Combating Negative Thoughts
Identify your automatic negative thoughts. In order to shift away from the negative thinking that is holding you back from having a positive outlook, you'll need to become more aware of your "automatic negative thoughts". When you recognize them, you're in a position to challenge them and give them their marching orders to move right out of your head.a
Challenge your negative thoughts. Even if you have spent most of your life thinking negatively, you don’t have to continue being negative. Whenever you have a negative thought, particularly an automatic negative thought, stop and evaluate whether the thought is true or accurate.
Replace the negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Once you're feeling confident that you can spot and challenge negative thoughts, you're ready to make active choices about replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. This doesn't mean that everything in your life will always be positive; it’s normal to have a variety of emotions. However, you can work to replacing the daily unhelpful thinking patterns with thoughts that help you to flourish.
Minimize external influences that stimulate your negativity. You may find that certain kinds of music or violent video games or movies influence your overall attitude. Try minimizing your exposure to stressful or violent stimuli and spend more time listening to calming music or reading. Music benefits your mind really well and books on positive thinking can provide good tips for being a happier person.
Avoid "black-and-white thinking." In this type of thinking, also known as “polarizing,” everything you encounter either is or it isn't; there are no shades of gray. This can lead people to feel as though they have to do something perfectly or not at all.
Avoid "personalizing". Personalizing is making the assumption that you are personally to blame for anything that goes wrong. If you take this type of thinking too far, you can get paranoid and think that no one likes you or wants to hang out with you, and that every little move you make is going to disappoint someone.
Avoid "filter thinking." This is when you choose to only hear the negative side of a situation. Most situations have elements that are both good and bad, and it helps to recognize both. If you think this way, then you'll never see the positive in any situation.
Avoid "catastrophizing." This is when you assume that the worst possible outcome is going to happen. Catastrophizing is usually related to anxiety about performing poorly. You can combat catastrophizing with being realistic about possible outcomes of a situation.
Visit a peaceful place. It can help to have a personal escape when you need to turn your attitude around. Many people find that spending a little time outdoors improves their mood.