Negative thoughts and thinking patterns can quickly turn into self-fulfilling prophecies, leading to a downward spiral of negativity, apathy, and even depression. Anxiety, depression and other mental health problems can often cause or worsen negative thinking, making it even more difficult to break the cycle. Changing your thought patterns to support a more positive state of mind takes time and hard work, but there are four simple techniques that can help to break the cycle of negative thinking.

Counteracting Negativity

One of the most effective ways to intercept negative thought patterns is to counteract negativity with positivity. The Internet is packed with free inspirational and positive content, such as articles, audio files, and videos. If you wake up with negative thoughts already running through your mind, it can help to start your day by playing a video or audio file on personal development topics, such as building confidence or quitting bad habits. If you are dealing with specific personal issues, there are likely to be hundreds, if not thousands, of videos dedicated to that particular topic.

Rubber Band

The rubber band technique is a simple, yet incredibly effective, tool for stopping negative thoughts and bad memories running through your mind. You simply need to wear a rubber band around your wrist, preferably throughout the whole day, and then snap the band against your skin every time you notice a negative thought or bad memory in your mind. This technique is known as “thought stopping”, and can be used to help retrain the brain.

Affirmations

Affirmations are personally meaningful, positive statements that can be repeated over and over to create positive effects, images, and associations in the subconscious and conscious mind. By repeating affirmations for several minutes a day, it is possible to retrain your brain to think in a more positive way. To gain maximum benefits from affirmations, try to have your statement use positive language (e.g. no “do not”s!) that is rooted in the present moment. There are hundreds of websites dedicated to creating affirmations to promote health and happiness.

Positive Action

Negative thinking can result in apathy and inaction, which can lead to a worsening of the problem and feelings of low self-worth. Taking positive action to improve your situation can be an effective way to change your negative thought patterns and give you a sense of control over your life. For example, if weight issues are causing negative thought patterns, take action by going for a walk or spending some time in the gym. Even a small step, such as taking a walk around the block, can be enough to change your mindset and encourage further action.

Negative thinking can lead to a downward spiral that can cause or worsen the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. Breaking the cycle of negative thinking can take time and effort, but the results can be life changing. Using just a few simple techniques can help to change your thought patterns and produce a more positive attitude to life.