10 Ways To Clear Your Mind & Overcome Negative Thinking
The rapid and unexpected changes in daily life can wear down your mental well-being. When you’re not at your best—either physically or mentally—you’re more likely to find yourself struggling with even the simplest of tasks or lacking the focus needed to get through the day. When that happens, it’s often too easy to get discouraged and overwhelmed by negative thoughts.
The key to staying on top of your mental health is finding ways to clear your head. This can help lessen the burden on your mind, helping you return to work and stay calm even in the face of stressful situations. Below is a list of ways you can overcome these mental obstacles and pave the way for healthier thinking.
1) Process your feelings
There is a common misconception that overcoming negative thoughts involves ignoring said thoughts or denying their existence. This can provide temporary relief but ultimately contribute to the overall buildup of negative thoughts, which may cause a more severe breakdown later on. Instead, take the time to process how you feel in the situation. Aside from letting your negative feelings pass, it’s good to take the time to examine what led you to feel this way in the first place.
2) Reframe your thoughts
After processing your feelings, the next step is to reframe your thoughts. It’s too easy to get caught up in the disadvantages and downsides of an experience, dragging down your mental state even further. To avoid this from happening, change your perspective on what has occurred. Reframing your thoughts more realistically and positively not only uplifts your mood but can also help you in coming up with a solution.
3) Keep a journal
You may not have the luxury of time to process your feelings or reframe your thoughts as they occur. Writing down the events of the day can be an ideal way to help you get through your feelings and review the situation at a time that is more convenient for you. Additionally, making a habit of writing in your journal before bed can help avoid dwelling on your problems even when you should be resting.
4) Practice meditation
Meditation is an effective way to clear your mind of any negative or intrusive thoughts, allowing you to find your center and facilitate calmness and focus during and after the session.
Before you start meditating, find a quiet place where you can sit and relax. There are many ways to meditate: doing measured breathing, listening to special meditation music, praying, and many others. It may be challenging to get it right the first time, but with trial and error, you can find a method that suits you.
5) Fix your body language
Your body may be reflecting your mental state through certain gestures or postures. When stuck in a negative situation, take a moment to pay attention to how your body is positioned. Is your face stuck in a hard frown? Are your brows furrowed? Are you hunched over in your seat? By releasing your body from these gestures, you let go of the physical tension that you’ve unwittingly held. This can lead to further observation and reflection to let go of the mental tension that you’re carrying.
6) Talk to a trusted friend
As the old saying goes, no man is an island. Bearing the weight of your troubles on your own can make you feel weak and weary. You may even feel frustrated by being unable to find a solution to your worries. By talking to another person, you’re able to work out your thoughts and feelings better. You’re also allowing yourself to be vulnerable in a safe space without judgment, making it easier to express yourself and even come up with ways to address your problems.
7) Take a social media break
Social media moves at an incredible pace—not only do you get the latest news in the blink of an eye, but you also get to be connected to updates and thoughts of people, from within your community to strangers across the globe. This can be overwhelming, especially when you’re struggling with stressful or negative thoughts. Logging off from your social media pages or even shutting your digital devices off for a few hours can help you clear your mind and steer clear of posts or interactions that may aggravate your feelings.
8) Get active
Moving your body does a number of things when you’re stressed or sad. First, it gives you the feeling of progress and not being stuck in a situation, albeit in a more physical sense. Second, it can help you focus on your body, breathing, and surroundings, instead of dwelling on the negatives. Third, it helps reduce the physical tension in your body by stretching your muscles. Getting active can be as simple as taking a walk outside, hitting the gym, or getting some serious exercise time. Deciding on what to do is a matter of knowing what you’re capable of and what is safe to perform at the moment.
9) Find a good distraction
Ruminating on your problems and stress can bring you back into a downward spiral that will be difficult for you to bounce back from. In some cases, the best course of action is to work your mind with something unrelated to the situation. Reading a good book, watching a series on Netflix, or even doing chores can take your mind off of your worries and provide you with something more productive and positive to focus on.
10) Do something you enjoy
Aside from doing something to distract yourself from the negative thoughts, picking an activity that you enjoy can bring more positive feelings to the forefront of your thoughts, too. From there, you can face your situation with a better outlook. Pick back up on your hobbies or indulge in some creative activities that can both keep you busy and spark joy. Not only does this effectively calm you down, but it also creates good feelings that you can focus on instead.
Unfortunately, life isn’t perfect and negative thoughts will be an unavoidable part of it. However, keeping in mind the techniques to clear your head and overcome them is what will help you overcome them. In the long run, facing your problems the right way will pay off better for you and those around you.
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