6 Steps to Changing Your Negative Mindset

How-to-overcome-a-negative-mindset

I’ve always been amazed by the way my mind works.

I never understood how one minute I can think to myself: “things are going great!” and the next: “oh.. wait a minute, no, they’re not, everything sucks“.

I wish it was as easy as “changing your thoughts”.

It’s not.

Sometimes, when you already find yourself in a difficult place, the smallest of thoughts can lead to stress and obsessive worrying.

1. WHERE ARE MY FEELINGS COMING FROM?

This is the first thing you should be asking yourself; where are my feelings of negativity coming from?

Am I going through something?

Are there any changes happening in my life?

Am I staying healthy?

Am I taking care of myself?

It’s important to understand why you’re feeling the way you do. Sometimes, it does seem like these waves of negative emotions come out of nowhere, but there’s almost always a reason. It’s not always something that’s obvious; you might have to dig a little to find out what it really is.

More often than not, that uninvited negativity comes from a place of fear. Ask yourself: am I bringing my past fears into the present and future?

Fear can manifest itself in many different ways.

2. TAKE A SHOWER

The thing about being in a negative, bad, or difficult place, is that it affects pretty much every single aspect of your life. You don’t feel like doing anything, your productivity levels drop, you sometimes take your frustration out on others- and then feel guilty about it.

Here’s something that always makes me feel better when I’m in a slump; I take a long shower. As warm water hits your muscles and helps them relax, lowers your tension; it can feel like you’re literally washing the stress away; the sound of running water is soothing, and, for a lot of us, taking a shower is the only time we get to have a bit of privacy during the day. So, if I need to sob because I feel frustrated, I do that in the shower.  I get out, put on clean clothes, eat something healthy and drink a ton of water or peppermint tea.

In reality, all I want to do when feeling down is sleep or sit on the couch and eat ice cream. I literally force myself to do the complete opposite, because the alternative will leave me feeling even worse. Making green smoothies or washing my hair is the last thing I want to do when I’m in a negative mindset. BUT, I do it anyway. It’s kind of a “fake til you make it” thing.

dealing-with-negative-mindset

3. AVOID PEOPLE WHO DUMP

People who constantly nag, people who refuse your help but continue to complain, people who only talk about their problems over and over again and show no interest in your life- those are mostly people who love dumping their negativity on others.

We all have ups and downs, we all have problems and we all know how good it feels to vent to a friend sometimes. BUT when that venting becomes toxic, it’s time to stop listening. When everything becomes about the other person, when venting is self-centered and the relationship turns into a one-sided friendship where you feel almost as if you’re being held captive, it’s time to let go.

Is it always easy to do?

No.

I was just having this conversation with one of my friends, who is very close to someone who constantly complains about their relationship. She’s been through their countless breakups and get-back-togethers for over 10 years and it sometimes feels like she’s in that relationship, too. One day, she wakes up to a phone call or a text message saying how sick her friend is of their partner, the next she sees them profess their love for each other on social media. Every single fight is “the last straw” and every other week she hears from her friend that the relationship is over. My friend would get phone calls in the middle of the night, just so she can hear her friend vent about their partner. There’s no denying that there was some serious emotional dumping going on.

But what do you do? End a decade-long friendship? It’s not always that easy.

So, my friend sat down with her friend, told them she loves them and cares about them, but that the whole relationship negativity dumping needs to stop. While the *dumping* didn’t stop entirely, things have improved a lot and the two actually enjoy hanging out together a lot more.

Not everyone is as understanding though, and it’s even worse when the person who dumps their problems on you… isn’t even your friend (a co-worker, for instance). It can become tiring and emotionally draining which is the last thing you need when you’re going through a difficult time.

4. DON’T SIT AROUND DOING NOTHING

Let’s face it; sitting around and doing nothing, is pretty much all you probably want to do when you feel down. It’s also one of the worst things you can do. Why?

Because that’s when all your attention dives right into that negative place you found yourself in, and you dwell. You think to yourself “why do I have to feel like this? this sucks! I hate this! why do I have such bad luck?” and you start to ruminate. Your feelings of fear and anxiety come out, and you end up feeling worse.

The first thing I notice when I have those days of a negative mindset taking over is that my productivity drops. So, I’m feeling upset because of those negative emotions, and then I feel even more upset because I’m not getting anything done. I’m sure you know the feeling; you “try” to do something (like check emails, browse the web) but in reality, you aren’t really getting anything done. That gets you nowhere, and it won’t make you feel better. Instead, try to really get something done. It doesn’t have to be anything involved; maybe get in one load of laundry, organize your desk, clean out the fridge.

If you really can’t bring yourself to do anything productive, try meditating.

5. WATCH THE WAY YOU TALK TO YOURSELF

One of the patterns that often comes up when you find yourself in a negative mindset, is constant self-criticism. You start beating yourself up over and over. Guard your speech and talk to yourself the way you’d talk to a friend, who isn’t feeling their best. Remember that staying mindful of your self-talk, is especially important during those difficult moments.

To be mindful of your self-talk means observing your thoughts and feelings, without judgment. It means to step “out” of your thinking process and direct your attention to the present moment. That’s where you acknowledge that those self-criticizing thoughts are just that: thoughts.

Sow a thought, and you reap an act; 

Sow an act, and you reap a habit; 

Sow a habit, and you reap a character; 

Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.”

Even after you learn to recognize those negative self-talk patterns, it might be difficult to change them. This is where mindfulness comes to play. When you notice and acknowledge those habitual patterns- be mindful of them.  Simply observe them. Don’t try to forcefully change them. When you think “I’m not good enough” or “I can’t do this, I give up“, recognize that it’s just a thought: “I am having a thought that I am not good enough“, “I am having a thought that I can’t do this, I am having a thought that I want to give up.

It’s just a thought, not your truth.

6. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY

This is something we often refuse to do. It’s very easy to say: “I can’t be happy because I had a messed up childhood“, “I can’t be successful because I don’t deserve it“, “why should I put all this effort into this if no one will notice anyway“, “I won’t help, if no one appreciates my help“. “I can’t move on from this“, “I can’t handle this“, “I’m too old“, “I can’t do this, it’s too late for me“.

I can’t.

I can’t.

I can’t.

It’s easier to say “I can’t”. Finding excuses is easy. It’s easy to fall a victim to your negative feelings and emotions. Sometimes, it actually feels good to feel bad for yourself for a little while.

Taking some responsibility- that, on the other hand, doesn’t always come easy. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what your current situation is, or where you’re planning on getting. Don’t let where you are today stop you from going where you want to be.  Put your excuses aside, let go of those limiting thoughts and go after what you want, even if you have to make very small steps.

how-to-change-a-negative-mindset

Here’s something important to remember:

Those negative thoughts have their purpose, too.

They help you survive, for one.

If we didn’t have negative thoughts, we’d have no idea how good it feels to have good, happy thoughts. When you feel yourself getting upset over something, it’s important to not try to stop those negative thoughts from flowing. Recognize them for what they are, and come up with a system or a routine that will help you deal with them.

I know from my own experience that over-thinking and worrying can lead to feelings of anxiety. I’m not trying to tell you that life is a fairy tale where only good things happen, as long as you have a smile on your face. I’m saying that in most of those “negative” situations, you have a choice, and the way you handle and approach them, is all up to you.

Remember, that it’s okay to not be okay, all the time.

negative mindset | how to deal with negativity | how to be happier | wellness | Happy and mindful | how to be more positive | emotional dumping | mindfulness | mindful self-talk | negative mindset quotes |negative mindset quotes truths |
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  • Kiri Yanchenko

    I totally agree with the shower. I feel so much better after I have had a shower.
    Also – the not sitting around and doing nothing is a great tip.
    I always try to at least go for a walk or meditate. You feel so re-energised afterward.
    Kiri
    Set to Glow
    http://www.settoglow.com.au

  • Laurianne Roche

    I love this post and I totally relate on every single point. Too often our reality is built on our thoughts and negative talks. It is so important to get out of these bad thoughts. I love the way you approach this theme.
    Laurianne
    http://www.getfitfrenchie.com

  • I never thpught about getting a shower, but it totally makes sense. Getting things done, especially things I really don’t like (cleaning my desk, cleaning the bathroom) are what I force me to do and what instantly makes me feel better.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  • I really enjoy reading your posts as they are extremely relatable. Thank you for sharing and I really like the one about taking a shower! Xx

    Sarah // Beautybyrah

  • Nikola Hessová

    This post is came out in the right time. These days I feel stuck in the past, what I have done, what I have not done and should, all those regrets and shame moments and I just can’t live and be happy in present because of all mistakes I’ve made. And future – I feel so stressed and anxious about it. I think I’m lost. What helps me often is just go out of the door for a walk with my dog, just breathe fresh air and let all those negative thoughts go away and “melt” in that air. Listening to birds singing and clouds running quickly away along with my thoughts….It is really hard to work and negative mindset. I think I m gonna start with gratitude journal – I’ve bought one 2 years ago and now I feel that this is the right moment to start with it. I have that famous 5 minute journal created by Alex and Mimi Ikon. Hope, that this little book help me out a little, to feel more happy about what is NOW. Anyway – thank you for your great tips Paula. Nikol, xoxo

    • The thing about the past is once you start thinking about, you sometimes can’t stop. If you ever feel lost, know that it’s something that every other person feels sometimes- including me.

      Taking a long walk and spending time in nature is definitely another good thing to do- especially if you can’t connect with nature. Gratitude journaling changed my life, you should definitely start, I’m sure you’ll love it and it’ll make a big difference for you Nikol. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading!

  • Shifting the blame is one of the easiest ways to make oneself feel better immediately, but also one of the most destructive mindsets one can have. In a life when nothing is our fault and the world is out there to get us, I don’t think anyone can find true peace, happiness, trust even. Such a horrible place.

    • It can definitely feel like that sometimes (especially lately) but I think it’s important to remember that we do have control over how we respond to things that happen to us.

  • Chloe

    Thank you for writing such a detailed post about this and not just small points, it’s so much more useful :) I love all of your tips, especially tip number one. It reminds me of this thing I’ve learnt about called “mind reading” – Do you know the times when you assume someone doesn’t like you or someone’s being off with you? Well, they’re the times to ask “Am I trying to read their mind or is there evidence to back up my thoughts?”

    Very interesting post :) Have a lovely weekend!

    Chloe @ https://girllgonerogue.blogspot.co.uk/

    • You’re welcome Chloe! The *mind reading* point you made is so interesting and it makes so much sense- I always assume things I think people think about me hehe, so that actually makes a lot of sense ;)

      Hope you’re enjoying your weekend!

  • Natalie Redman

    Great post! Taking baths are great too :) with a few cosy candles around it.

    http://www.upyourvlog.com

  • Ana

    Doing nothing when you’re feeling down can make you feel a lot more negativity! You should always try to see things in perspective xxx
    http://fallingforablog.blogspot.com.es/2017/05/the-best-299-lipstick.html

  • Kate

    Such great advice to take a shower! This always helps me a lot too – it’s like a fresh start. It can be really difficult to have people in your life who dump their problems on you all the time. I seem to have had a lot of those in my life, but I’m getting better at not standing for it! x

    Kate Louise Blogs

    • Yes! It’s literally a fresh start haha :) So glad that you’re getting better at not standing for the emotional dumping, it’s so important to guard your time. x

  • There is a lot of great advice in here! I appreciate it!!

    Genevieve | blueaugustine.com

  • Some amazing tips here! Many I agree with. I’ve found a really good balance on bad mental health days in the way that I let my self sit with all the negative emotions and energies for a while, giving my feelings a space to just let them be, rather than acting on them or trying to shut them out. Then for the next half of the day, I will pick myself up and dust myself off, before being as productive as I can be. Whether that’s taking myself off for a shower or going out for a walk, just giving yourself that time to feel and then be counter productive is really beneficial xx

    Lauren | itslaurenvictoria.blogspot.co.uk

    • Thank you so much Lauren! I agree with everything you’re saying- I think it’s crucial not to resist those negative thoughts, but let them flow. Love the system you have going and it seems like you’re very well equipped to deal with those negative emotions and do it in a very healthy way :)

  • thanks so much for all this advice. :) I think the hardest one is #5 because I’m very critical of myself. I’m definitely pinning this to read again whenever I’m in another negativity spiral.

    • Thank you Kelsey! It’s so easy to blame yourself and being mindful of your self-talk isn’t always simple and it does take a little practice, but it cam make a huge difference. x

  • I think I needed this today, but I need it every day. Going to write these down in my journal as a reminder, especially 1 and 5

    – Natalie
    http://www.workovereasy.com

  • For me, what works best is being productive and trying to get things done. It makes me feel realised and like I know what I’m doing! x

    Ariadna || RAWR BOWS

  • Self talk is very important. It make you or break you.

    http://www.yourbeautypantry.com

  • Sonini 92

    That’s a perfect post, I like the way you help us with everything. Best blog ever ;)
    XOXO
    Pretty Little Lawyer

  • I love these tips. I found myself recently just sort of wallowing in my bad days/moods and not doing anything with them and that made me feel worse, so I agree with the being productive thing, that’s a total game changer for the mind. And also number 5, that is a big one for me as well, self talk can make or break something and too often I find it breaks, so I really need to change that and follow that one a bit more closely.

    • Thank you so much, Sophie! Getting things done, no matter how small or irrelevant they seem, definitely helps to make things a bit better. x

  • Sophie Sierra

    Absolutely adored this beautiful post Paula. You always construct such uplifting meaningful posts full of purpose and empowerment, and I love each one more than the last! Always feel so much more rested and uplifted when I visit your gorgeous stunning blog :) I’ve been feeling in a more positive place lately and I think it’s due to eating that little bit healthier, working out more and I have gotten interested in the practice of self healing which I want to keep on with. Overthinking and worrying is the worst, and I absolutely agree that without negative thoughts we’d have no idea how it feels to have good thoughts. So happy to be lucky enough to call you my friend, your dazzling spirit always shines light through any darkness! <3

    Sophie | soinspo xo

    • Thank you so much my Love! You’re such a sweetheart, seriously. So happy you liked this post! Overthinking can literally suck the life out of you sometimes and make you feel so awful. It definitely does take some work and effort to change that mindset, and it’s not as simple as “changing your thoughts” it’s something you have to work for every day. x

  • I’ve definitely been on the receiving end of emotional dumping SO many times. I haven’t experienced it to the extent that your friend has but I’ve definitely found myself feeling drained and unmotivated after having a lot of people unload their problems onto me. I never want to come across as rude or upset anyone so I always listen! I definitely agree that showering helps to pull me out of any negative slumps. As soon as I’m into fresh clothes I feel so much lighter! Brilliant post <3 xxx
    http://www.samanthafrances.co.uk

    • I know exactly how that feels- it can SO exhausting! I also hate being rude, but sometimes you need to protect your energy and look out for yourself, even when it includes avoiding someone else dumping their emotions on you. x

  • Dom

    I truly enjoyed reading this Paula. You offered some great insight and I will admit I am sometimes so unkind to myself. Thanks for helping me see my negative emotions in a different light.

    Xx
    Dom
    http://www.calibeaute.com

  • Rosalba Mencia

    Thanks for sharing Thirteen Thoughts. And yes. It’s always up to us what everything will become for us, it’s our choice, our decision, not other’s.

  • Jess Athorn

    This is something that I’ve been working on for a while since I realized how negative my thoughts can be so thank you for this advice, I’ll definitely be putting it to use!

    Jess | http://acornlifefitness.com