How to Switch Negative Thoughts to Constructive Ones: Maeve Ronan on Teen Life Podcast
If you’re anything like I was as a teen, when something goes wrong, you immediately think a million negative thoughts. The thing is, those thoughts affect us more than we realize! James Allen, the author of As a Man Thinketh wrote:
“A man's mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.”
Your mind is like a garden and it’s up to you to take care of it! Learn how to do that with my 3 key steps to switching those negative thoughts to better ones.
Notice what automatic thoughts come up for you in everyday situations. When something bad happens, what is the thought you automatically revert to? Is it as bad as “I want to die”? Or is it something like “I hate myself, I don’t want to be here.”
You might already know what yours is right off the bat, but if you don’t, start to be more mindful during your day and notice what recurring negative thoughts you have.
The next step is to create a neutral thought. You will use this neutral thought to replace the negative ones. It’s best to prepare this neutral thought before you are in a state of panic.
What will your neutral thought be? I like to use “I am okay.” Yours can be the same or something different. When you are in a negative or depressed state of mind, it can feel really fake to say something like “I love myself” or “I’m happy to be here,” but a neutral thought like “Everything will be alright” is sometimes an easier place to start.
Write it down. Put it everywhere you can see it to remind yourself. You can put it on your wall, on your mirror, and even on your phone background.
Now, every time you think that recurring negative thought, stop yourself and say “No. I don’t have to think that anymore.” Then immediately replace it with your neutral one.
You might not believe the neutral thought. You won’t want to believe that you are actually okay. Tell it to yourself anyway. Over and over. Over time, your automatic thought will switch to that neutral one so that you will think of the negative one less and less.
Listen to the podcast here
Skip to minute 16:11 to go straight to my tip of the episode. If you get something out of the episode, be sure to comment and let me know!