7 ways to let go of Negative Thoughts
It is my favourite time of year, Autumn. It’s the time of year where the leaves are all changing from green to a beautiful array of oranges and yellows, they litter the streets and parks and make a fresh crunching sound when we walk over them. There is a crispness in the air that reminds us that Winter is not far off and there is the distinct smell of fireplaces in the evenings that make us feel cosy just with their scent. The evenings are now dark and everyone has begun to wear coats and scarves. The season has changed, so we have all changed with it.
Autumn is the time of year that reminds us that letting go of something can be beautiful and necessary, nature has a lot to teach us if only we are aware of it.
“What if leaves refused to let go of their dying leaves?… letting go lets us grow.” -unknown
Inspired by the season, I would like to share with you some tried and tested ways that we too can let go of the parts of us that we no longer need, are causing us suffering and inhibiting our growth.
1. BE PRESENT
I know I speak about this a lot but it really is a vital point if we want to live happier lives. Consider this, if we are having negative thoughts about a situation we are usually dwelling on what has occured or worrying about what is possibly going to happen. If we can stop our mind jumping to conclusions about what could happen, or being trapped by what has happened, we can bring it back to the here and now which is more than likely a pleasant moment. Meditation practice can help increase our awareness of when our mind is running away from us, and when this happens we are able to recognise what is happening and draw our thoughts back to the present moment.
2. FIND THE ROOT
Sometimes we snap at our friends, family or even strangers for reasons we cannot explain. We CAN explain the reason, we just have to first dig into our minds and find the root to the problem. Maybe it is something someone has said that has upset us, a possible confrontation, it could be anything. Taking some time to sort through the clutter that is our mind to find the root cause and then dealing with that situation will eliminate any manifesting bad feelings.
Has anyone ever asked you to not think about something? For example; a red pen. As much as you try, you constantly think about that red pen? Imagine your negative thoughts are like that, if we try to eliminate them, our mind latches on harder. Give your mind some freedom to think, it will help relax the grip on the thought so it is more able to dissipate.
3. WHY DO YOU NEED TO LET GO?
We hold onto negative thoughts and emotions because we feel that we are supposed to, or need to. Ask yourself for a moment, “why am I holding onto these feelings/person?”, “How will my life change for the better if I let go of this?”, “What is the biggest reason I must let this go?”
By finding the answers to these questions we are motivating the mind and creating a drive to change that is fed by our emotions. Letting go of something can be time consuming and difficult, we are going to want the right motivation to spur us on.
When we are consumed by negative thoughts and feelings it is difficult to bring ourselves back to the present moment, so an alternative is to change the ending of our story. If the mind has created a disastrous conclusion, we must question the truth of it, “what is the absolute worst that could happen?” Usually the worst thing that could happen is really not so bad, or is extremely unlikely. “Has that happened previously? If so, why would it occur again?” By questioning the truth of our thoughts we are able to put things into a more realistic perspective.
“Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.” -Hermann Hesse
5. CHOOSE THE POSITIVE
Put in place right now, some emergency positive for yourself. Create a playlist that makes your heart sing, ensure there is a lighthearted book beside your bed to bring you a smile, find an uplifting podcast series that makes you feel motivated and uplifted, know which friends or family members always say the right things to ease your mind, and save their number to your favourites.
By finding what brings us joy in the day to day, we are more equipped to pull ourselves from the despair caused by negative thoughts. We have a readily available option that we know can cheer our soul. In a dark moment, decide that it is time to stop wallowing and embrace the positive. We KNOW we will feel better (even marginally) as soon as we are engaged with our positive habit.
Some may say this is temporary distraction, but this is as necessary as every other tip listed here, sometimes we cannot break the grip on a negative downward spiral, our mind is latched on and won’t let go.
Practice reflection and gratitude. Interrupt a negative thought pattern by taking a walk or watching a sunset and reflect upon the little wonders of life. Keep a daily gratitude journal, like this one, where you write three things each day you are grateful for and have it handy to look at in times where we need clarity.
7. PRACTICE SELF CARE
This is the most important point here, the best way to keep our minds free from negative thoughts and feelings is to practice self care. It is so important for our minds that we get plenty of sleep, 7-9 hours depending on the individual. We must feed and hydrate our bodies so that we are in optimum health physically and mentally. Exercise is so important, exercise releases endorphins which make us feel good. Avoid alcohol and drugs, alcohol is a depressant, even if you feel better in the moment, overall it will make you feel worse. Seek counsel from a professional, if you are really struggling with your thoughts and feelings then seeing a counsellor may help you talk through some of the issues and they may be able to give you further exercises and techniques to increase your resistance to negative thinking.
What are the ways you overcome negative thoughts and feelings?
If you think this article would be useful for someone you know, we welcome you to share it. We aim to share knowledge, joy and inspire a healthy life.
Love & Light