No matter how much you try, at times it becomes so difficult to get out of your head that it is borderline obnoxious. It feels as if you are trapped somewhere and nothing helps you escape. However, there are some real effective tips, you must try before you give up on yourself. So, if you want to know how to divert your mind from bad thoughts, you’re in the right place.
Negative thinking occurs when we look at things from a small perspective. Human brains tend to pinpoint smaller obstacles that can go wrong in situations that are important to us. So when these things happen, gravitate it towards a bigger perception. You will start noticing how absurd some of your bad thoughts are- almost instantly.
Some issues will not be solved even if you put on a brave face and smile all day, to be honest. If you really want to make things right, patience and willpower are very much needed in this journey towards positivity. Things will surely get better if you are totally invested in the processes mentioned below. So, read carefully and practice the ones you’re comfortable with.
Identifying Your Negative Thought Patterns
Firstly, before you can fix your negative thoughts, you have to identify them. Some thoughts may seem harmless at first, but in the long run, would affect your mental health immensely. For example- “I don’t think my friends will invite me to the next game.”, or “I think this dress is not fitting me well”- are always considered to be just normal random thoughts.
We don’t think about them enough to analyze and identify these as bad thoughts. We let them slip. However, if you notice carefully, you will see these thoughts tend to follow a pattern. It lingers and broadens its territory in your head. You’ll start thinking in a loop of bad thoughts that are related to the ones you thought are harmless. Read the points below to know how to do it.
Notice Your Vocabulary
Instantly cut off negative words and sentences. As mentioned, it can create a loop. Pay attention to your patterns when you feel like you are overthinking. Scan through the thoughts that came to your head and eliminate the ones where you demeaned yourself or doubted yourself. If it is difficult to identify, then do it gradually. Focus on vocabulary at first. It will help.
For instance, “I am never going to pass this test”. Here, “never” is your keyword. When you notice this, change your sentence. You can say “I am going to try my level best” instead. It will not only cut through your negative pattern, but also boost your confidence. Whenever you feel bad about yourself, changing those certain negative vocabulary to something positive will help.
Catastrophizing is when you only think that everything will go wrong in your life. You start to believe that nothing good can ever happen to you. It also involves your mind exaggerating situations and making it worse than what it really is. This condition is fairly common among people who doubt themselves. It is difficult to say what triggers it, but dismissing it is quite easy.
Therapy is always a good decision because in most cases, catastrophizing is a symptom of mental illness. If you think your situation does not require therapy, then you can always go for meditation. A healthy diet, exercise, and a positive mindset will definitely help you when you face these sorts of things. You are what you choose to do, so be good to your body and mind.
Polarizing means, either you see the world in white or black. There is no in-between. To be clearer, you are the type of person who would either expect everything to be good or everything to be bad. You don’t know how to balance your expectations. It is considered to be one sort of cognitive distortion. This ‘reasoning mistake’ can make people feel very distressed.
This process of thinking is highly incorrect. If you only put things on the bad side, there would be consequences too, right? Irrational fear, emotional blockage, victimizing, and more is just some of the few things that happen. So, Balance your expectations from life. Not everything is good, nor bad. Remind yourself over and over whenever you feel you’re polarizing situations.
Break Your Chain of Bad Thoughts
When you are going through your chain of bad thoughts, it is quite impossible to identify it and track it. For example- “I am so bad at math, I won’t pass this semester. Oh my god, what if I fail the other courses too? Will I be unemployed and homeless?” Do you see the pattern here? It can go on for minutes and even hours sometimes. Trace back when this happens, and breathe.
Breaking the chain is only possible when you stop yourself at the beginning only. Hold yourself back whenever you start doubting something. It takes time and effort. Slowly with each chain, invest yourself into searching for the reasons behind why you keep falling back into the loop. Identify your fears, and work for the betterment of those. It will help in the long run too.
Tips On How to Divert Your Mind
After identifying your bad thoughts, diverting your mind is the next step. Do not dawdle on the things you noticed about yourself while in the identification process. It is okay if you see you were not handling things as swiftly as you thought you were. Everyone at one point in their lives has faced it, and you are not alone. Be brave and challenge yourself that you will do better.
Some tips mentioned down below are a bit time-consuming. These are not the tips that will make you feel better in five minutes and make you feel worse than before after. These tips are real and super effective. Hence, it needs patience and active participation. It will help you be more aware of your situation while helping you to divert your mind when you need it.
1. Remove Bad Thoughts
Start your day with a positive mindset. After waking up, make your bed. You will notice, you are instantly energized and will have the mindset to work more. Make yourself a good cup of coffee and sit down. Don’t rush to go to work. If necessary, wake up early and spend some time alone. The small things such as the smell of fresh coffee, will make a big difference in your mood.
Put on your favourite music and jam out while getting ready. Meditate or exercise for at least 15 minutes before you head out of home. The production of dopamine after these activities will help to reduce your stress and depression throughout the day. If the day starts better, chances are for the rest of the day, you will have lesser bad thoughts in your mind.
2. Reverse Your Thoughts
If you are one of those people who are more prone to catastrophizing, then this can be a good exercise for you. Try to remember, there is always a bright side to a bad situation. Focusing on the positives for a change, would make the situations you worry about seem less problematic. To do this, you must reframe your overthinking patterns one by one.
Turn your “can’ts” into “cans”. Believe in your abilities to achieve anything your heart desires. Also, as you tend to overthink the bad stuff, try limiting yourself when you want to achieve something. Do it little by little, so if you ever fail, you know it would not matter as much. You can start again tomorrow. In this way, you can ditch the thoughts that you are not capable.
3. Calm Your Mind
When you come back home after a long day, decluttering is very important. No matter if you had a good day or bad, get in touch with yourself at the end of the day. Evaluate your feelings and arrange them. Reward yourself for the things that made you proud and learn from your mistakes. Find a peaceful place in your home, and do the things that you enjoy for relaxing.
In the meantime, you can also try writing about your day in your journal. Write the things that made you feel good or things that you are thankful for. Mentally evaluate your day and try to think of the things you would do to make your days even better tomorrow. Through this, the peace you’ll find within yourself will be the ultimate comfort after your exhausting days.
4. Ask Yourself The Right Questions
Negative questions such as- “why can’t I be more positive?” or “why don’t my relationships ever last?” can trigger your overthinking patterns even more. Avoid asking yourself these kinds of questions. Instead, try to be more solution-oriented. Ask yourself questions like – “What can I do to be more positive?” and “What is needed of me to keep my relationships healthier?”
Asking yourself the wrong questions will never solve your problems. Your main target should be building questions that will provide you more ideas on how to stop your overthinking. As stopping bad thoughts is not easy or genetically gifted, you have to trick yourself into being more active in this process. Aligning your choices of questions might help.
5. Monitor Your Reactions
It is completely okay to have bad thoughts even after you practice controlling it every day. Although it is not okay to blame yourself or pity yourself for it. Many of these thoughts can control you because of the way you react to them. When you shame yourself and be upset over these, remind yourself that you are handling these thoughts the power to control your happiness.
Hence be careful and do not react that way. Learn to be ‘okay’ with it. As long as you’re conscious about the fact that these are only bad thoughts and are not in any way controlling your present or future- you are good to go. Realization, in this case, is the key factor to monitor your reactions. Once you can master your reactions, your bad thoughts will be in your control.
6. Fight Your Compulsions
Do you eat a bag of chips or start binging TV series because you wanted to distract yourself from bad thoughts? You are not alone, so do not worry! We all have these small compulsions we tend to follow when we become overwhelmed with our thought process. While some of them are harmless, some make you guilty of your choices. You probably know this by now.
So when I say, it’s better to fight your compulsions rather than feeling gross at the end of the day, you will agree with me. Make small choices at first. Instead of a full bag of potato chips, take half of it in a bowl, and put the rest away. In this way, you will have a hefty control over your calorie intake too. As mentioned in the previous tip, a healthy diet is essential to control bad thoughts.
7. Let Go of the Past
Again, overthinking often involves the past. As human beings, we tend to reflect on what we have done before and evaluate our actions. But for overthinkers, when they reflect, it also brings a lot of regret and trauma to the table for them. They tend to forget that the past is in the past, and it is gone. Something that is beyond repair, should have the ability to control minds.
You have to move on from it. There is no point in being stuck somewhere in the past and constantly worrying about it. Whenever you feel trapped in your head, whether for your past mistakes or trauma, remind yourself that you do not possess the power to change it now. Bring yourself back to the present and look for solutions instead, so you don’t repeat it.
8. Share Your Thoughts With Friends
As an overthinker, I am sure you feel very uncomfortable around your friends when you think of sharing your thoughts. Probably a lot of things come to your mind such as- “what if I am annoying them?”, “What if they don’t care about struggles?”, “What if they think I am a weak person?”. All of the “what ifs’ ” you feel are understandable and do have credit to it.
Choose one friend wisely, who will understand your struggles. Who will not shame you for the things your head makes you believe. It is not needed to have a bunch of friends to understand you. You only need one person who keeps it real with you all the time. Make that friend your motivation. Learn from them and make pacts that you would try to do your best in everywhere.
9. Develop Healthy Habits
Our world now is very technology dependent. We rarely exercise even after knowing how important it is. We order food in, and consume high cholesterol knowing full well how harmful it is. These are some of the silent reasons why so many people suffer from anxiety and depression. If you want to get rid of your negative thoughts, you must start living healthy too.
Eating your daily vegetables and doing your daily exercises is one of the most effective things you can do to divert your mind. It will keep your body healthy; and as the saying goes- a healthy body is the home of a healthy mind. Eating right and exercise will help release hormones such as- Dopamine and Serotonin which help you combat your mental pressure or illness naturally.
Benefits of Diverting Your Mind from Bad Thoughts
Nothing feels better than rescuing yourself from the grim dark place of your head. It is a victorious feeling. If you want to achieve it or have achieved it, be extremely proud of yourself! When negative thoughts stop dominating your life, you become the absolute best version of yourself. You will have lesser conflicts with people and even with yourself. You will be happier.
Also, you will start sleeping better at night and feel lighter in the days. The inner peace you will have within yourself will guide you to do better everyday. You will be more in control of your actions and reactions of things that were difficult for you before. A new sense of mental strength and self-confidence will be present in you. You will be happier and calmer than ever.
To sum up what has been stated above so far- real solutions to divert your mind needs some time and consistent effort. If you work for it, you will surely achieve it. Only after the identification process of your bad thoughts, you can go for the solutions. Take your time for it.
I hope now you know how to divert mind from bad thoughts by the provided tips. Stay safe and cheers!