Your life’s happening and your overall view of life often depends on how you think. If you always think negatively, your negative mental attitude can adversely affect everything about your life, from your health to your business, your family, and so on. This is why you need to learn how to stop focusing on the negative.
Fortunately, you can use several simple yet effective techniques to train your mind and prevent it from focusing on negative thoughts.
This article discusses some of these techniques, as well as every other thing you need to know about avoiding negative thoughts.
Why Do You Focus on the Negative – How to Stop Focusing on the Negative
Knowing why you do something is often the first step toward stopping the habit.
This is why you need to know the reason(s) you often find yourself focusing on negative thoughts and feelings.
Therefore, some of the most common reasons people tend to focus on negativity will be discussed below.
As you read through the list, assess yourself and figure out which of the reasons fits your case.
Shame About the Past
Most people often focus on negative thoughts and feelings because of situations that had happened in the past.
These past happenings may have caused them to feel embarrassed or humiliated.
If this is the case with you, you may constantly find yourself thinking about these situations and this may make you feel bad all over again.
The truth is almost everyone has had one experience or the other that they aren’t proud of.
So, there’s nothing wrong with making a mistake, failing, or doing something embarrassing; the only wrong thing is beating up yourself about it even years down the line.
Anxiety About Current Happenings – How to Stop Focusing on the Negative
Another reason you may be having negative thoughts and feelings is that you are anxious about the things presently going on.
When you worry too much about something, most times, your thoughts would be filled with negativity and fear.
Fear of the Future – How to Stop Focusing on the Negative
Finally, you may be focusing on the negative because you do not know what is coming ahead of you.
So, you spend all your time worrying about the future and allowing fear to cripple you.
Most people who fear and worry about the future never have positive thoughts about it.
They fail to realize that no one can accurately say what it will birth.
They never think that the future may come with everything they hoped and prayed for.
Thinking negatively about what is yet to come is merely a waste of time and energy.
No matter how hard you think about the future, you can’t predict it.
So, it is rather counterproductive to worry about it.
Disadvantages of Focusing on the Negative – How to Stop Focusing on the Negative
One of the things that will help you determine in your heart to stop focusing on the negative is knowing the ill effect of focusing on the negative.
Therefore, below are some disadvantages of focusing on the negative.
It Affects Your Mental Health
People who tend to always focus on the negative are usually prone to several mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and stress.
When you can’t see beyond the negative in any given situation, you give your brain too much to worry about.
Eventually, this may lead to anxiety.
You may find it impossible to stay happy because your thoughts, actions, and feelings are always negative.
Staying unhappy for a long time can develop into depression in the long run.
Stressful situations often can’t be avoided; especially for someone running a business.
However, a person can reduce their chances of getting stressed by how they react to these stressful situations.
But someone that tends to focus on the negative can’t.
When people like this are faced with stressful situations, they let themselves get overwhelmed by them.
This is because they won’t even see themselves overcoming the situation in the first place.
It Reduces Your Chances of Succeeding – How to Stop Focusing on the Negative
Not seeing beyond the negative can be a crippling feeling at times.
Crippling in the sense that it can prevent you from doing things that you otherwise would have done for yourself.
It makes it impossible for you to see or even try out other choices.
You’d find it difficult to look beyond any situation to find the opportunity in it.
It makes you less daring and unable to take risks.
You would also lack determination, patience, persistence, and perseverance, all of which are key ingredients for success.
If there are obstacles and setbacks on your path to success, you may not be able to overcome them.
This may make you abandon your goal and forfeit success.
Because you don’t have an optimistic approach to life, you may never be hopeful about the future.
And you won’t see any reason to keep pursuing your goals and aspirations when you are faced with challenges.
It Reduces Your Physical Health – How to Stop Focusing on the Negative
Focusing on the negative does not just affect a person’s mental health, it can also affect their physical health.
Your body and mind are connected, and once one isn’t feeling well, there’s a high chance that the other would be affected too.
Having a positive approach to life can help you avoid getting sick.
Being positive will make you enjoy overall health because your positive mindset will boost your immune system and make it fight off illnesses better.
And even though you fall sick, a positive mindset might help you get well faster.
But someone who focuses on the negative may not even see themselves getting better.
This would only make your health decline even faster.
Also, focusing on the negative most likely will increase your anxiety and stress levels; increased anxiety and/or stress level is not so great for the heart.
It Reduces the Quality of Your Relationship with People
People are often attracted to positive people and would generally avoid people who are always negative.
This is because our emotions and feelings can rub off on those around us.
The same way other people can become happy by staying around a happy person is the same way they can become sad by being around a sad person.
When you are always thinking negative thoughts, people won’t want to be around you.
Your relationship with close people around you like your family and friends may be affected.
You may find it difficult to make and keep friends.
These things would badly affect your social life.
And humans are social beings by nature.
When you don’t have a great relationship with people, it may make you feel isolated and alone.
This can trigger depression and other similar situations.
Tips on How to Stop Focusing on the Negative
At this point, you are most likely more motivated than when you started reading this article to stop focusing on the negative.
But it does not stop at being motivated.
You need to know what to do and how to do the things that will help you stop doing these things.
There are several techniques and tips you can apply to reach this goal.
Below are some effective yet easy ones to try out.
1. Identify Your Negative Thinking Pattern
People who tend to focus on the negative usually have thinking patterns that can’t let them see things positively.
To overcome focusing on the negative, you need to know the thought pattern that makes you see things negatively.
When you know your thinking pattern(s), you can then work towards changing it.
Below are some negative thinking patterns.
As you read through them, try to figure out the one that applies to your case.
Overgeneralization – How to Stop Focusing on the Negative
Overgeneralization thinking pattern makes people apply their past experience to every new experience.
If you have this thinking pattern, then you may feel like you can’t avoid negative situations and experiences.
This will make you feel anxious and pessimistic at every turn.
Jumping to Conclusions – How to Stop Focusing on the Negative
People who have this thinking pattern often make a lot of assumptions, none of which are ever positive.
They tend to assume that a situation will end negatively.
They jump to conclusions (often in a negative way) without letting anything play out first.
If you have this thinking pattern, then you always take things personally, and sometimes these things may not even be personal.
And then you blame yourself for these things.
You see everything as your fault; even when these things are beyond your control.
Some people think negatively about certain things because they have labeled themselves negatively in that aspect.
For example, let’s say you’ve labeled yourself as not being good at marketing.
Whenever you find yourself in a position where you have to market your products or services, you end up feeling negative about it.
Even when you may have done a great job otherwise, you will end up not believing in yourself and messing up the entire situation.
This pattern involves using how you respond emotionally to things to assume that that thing is true.
For instance, if you feel anxious or nervous about something, this thinking pattern will make you assume that you are in danger.
If you constantly use your emotions this way, you’d never see beyond your emotions and this may make you constantly dwell on negativity.
Catastrophizing – How to Stop Focusing on the Negative
This pattern makes you assume that events will end in the worst way possible.
Oftentimes, you’d find it difficult to consider other realistic possibilities that are more likely to happen.
Generally, these thinking patterns make you distort reality and make you look at situations and even people irrationally.
However, each is slightly different from the others.
This is why you need to identify yours.
Once you do this, you need to understand that it is merely a thought.
Know that simply because you had a thought doesn’t mean that thought is a fact.
Once you accept this reality, you can then work towards changing this pattern.
The subsequent tips should help you as you try to achieve this.
2. Replace Negative Thoughts – How to Stop Focusing on the Negative
Negative thoughts are not usually overcome, rather they are replaced.
If you do not have negative thoughts, you won’t always focus on the negative.
This is why you need to work towards replacing your negative thoughts.
The first thing you need to do to replace your negative thoughts is to identify your negative thinking pattern; you should have done this in the step above.
Once you know your negative thinking pattern, you then need to acknowledge that you need to change this pattern.
Then, figure out the things you need to change.
Finally, come up with a new behavior that would help you achieve your goal of being different.
3. Become Your Best Friend – How to Stop Focusing on the Negative
Nobody tears a person down more than they do themselves.
Most times, the things that make you focus on the negative are usually not an external force; it often comes from within you.
When you can’t let go of something negative, it isn’t because someone or something is reminding you of it.
It is usually because you keep reminding yourself of it and holding on.
So, you need to stop being mean to yourself and become your best friend instead.
When a bad or unfavorable situation happens, do not beat up yourself about it.
Rather, do the following steps:
Let it all out
If you need to get angry or sad, do it.
If you need to scream or cry, do it; do whatever you can to let it all out.
Doing this will let you process the situation.
But do not dwell on this; after some minutes, you should be done with your pity party.
The next thing you need to do is to always identify when the negativity comes on.
Be aware of your feelings.
This way, you will know when you start having your negative thoughts so that you can replace them.
Be Your Best Friend
Now you are aware of the fact that you are being mean to yourself, it is time to be there for you.
You now need to become your best friend and help yourself get through this.
Tell yourself the things a best friend would say to you.
Do not just tell yourself these things, but also listen to them.
4. Reflect on Your Behavior
Think of your behavior and reflect on it.
Ask yourself important questions about your behavior and answer them.
Ask yourself what you stand to gain and what you stand to lose when you dwell on negativity.
Know the disadvantages and advantages of engaging in this act.
When you ask and answer these questions, you will realize that there’s no harm in thinking positively; there are only benefits to it.
Whereas, focusing on the negative comes with only disadvantages and no advantages.
Once you come to this realization, you’d make a conscious effort to let go of the negative and focus more on the positive.
5. Learn to Appreciate and Love Things
You can replace your fixation on the negative by looking for positivity around you.
Appreciate the little things you love and even speak about them.
These things may seem insignificant but when you appreciate about 5 things that you love, you would start to see that things may not be as bad as you think.
When you seek good things, you will find them; sometimes without even looking far.
These things are all around you.
You just have to be willing to appreciate them and they’d make you feel better from the inside.
6. Schedule a Time for Negative Thoughts
One ironic way to overcome negativity is to have time specifically for negative thoughts.
Whenever you have negative thoughts, write them down and try not to think of them for the time being.
Once it is your Negative Thought Time, you can now bring out the list of negative thoughts you had and then review them.
It may seem counterproductive at first, but with time, you’ll discover that it’s giving you better control over your thoughts.
It may take a while but this technique can help you stop focusing on the negative.
You should do this exercise every day.
However, your Negative Thought Time should not exceed 10 minutes.
7. Do Not Watch the Morning News – How to Stop Focusing on the Negative
According to research, your chances of having negative experiences in a day are more if you listen to just 3 minutes of bad news.
Your mindset is your choice; however, it is not so easy to control one’s mindset because external factors tend to influence it.
So, when you start your day with negativity, it may be a lot more difficult to stop yourself from focusing on the negative during the day.
Stop watching the morning news and you may find that most of the negative factors that influence your mindset will be eliminated.
8. Try Using Daily Affirmations – How to Stop Focusing on the Negative
Try using daily affirmations to take your mind off the negative things that try to cloud it.
Whenever you are dwelling on the negative, remind yourself of your affirmation for the day.
9. Develop a Grateful Mindset – How to Stop Focusing on the Negative
As much as you think you have a lot of negative things are happening around you, there are still several other things you can be grateful for.
Have a list of the good things in your life and take out time to be grateful for them every day.
Visit here to see 40 affirmations for you as a small business owner.
Conclusion on How to Stop Focusing on the Negative
Focusing on the negative won’t result in anything but more trouble.
Rather than focusing on the negative, maintain positivity by trying out the tips discussed in this article.