3 Exercises to Stop Negative Thoughts

meditation mental health self-care Sep 22, 2020

Did you know that we have around 80,000 thoughts per day? Did you know that 60,000 of those thoughts are repetitive thoughts? Did you know that 40,000 of those daily thoughts are negative thoughts? That's a lot of nonsense whirling through our minds every single day. It's no wonder so many of us feel anxious, depressed and beaten down by our own internal dialogue.

So what's the solution? Awareness and practice. We must identify the unproductive thoughts and practice stopping them in their tracks before they get the best of us.

1. Use A Positive Affirmation

Positive affirmations are like super-boosters to your mood and mindset. They take the procrastination out of the pursuit of positivity and bring it straight into the present moment. If a common negative thought that spins through your mind is, "I'm so stupid," catch yourself beating yourself up and flip that script. Tell yourself, "I am smart," or "I am learning," instead. Make it authentic to you, but make it positive, present and empowering. Let this positive affirmation be your brain's pattern-interrupt every time it tried to lead you astray.

Write one to replace all your others now. "I am _______."

2. Do Some Sama Vritti

Sama Vritti is a yogic breathing technique (pranayama) that means "equal movement" in Sanskrit. As the name itself indicates, Sama Vritti breathing is done by inhaling equally as long as the exhale. A four-count is a nice place to start.

Begin by inhaling for four seconds, holding the breath for four seconds, and exhaling for four seconds. Repeat that as many times as you need until you've shifted your autonomic nervous system from stressed to relaxed and increased a sense of calm and stability in the mind and body. From here, positivity is much easier accessed and the negativity has again been interrupted.

3. Practice Gratitude

Living a life full of gratitude has been scientifically proven to improve psychological health, physical health, decrease anger and aggression, enhance empathy and improve self-esteem. Sound good? It is. Finding gratitude in even the most challenging of situations takes practice, but it's totally possible. I recommend setting time for it every single day until it becomes a habit.

Begin your morning by journaling out five things you're grateful for to start off on the right foot. If you're more of a night-flow person, you can make this exercise reflective and do it at the end of your day instead. Better yet, do both and watch your perspective change to a much more positive one.

Remember, negative thoughts are normal, but that doesn't mean we don't have control over them. Grab the reins of that pony (your mind) and steer that ship. Your life will thank you.

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