In life it is inevitable that we will have negative experiences or bad things to happen to us. However, it is how we recover, manage, and cope with the negative experiences that ultimately shapes our mental health. It is quite normal to experience negativity or negative thoughts after something bad or unpleasant happens to us. We may experience feelings or express emotions of anger, guilt, resentment, and self-blame. We may replay the situation in our minds. We may even question ourselves and why this happened to us; or even question our future and how to move forward. These are part of our natural emotional processing of negative experiences.
However, when you become preoccupied and solely focused on the negative experiences in your life or when your negative thoughts become disturbing and disruptive to your daily functioning, this is the time to consider implementing coping strategies and tools to manage your negative thoughts.
Strategies to Manage Negative Thoughts
Here are three particularly important tips:
- Challenge Your Negative Thoughts
Your negative or distorted thoughts can feel like your reality, but it is not. It’s important to take steps to refute your thoughts by applying logic and reasoning. Ask yourself or think about possible solutions or alternative outcomes.Think about how you would respond to a friend in your situation.
- Focus on Your Strengths
Remind yourself of the positive things going on in your life that give you strength. Stop and focus on the qualities and characteristics that make you feel good about yourself and the direction your life is taking.
- Seek Professional Support.
Seek support from a mental health professional if you find any of the coping strategies ineffective and you’re unable to manage your negative thoughts. A mental health professional can be useful in helping you develop effective coping strategies that fit your needs.