How Do I Stop Thinking Negatively? (Effective Strategies)

Written by Karl Perera BA, MA, DipLC
Updated: December 18th, 2020

Stop thinking negative thoughts

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No matter what’s currently going on in your life, you may have noticed that you’ve developed somewhat of a negative thought pattern and need to stop thinking negatively. Even when good things seem to happen, you can’t help but focus on the negatives. It’s time to think about how to stop these negative thoughts.

To stop thinking negatively it is necessary to work on changing thought patterns and shifting your focus toward the positives. There are some important ways to do this including:

  • Write a gratitude journal.
  • Practice meditation.
  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • Use positive affirmations.
  • Lower your expectations.

Just like any type of self-improvement method, some things will work better for you than others. So, we’re going to be reviewing five key things you might want to try to encourage yourself to stop thinking negatively.

Write in a Gratitude Journal Daily and Be Thankful

In all reality, you might be focusing on the negatives in your life because you’ve simply forgotten about the positives. One way to center your attention on the positive areas of your life and stop thinking negatively is by writing your own gratitude journal. Just to clarify, gratitude basically means “to give thanks.”

There are several approaches to a gratitude journal

You can obviously use this tool as a regular journal and simply write about the good things that happened over the course of your day. If you’re not much of a writer, you can just create a gratitude list of things, people, events, or experiences that you’re thankful for. 

Better yet, you don’t have to write in your gratitude journal every day. Just write when you have something good to say or something good happens.

You can also crack open your gratitude journal when you’re feeling down and take a look at all of the positives that are happening in your life. You’ll notice over time that you’re much happier and thankful for the good things in life!

Note: You don’t have to share what you’ve written in your gratitude journal with anybody else. This is simply a tool for you and your personal growth.

Practice Meditation Each Day to Relax your Mind

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Negative thoughts often happen with anxiety, depression, and even simple forms of continued stress. That means targeting these mindsets and attitudes through some form of meditation can actually help to shift your perspective! Better yet, meditation is scientifically proven to boost both your mood and thinking patterns.

There are several different meditation methods that might be useful to you. 

Mindfulness Meditation

Perhaps the most beneficial in the last few years is mindfulness meditation. This form of meditation requires you to clear your mind and focus on the present moment. You can practice mindfulness through guided body scans, deep breathing techniques, or even nature hikes.

Loving-Kindness Meditation

There’s also a meditation method called loving-kindness meditation. This meditation technique has you focus on building self-compassion and love by repeating mantras. The purpose is to reduce negative thoughts you might be harboring toward yourself and others while shifting toward a more positive perspective.

What’s even better is that you don’t have to commit all that much time to meditation. Some meditation sessions can take as little as a few minutes.

Surround Yourself With Positive People

You might not even realize just how many personality traits and characteristics you’ve picked up just by spending time with your family, friends, or coworkers. That means you might actually be adopting negative thought patterns because of the people you surround yourself with. After all, you are who your friends are (in a sense!).

The first thing you should do is take a close look at the people closest to you.

If you notice that they’re negative, surrounded by drama, or always focusing on your pitfalls, it’s no wonder that you find yourself thinking negatively as well. It might be time to get yourself back out there and build new and positive friendships.

Make New Friends with Successful, Optimistic People

Here are some key traits to look for in new friendships:

  • Successful (personally, financially, career-wise, etc.)
  • Incredible outlook on life
  • Always able to find the good in a bad situation
  • Takes initiative to fix the negatives in their own life
  • Naturally supportive

Though you might not want to entirely get rid of the negative people in your life, adding a few positive people will definitely help. You’ll begin to notice that your mood and thought patterns are wildly different when you’re with your old friends and your new friends.

Use Positive Affirmations to Inspire You to Dream

If your mind is particularly full of negative thoughts, one of the best things you can do is to actively try to change your thought patterns. Though they might seem a little silly at first, positive affirmations just might be what you need to focus on the positive qualities that you possess.

So, what exactly are positive affirmations?

Positive affirmations are sentences or phrases that you repeat back to yourself. They typically focus on things that you might feel less confident about, such as a lack of skill in a particular area of your life or an unfavorable personality trait that you might have.

A good example of a positive affirmation could be, “I am proud of myself.”

You might be assuming that this is a mantra that you have to repeat by looking at yourself in the mirror, but that’s not true! You can simply whisper them to yourself while at work, write them down on sticky-notes around the home, or even just set it as your smartphone wallpaper.

The goal of positive affirmations is to eventually truly believe the statements that you’re repeating to yourself. This can help to build confidence and positive thoughts about yourself in the future.

Lower Your Expectations So Success Becomes Easier

There’s a good chance that you’re focusing so much on the negatives because you have such high expectations for what you want to happen. Whenever you’re unable to reach certain goals, you might feel as if you’re a failure. High expectations can be a driving force behind motivation, but they often set you up for disappointment when you’re unsuccessful.

One of the best things you can do is to lower your expectations.

Now, that doesn’t mean to just get through life attempting to reach the bare minimum. It’s more about setting smaller and more realistic goals in your life that you have a greater chance of succeeding with.

If your only goal in life is to become a doctor, the only time you’ll experience success and positivity is if you actually become a doctor. If you can’t reach the one goal you had, you might view your entire life as completely negative.

Set Goals and Celebrate your Successes

On the other hand, if you set milestone goals along the way (i.e., Finish undergrad, get into med school, volunteer at a hospital, etc.), you’re much more likely to experience some form of success more frequently. Thus, greater positive thoughts and motivation.

After all, it’s only human nature to want success. Make sure you take the time to celebrate your successes, no matter how small.

Take Time to Enjoy Your Success

Essentially, give yourself the opportunity to experience more positives, success, and joy in your life. Try to avoid setting the standards you have for yourself so high and remember that life is short and meant to be enjoyed.

Use Self Hypnosis to Help You Think More Positively

If you want to stop being so negative then you should download this amazing self-hypnosis program – How to end your negative thoughts – it is a great way to use the power of your mind and help yourself today.


Negative thoughts aren’t unusual, but they can begin to impact your entire life if they become a little too overwhelming. Negative thinking can also ruin your career, confidence, relationships, and your future if they continue for too long.

The good news is that there are plenty of things that you can do to adjust your thinking patterns and improve the overall quality of your life. It’s more about finding a method that works best for you, your personality, and the current lifestyle that you’re living.


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Website Author and Editor Bio

Photo of Karl Perera, MA, DipLC Karl Perera is a fully qualified Life Coach (DipLC), Teacher (MA) and author of Self Esteem Secrets. He has taught at various universities including Durham, Leicester and Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge. He has run since 1997 and is an expert in Self Esteem and Self Confidence.

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