughts on the present situation or what is in front of you right now. E.g If you are in the shower focus on your body parts and the water running on your skin.
November 10th, 2017 9:30am
One way is to keep yourself busy or engaged with something. Some of the best activities would involve speaking and or listening, as this will require the use of the phonological loop, and it is notoriously difficult to process two streams of words simultaneously. A fantastic method promoted by Mel Robbins is the 5-second rule. Mel suggests that when we recognise negative thoughts, or even actions, we simply count aloud "5-4-3-2-1", and then take action or place a more positive thought into our minds. This may take some practice, but can work a treat. I understand that the mind races sometimes, but being present and engaged in a current moment can be a great way to stop the internal dialogue and divert your attention to a current moment. Again, this takes practice, but any positive change to your life is worth the effort to make it.
November 10th, 2017 6:26pm
You can prevent negative thinking by thinking positive, look at the next event by not caring about the good or bad outcomes that may approach your way.
November 15th, 2017 5:27pm
You can't prevent it. But you can try and distract yourself through conversations, hobbies, anything that may distract the mind from negative thoughts.
November 17th, 2017 12:14am
By doing positive things to balance it out. It may seem like a simple alternative, but it really helps.
November 18th, 2017 12:34am
If you find yourself having negative thoughts quite often, that just may be a bad habit you have developed. To break that habit, every time you notice you are having a negative thought, stop and think carefully about it. Many negative thoughts are not really true or valid. If you find that's the case, then replace that negative thought with a positive one.
November 30th, 2017 7:41pm
By thinking the positive side of that particular thing. How will I be getting benefitted if I ignore those negative thoughts.
December 2nd, 2017 9:40am
I think it's all about allowing the thought at first and really analising what you are thinking and talking yourself through the thought. As you move on the next time you have a negative thought, stop it in its tracks and think was it really true.
December 14th, 2017 10:12pm
Mindfulness is very helpful to combat negative thinking. Also, changing your thinking pattern to a more positive route. We get stuck in negative thinking patterns because that is what our brains are wired to do after so long of negative thinking. Try to allow your thoughts, not judging them for that moment, and just accepting them. If you have a thought of "Oh I hate myself" think to yourself afterwards "Okay, I just thought I hated myself, this negative thought is passing through right now." Afterwards, try a more positive thought such as "Okay, I just thought that I hated myself. You know what self, I love you, you are imperfect and human, right now I am going to show you compassion and kindness." When we continue to change our thoughts with intent, then our brain picks up on it, and better thinking patterns will develop.
January 6th, 2018 3:14am
Look for light in darkness by remembering the positive aspects of negative situations. For example, if a relationship ends, know that there are many cherished memories, but that it wasn’t meant to be. Therefore, the opportunity to make more wonderful memories with the right person has been given to you. Always look forward to the best in life.
January 13th, 2018 9:53pm
There is no easy way out. You need to solely focus on the good. Keep up gratitude practice. Do whatever makes you happy and whatever keeps you alive. Hold on to good people and inspiration. It gets better. Optimism is very crucial. Practice and practice and soon the negative thought process will die down and will be replaced with nothing but positive thoughts. Have faith and hope at all times.
February 1st, 2018 2:52pm
When you think of a negative thought, automatically try to turn it into a positive by thinking of a positive thing that you like.
February 4th, 2018 5:14am
Keep a gratitude journal. Write one or more things you are grateful for everyday. With practice, you will strat to appreciate your life more and be more positive and be able to cope better with challenges
February 4th, 2018 4:17pm
You know that your thinking are negative. You are preventing it half just by knowing that. The other half will be filled up by your positive thinking
February 12th, 2018 4:09pm
You kinda don't. You can only try to ignore it. But not ignore it in the way of running away from your problems. Ignoring it in the sense that you acknowledge that you have negative thoughts, you confront them face-to-face, then you take a deep breath and try to think better thoughts. Try to find a positive solution to your negative thoughts.
February 15th, 2018 2:59pm
Stop and look around, take deep breaths. Find the smallest thing that makes you happy, and be grateful for it. And continue looking for other small beautiful things to be grateful for!
February 15th, 2018 6:29pm
By trying to focus on positive things in your life. Sometimes it can be hard to do. Also you can try hobbies to take your mind off of negative thinking.
February 22nd, 2018 3:48pm
What is negative thinking to you? I don’t think of death and pain all the time. I believe is healthy to know the vulnerability of being human. It isn’t all bad there’s a lot of wonderful aspect of life and even if it is only for a short moment, but a least let it be a great one.
February 28th, 2018 11:54pm
To prevent negative thinking, it is important to surround yourself with positive people like friends
March 2nd, 2018 4:29am
To prevent negative thinking,try to highlight positive things of life like the good experiences which you trying to ignore or avoiding.
March 4th, 2018 9:34pm
This almost revolves around the topic of CBT; negative thinking does nothing positive for us. In fact, negative thinking contributes to that "extra stress". As far as preventing negative thoughts, it's different for every individual. Some tactics work for some, while others not so much. However, a simply method to managing negative thinking is mapping out what's worth acknowledging and what's not worth acknowledging. Thoughts are simply...thoughts; they do not make us who we are. One thing we can prevent when it comes to negative thinking are our emotions towards certain thoughts.
March 10th, 2018 9:34pm
Find friendly, kind, happy people to spend time with. In other words, stay around positive people! Their joyful spirits will raise you up and make you a more positive person! Being around negative people will do the opposite. Your friends influence you in big ways, so choose them carefully.
March 10th, 2018 10:12pm
It is an exercise: train yourself to be rational and look for the positive/realistic side in everything. Our minds can be deceiving, they can make things look way more serious than they are. It might be a long process, but it is worth it.