How to Get Over Being Stuck in a Negative Mentality

by S. Grey

    A negative mentality is hard to shake. When you are stuck in a negative mentality, it is difficult to think positively, especially if your mood is affected. While all emotions are normal, a cycle of negative thoughts can lead to other issues, making it important for you to break negative thought patterns. With practice, you will be able to notice when you most often think negatively and create positive thoughts to replace the negative ones.

    Items you will need

    • Journal

    Find the Baseline

    Step 1

    Write down whenever you have negative thoughts. Pay attention to the context, such as where you are, what is happening and even the time of day when you have the negative thoughts. These clues are helpful if there is a pattern to your negative thinking. If you notice that you are stuck in a negative mentality when you are about to go to work, this is a time to use strategies to change negative thoughts.

    Step 2

    Look for patterns and triggers in your negative thinking. Pay special attention to generalizations or absolutes. Generalizations are statements that you use to apply to all situations. For instance, a negative generalization is, "I just broke up with my partner. All my relationships are doomed to fail." Absolute language, which involves only two options, is another manifestation of negative mentality. For example, the statement "Either I do my job well or I am a failure if I make a mistake," reflects absolute thinking.

    Step 3

    Challenge negative thoughts and patterns. After you have established when your negative thoughts occur, make a list, whether mental or in your journal, detailing the evidence for and against your negative thought. This process brings realism into a negative mentality by weighing evidence against negative thoughts.

    Step 4

    Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Find the positive aspect of a seemingly negative event. It is natural to feel upset following certain events, but instead of getting lost in a negative cycle, try to find the positive in your circumstance. For example, if your boss reprimands you, you are likely to feel upset, but it could also be a learning opportunity. Critique from your boss can be a catalyst to improving your work, which in turn will garner more respect for you.

    Step 5

    Practice modifying negative thoughts. When a negative thought creeps into your mind, reframe it to make it positive. With practice, it will become easier and eventually automatic for you to rework negative thoughts into ones that are more uplifting.

    Tips

    • Seek therapy if you struggle with changing a negative mentality. Therapists help you uncover other issues that may relate to negative thinking.
    • Find a partner to assist you in changing negative thoughts. Sometimes it is easier for others to notice positive factors in your life that you overlook. Use these people to assist you in changing a negative outlook into a more positive one.

    Warning

    • Do not use these steps whenever negative emotions arise. All emotions are natural and you need to feel them in order for healthy emotional processing. Allow yourself to feel and express emotions before you decide to switch to a positive mindset.

    About the Author

    S. Grey has a Master of Science in counseling psychology from the University of Central Arkansas. He is also pursuing a PhD and has a love for psychology, comic books and social justice. He has been published in a text on social psychology and regularly presents research at regional psychology conferences.

    Photo Credits

    • Christopher Robbins/Digital Vision/Getty Images