10 Ways To Get Rid Of Negative Chatter In Your Mind
Negative thoughts can pose a real hazard when you’re trying to manifest the life you desire—they pop into your mind seemingly unbidden, and tell you that you’re not good enough. Leading psychologists say that much of the negative chatter in your mind falls into the category of Automatic Negative Thoughts (or ANTs), and that these self-destructive thoughts trigger the production of stress hormones.
This means they can influence everything from your appearance to your weight and energy levels.
However, it’s possible to flip negative thoughts into positive ones and change your life for the better, provided you employ the right techniques. Try the following “ANT-eaters” to defeat nine of the most common types of negative thoughts.
1. Black And White Thinking
This is the type of binary perspective makes you believe everything is all good or all bad. For example, have you ever quit your gym routine after missing just one day, believing you lack the discipline to stick to an exercise plan?
That’s the “all or nothing” ANT. To combat it, deliberately and explicitly acknowledge that making one mistake doesn’t mean you should give up on your goal. Further, perform a course correction as soon as possible (e.g. by going to the gym the very next day).
2. Using ‘Always’ And ‘Never’
Another common ANT that’s similar to the black and white approach, this form of negative thinking leads to beliefs like “I’ll always be overweight” or “I’ll never get a job”—and these beliefs teach you that you don’t have any control over your actions! When this ANT crops up, immediately rephrase the thought so that it doesn’t contain an over-generalization.
3. Honing In On the Negative
When you focus on all the negatives, you develop a kind of tunnel vision that blinds you to the positives and encourages apathy or despair. To get rid of this type of mental clutter, make a habit of putting a positive spin on everything you can. Challenge yourself to come up with at least one good consequence or lesson that comes from every difficult experience.
4. Not Questioning Your Feelings
Sure, your gut feelings have considerable value, but they’re not always reliable—for example, sometimes beliefs shaped by feelings just come from defense-mechanisms or ancient fears. The alternative is this: when you believe something, look for evidence to both support and challenge it, then weight everything up.
5. Guilty Thinking
So much negative chatter in your mind probably includes words like “should”, “have to” and “must.” These types of ANTs are infused with powerful guilt that controls and limits your behavior. To fight back, self-monitor for these words and stop to consider whether you really have an obligation to do something.
Labels hold you back, forcing you into a box that’s limiting or outdated. If your negative thoughts constantly label you (especially as a “loser” or “failure”) then your resilience and staying power takes a major hit. If you hear your internal voice giving you a negative label, try replying (even out loud), e.g. by saying “I’m not a failure.”
7. Future Predicting
Do you ever “just know” the worst is going to happen, even though it’s not rational? This type of ANT will tell you that your business will fail, your relationship will crumble and you’ll never be proud of your physique. And, as the Law of Attraction teaches, predicting the worst attracts the worst! To bust this type of negative chatter, try to develop an attitude of curiosity and excitement about the future—not foreboding inevitability.
8. Reading Minds
Some of your negative thoughts likely tell you what other people are thinking. For example, a stranger smiling as he passes might get translated into “He thinks I look ridiculous in this outfit” when in truth this person might just find you very attractive! Get rid of mind-reading by reminding yourself that you have no idea what people are really thinking—and if you assume the best rather than the worst, the best is more likely to come to you.
9. Failing To Take Responsibility
Finally, you may self-soothe using beliefs that others are responsible for all of your successes and failures. However, this type of negative thinking turns you into a victim. Tell yourself that you are responsible for how your life turns out—and just think of the amazing possibilities this opens up!
10. A Universal Trick
Finally, try this trick for any form of negative chatter: write down the ANT, ask yourself if it’s actually true, ask how it makes you feel, and consider how you’d feel without it. Once you have those answers, turn your original thought into its opposite. For example, “I’ll never find love” becomes “I can find love, and one thing I can do to help myself do that is ______.”