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Five things you can do to steer clear of negative thoughts

We all think, analyse and take action. While the act of thinking is natural, which we all indulge in from time-to-time, constant negative thoughts can wreak havoc in our life, and affect our physical and mental well-being.

To put it in simple words, Arouba Kabir, Mental Health Counsellor & Founder of Enso Wellness, explained that our mental health is a depiction of our sanity. There is something called the cognitive triangle, which talks about how our thoughts impact our feelings, and our feelings impact our behaviours and the triangle keeps going.

“Thus our goal should be to keep making a conscious effort to improve our thought process. Give up the habit of constantly thinking about the future which could be scary because it is an unknown territory for each one of us causing anxiety and preventing us from making the right, productive decisions in the present,” she said.

Give up the habit of constantly thinking about the future. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

While we can’t dictate our thought process, we can definitely change the thought process we have created which definitely hampers our life. Kabir shared the following ways you can deal with negative thoughts and hit a delete button.

Also Read | Matters of the Mind: How to stop negative thoughts

Recognise thought distortionsThe expert suggested recognising the distorted thoughts and learning to challenge them. “Our mind’s job is to protect us– now based on the past experiences it will try to protect us the way it knows, and which most of the time is to convince us of something that isn’t really true including overestimating the fears or the challenges and underestimating the capacity or capability of handling them,” she explained.

Stop comparisonsMost of us have a habit of judging or criticising ourselves and all this happens subconsciously or unconsciously. Constant comparison with others will lead to constant feelings of failing, rejection, and not being good enough.

“Know that everybody’s journey is different, if I have to compare myself with anyone then it should be my current version vs the past and make notes of my achievements and recognitions,” she said.

Focus on your strengthsIt is not unusual for us to dwell on the past and keep thinking about the mistakes and negative aspects of life. But, as per the expert, the more we focus on life’s negative aspects, the more we become anxious. “It’s very important to focus on the positives which will make you feel better about yourself and that shall give you a new outlook towards life,” she added.

Also Read | Here’s how you can stop negative thinking

Realistic goalsEverybody has goals in life. While realistic goals may be easier to achieve, setting unrealistic goals and then not achieving them may give you a sense of unfulfillment.

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Kabir suggested starting by setting small realistic goals for all areas of your life. The goals’ accomplishment would give a sense of upliftment and happiness. “The goals can be as simple as getting up early and taking an early morning walk, meditating for 30 mins every day to reclaim your balance and stability, journaling before you hit the bed to instil a sense of gratitude before sleeping etc,” she added

Seek professional helpIf you are unable to manage your thoughts or find that they are interfering with your ability to meet your daily responsibilities or enjoy life then it is suggested to see a counsellor. “Counselling and therapy can help you reduce emotional suffering and experience self-growth,” she explained.

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