6 Ways to Stop Your Negative Thinking

6 Ways to Stop Your Negative Thinking


Most people know that negative thinking isn’t doing them any favors on the happiness front. However, fewer people realize that the patterns of their thinking, when habitually negative, could make them sick.

In an article for UCL News, Dr. Natalie Marchant discusses her research on the link between cognitive decline and negative thinking. She reveals that depression, anxiety, and PTSD are all risk factors for developing dementia. Furthermore, she notes that common to each of these conditions is a pattern of engaging in “Repetitive Negative Thinking.”*

You are not your negative thoughts!

The mechanism by which negative thinking causes physical harm to the body is thought to be through inducing stress which raises blood pressure and cortisol levels, among other less understood impacts. Fortunately, there are ways to break out of patterns and create new, healthier ones. The following six methods are a good place to start.


1.      Tune in

The first step in making any change is identifying what isn’t working. Until you do that, it’s woefully difficult to know where to begin. It helps to start by creating a habit of reflecting on the nature of your self-talk—the dialogue in your head that narrates what you’re doing and often has a value judgment attached to it.

At first, just identify patterns, note them, and reflect on how they make you feel. The more persistent the thoughts are, the more attention they should receive. If they’re both frequent and leave you feeling rotten, you’ve just identified a weed that needs pulling.

Once you establish that fact, you can begin incorporating a replacement positive thought each time the negative one emerges. Make it incremental and realistic. You cannot jump from frustration to pure joy in one giant leap. For example, if you habitually think, “I’m such an idiot!” It might not work to replace that thought with, “I’m such a genius!”

Your mind may convert that to sarcasm, undermining your effort. Instead, try something like, “I’m a work in progress.”  This is a true statement of any of us and promotes efficacy.

 Take Care

A simple way to improve the nature of your thoughts is to be mindful of how you’re treating yourself. If you eat low-quality food, don’t exercise, and get lousy sleep, your body and mind will not function at their best. In addition, those behaviors send the subconscious message that you do not value yourself. That alone can be the wellspring of negative thinking.

So, eat a balanced diet of the freshest, highest quality food you can get, prioritize moving every day, and get serious about your sleep hygiene. Do those three things, and your thoughts naturally turn in the right direction.

2.     Prioritize Relationships

The Blue Zone studies, which track some of the healthiest and longest-lived people globally, revealed nine consistent behaviors. Of those nine, four of them are related to relationships. These are moderate consumption of wine with friends, a shared faith-based community, prioritizing family, and a consistent long-term friend group.**

There is abundant additional evidence to support the value of forming and sustaining healthy relationships, but the simplest way to recognize the value is to try it. Connecting with others is very likely how we evolved our big brains. The more love you share, the more love you feel, perpetuating good emotions and a long life.

3.      Foster Gratitude

When negative thoughts start pounding in your head, pause and redirect. Think of one to three things that you’re grateful for. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expansive, but it can be. You might start with being grateful that you woke up. From there, you had a bowel movement, that you could eat breakfast, that nobody is shooting at you, that someone loves you, etc.

The point is to start paying attention to things that are going right for you and acknowledging them. This creates a habit of seeing the good and can help crowd out the bad. In life, I have noticed that you get what you focus on.

4.      Be More Kind

This can begin with being nicer to yourself. However, it should extend to others as well. Few things get you out of your head faster than thinking about another being. Doing something thoughtful for someone is a way to promote surges of good chemicals (oxytocin, dopamine) and add value to your day.

Even little things—a call, a text, opening a door, rescuing a bird, watering a plant, asking an employee at your favorite grocery store about their day (and listening)—can all make a difference. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Also, it has the added benefit of making other people nicer to you. Try it; you’ll see. Can you do three acts of kindness each day? Make one of them for yourself.

5.     Don’t Take Things For Granted

You might not realize it, but ruminating on the past and worrying about the future are ways of getting outside of where you are. The more time you spend outside of the moment, the more likely you are to ignore what actually matters and what needs your attention in the here and now.

Life is fleeting, and we’re only here for a flash. Impermanence is something that we’d do our best not to forget. It’s not about morbidly pondering death but rather embracing each moment, living fully, and leaving nothing to regret. Live your life in the now and like you love to live, and it will love you back.



I invite you to sign up for our newsletter. It is a great way to get the Virtue of the Month and tips on relationships, parenting, and self-care. In addition, you’ll be the first to know about upcoming classes for successful families.

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Family Fuel: Ignite Parenting Confidence by Conquering Negative Thoughts

Family Fuel: Ignite Parenting Confidence by Conquering Negative Thoughts

Parenting is a journey filled with ups and downs, joys and challenges, and a constant desire to do what’s best for our children. As parents, we may sometimes engage in negative self-talk, questioning our abilities and feeling overwhelmed by self-doubt. Recognizing and addressing these negative thought patterns is crucial to cultivating a positive and nurturing environment for ourselves and our children. 

This article will explore how parents can overcome negative self-talk related to their parenting abilities and performance and embrace a more positive and empowering mindset.

Understanding Negative Self-Talk:

Negative self-talk is the inner dialogue that plays out in our minds, influencing our emotions, behaviors, and self-esteem. As parents, we might find ourselves personalizing, catastrophizing, or filtering our experiences in a way that undermines our confidence in parenting. For instance:

1. Personalizing: Parents may blame themselves excessively for any perceived shortcomings in their children’s behavior or development. They might believe their child’s misbehavior directly results from their parenting mistakes.

2. Catastrophizing: Parents may jump to worst-case scenarios, imagining that any little mistake or misstep will have disastrous consequences for their child’s future.

3. Filtering: Parents may focus solely on the negative aspects of their parenting journey, disregarding the positive moments and successes they have experienced with their children.

Strategies to Conquer Negative Self-Talk in Parenting:

1. Practice Self-Compassion: Parenting is challenging, and no one is perfect. Recognize that making mistakes and facing challenges are natural parts of the parenting journey. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a friend facing similar  difficulties.

2. Challenge Negative Thoughts: When negative self-talk arises, challenge it with rational and positive counterarguments. Instead of telling yourself, “I’m a terrible parent,” remind yourself of the times you’ve successfully handled difficult situations with your child.

3. Emphasize Your Strengths: Recognize and celebrate your strengths as a parent. Reflect on the moments when you’ve demonstrated patience, understanding, and unconditional love toward your child. Acknowledging your strengths can boost your confidence and self-esteem.

4. Seek Support and Validation: Contact other parents or support groups to share your experiences and feelings. Connecting with others who understand the challenges of parenting can provide validation and reassurance.

5. Focus on Growth and Learning: View parenting as a journey of growth and learning rather than a quest for perfection. Embrace the idea that mistakes offer opportunities for development and improvement for you and your child.

6. Prioritize Self-Care: Take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Ensure you have time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation. When you prioritize self-care, you are better equipped to handle parenting challenges positively.

7. Engage in Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness techniques to stay present and aware of your thoughts and emotions. When negative self-talk arises, observe it without judgment and gently guide your focus to the present moment.

8. Set Realistic Expectations: Recognize that no parent can be perfect or have all the answers. Set realistic expectations for yourself as a parent and focus on providing your child with a loving and supportive environment.

The path of parenting is a beautiful journey that thrives on patience, understanding, and self-compassion. It’s natural for parents to encounter moments of negative self-talk and self-doubt along the way.

However, we discover our true strength as parents when we prioritize self-care, nurture our relationship with our parenting partner, and ground our approach in the virtues of our entire family. Through self-awareness, we learn to challenge and replace negative thoughts, allowing us to embrace a more positive and empowering mindset.

Perfection is not the goal; being a loving and dedicated parent truly matters for our children’s well-being and growth. As we nourish ourselves and cultivate a positive inner dialogue, we create an environment that fosters our children’s emotional development and resilience, making parenthood all the more rewarding.

The VIRTUES give us a foundation to build our family’s mission around. Using the Four C’s of Successful Families, we first have CLARITY about what we believe and who we want to be. We fully describe ourselves in all our roles in life and determine what is most important to us.

Then with our partner and children, we COMMUNICATE those values, teaching them and living them in the way we make choices. We also communicate by acknowledging the virtues in each other and guiding our children to establish their moral compass.

Having clarity and communication CONSISTENTLY, disciplining, teaching, and coaching each other to grow more balanced in everything we do, soon becomes a way of life for a family.

Then the fourth C is COMMUNITY – gathering together others around us who desire to bring out the best in our children and ourselves. This kind of support is strengthening daily.

I invite you to sign up for our newsletter. It is a great way to get the Virtue of the Month and tips on relationships, parenting, and self-care. In addition, you’ll be the first to know about upcoming classes for successful families.

To sign up, visit the “Newsletter” section here on the website. Enter your email address, and you’ll receive our newsletter in your inbox on Wednesdays.  I appreciate your interest in bringing out the best in your children and yourself. We look forward to keeping you informed through our newsletter!