Life can be challenging at times. This past weekend, it was definitely a challenge for me. Saturday was an incredible day. I was making strides towards overcoming challenges that I have always had a hard time with and felt as if I was on top of the world.
Sunday, on the other hand, was a completely different story. I woke up feeling anxious, feeling down on myself, and was left wondering if the progress that I had made just 24 hours earlier was nothing but a short-lived burst of change. Sunday left me questioning myself, beating myself up, and wondering if I would ever truly overcome the negative thoughts that live inside of my head.
Everybody experiences negative emotions. It’s human nature to feel stuck at times. There are days in which it is difficult to focus on anything positive because my mind has become so fixated on the negative emotions that are rushing through it.
Most of our negative thoughts come when we are stressed, when we have a million different things happening all at once, and when we forget to be mindful of the very thoughts that we allow into our minds. Therefore, it becomes easy for the chaos that lives within our everyday lives to add up to the point where it starts to boil over.
This is why it’s very important to be able to be mindful, to prioritize all of the good that already fills your life, and to learn to let go of your negative thoughts. Trust me, after a few difficult days, it can be incredibly difficult to focus on the positives in the heat of the moment, but that’s when you get to see what you are truly made of.
Inspired by the few days of nothing but stress and anxiety, I want to share with you some tried and tested ways that might help you to let go of your negative thoughts and start making the most of your days ahead.
6 Ways to Let Go of Your Negative Thoughts
1. Focus on the present moment.
This is what was causing the majority of the negative thoughts that were passing through my mind. As someone who stresses about money, any time I make a big purchase, I stress. And this past weekend, that’s exactly what I did.
Instead of enjoying my time and rewarding myself for working hard, I let all of these different possibilities of “what-ifs” start running through my mind. Should I have saved more money? Should I have bought something different? Did I really just need to buy that?
The answer is no, I didn’t. But I wanted to and I have worked hard, so why not? Instead of enjoying the moment, I was letting all of these different possibilities of the future to steal my joy. Had I have focused on the present and would have focused on living life one day at a time, I probably would not have felt any of that stress or anxiety.
*As I am writing this, the meaning of those words just hit me like a hurricane: focus on living life one day at a time. See if that mantra helps you to ease your negative thoughts.*
2. Question Your Negative Thoughts
Why do we allow our negative thoughts to take away the joy of our present lives? Why do we allow uncertain possibilities of the future or pasts that are set in stone take away from the only certain thing in our lives: the here and now?
It seems like each time I experience negative thoughts, I become stressed because I am either worried about trying to change the past, or because I am trying to control the future. All of these various possibilities start flooding my mind. What if I lose all of my money? What if I lose my job? What if I get into an accident and can no longer work? How will I support myself?
From somebody on the outside looking in, you may question if these are the thoughts that others actually think about. To that, I will say yes. These are all thoughts that continuously pass through my mind any time I force myself outside of my comfort zone.
This is where we all need to take a step back and question our negative thoughts. Not that we can ever be certain, but what is actually the likelihood of these thoughts coming true? What is the likelihood that we go broke, that we lose our job, or that we get into an accident and can no longer work? They are incredibly slim to none. If they do happen, why not worry about them happening when that time comes instead of allowing them to take away from the life that we are living now.
3. Communicate With Those Around You
I have said it time and time again, but one of the best ways that you can learn to let go of your negative thoughts is to communicate your thoughts and what you are feeling with those who love you the most.
I am incredibly blessed in the sense that I know I can openly communicate with anyone in my family, or with any of my friends. Part of being as open about your struggles as I have been is the fact that it helps to keep a close-knit group of people around you. Regardless of how I am feeling, I know that I can talk with those around me and not worry about being judged for being open.
When we communicate with others, it helps to lift the weight and the burden that we are feeling off of our shoulders. We are living life only through our own lenses. When we communicate with others, we are given a whole new perspective that we may not have thought about previously – a perspective that can help shed some light on to the darkness that we are feeling.
Find those around you to whom you feel most comfortable with. Be open about your thoughts, communicate with them, and let others help you. We all want to help. Sometimes, we just need to know how we can help in order to actually do so.
4. Chose to Focus on the Positives
Negative emotions are what comes to our mind simply because they are the easier thoughts to focus on. It’s easy to feel sorry for ourselves. It’s easy to complain about all that is wrong with our lives. And it’s easy to put ourselves at a disadvantage so that we can avoid having to take responsibility for where we are at.
But taking the easy way out never wins.
As difficult as it may be, take some time to sit down with a pen and paper, and just write all of the good that fills your life. From family, friends, your job, your love for yourself, whatever it may be, choose to focus on the positives.
When you choose to actively focus on the positives, you are strengthening your mind and making these positive thoughts a priority. The more you make them a priority, the easier they will be to come by. That, and the less energy you are giving to your negative thoughts.
5. Show Your Negative Thoughts Who’s Boss
This is something new that I have started to implement into my life. Instead of making it a priority of mine (our natural tendency) to avoid the feeling of fear and failure at all costs, I am making it a focus of mine to experience fear and failure, or at least to challenge my perception of these fears and failures.
My hope is that by challenging myself outside of my comfort zone, I am able to grow and overcome the negative animosity that I once associated with these challenges. Who knows, maybe I will even surprise myself and realize that the things that I fear the most really aren’t so scary after all.
The only way to know what you are truly capable of is to experience it. If you want to let go of your negative thoughts towards things that you haven’t even allowed yourself to experience, then you need to be willing to, at the very least, give yourself an opportunity to test yourself.
6. Release Your Negative Thoughts Into the World
To let go of your negative thoughts, do just what you are wanting to do – let them go. Release them out into the world. Find an outlet that is going to allow you to comfortably express yourself and get your thoughts out of your head.
For me, I take to writing and blogging. As much as I write to help inspire other people, I also write to help myself and to be able to release my emotions. I had suppressed my emotions for many years to the point where they consumed every thought of mine. It wasn’t until I found my outlet that I was able to find a sense of happiness and stillness in my life.
Thoughts aren’t going to do you or anyone else any good if you keep them locked away within the walls of your mind. Don’t let them sit in the back of your mind where they are only going to become more chaotic. Express yourself however you feel is going to benefit you the most, learn to let go of your negative thoughts, and release them out there into the world.
If I could go back in time simply tell myself to take a few deep breaths and try to let go, trust me, I would. I would tell myself to be still, find peace, and create solitude within your life.
But, that’s just not how life works. We learn from our mistakes, from the difficult times, and from experiences both of our own and those of others.
Learn from my experiences. Life is too short to allow your negative emotions to suck all the joy and pleasure out of life. Live for the moment that you are in right now. It’s challenging, but let go of yesterday and don’t yet worry about tomorrow. Live for the here and now, and soak it in with everything you have. Let go of your negative thoughts and live your one best life.