How to overcome negative thoughts and find joy in life
Are negative thoughts keeping you unhappy? Negative thoughts can be pervasive and destructive with far-reaching effects on your actions, relationships, and life in general.
When you regularly engage in negativity you may find it hard to get along with others and anger becomes a constant companion.
Excess negative thinking patterns may also be a sign of a mental health problem like depression.
If you find that you have getting caught in negative thinking loops you may be suffering anxiety and in either of these cases, it is important to seek care from a mental health professional.
And beyond relationships, your negative inner mean girl can turn on you regularly making you think you are less than, not good enough and therefore you may find yourself stuck in life.
Negative self-talk and negativity can keep you imprisoned in a gloomy dark world that is joyless.
And that is too bad because so much joy is lost when we only see the dark side of everything, allowing negativity to color our worldview.
And that is why in this post I want to show you that it is possible to stop negative thoughts and have a positive mindset.
When you overcome negative thoughts, you will find that life becomes brighter, and you will feel happier and less overwhelmed.
The following are a few simple ways that can help you get rid of negativity in your mind and your response around everyday encounters, your negative thoughts, and start to find more joy in life.
Let’s see the ways…
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How to overcome negative thoughts and feelings
Find humor in some situations
Let’s just say it. Some negative situations can be funny too. And sometimes laughing at ourselves definitely lightens the situation. This I think is one of my unsung strengths.
Now I don’t advocate laughing at the funeral, unless where it may be appropriate like remembering the diseased shenanigans, or their own humorous way of looking at the world and never sweating the small stuff.
Life even in dire situations can be funny. Laughing at our foibles can reduce negativity sometimes.
Try where appropriate to see the funny side of things and this is one way to stop negative thoughts.
And easy to enjoy humor is to watch funny shows. Ever notice how some TV shows actually focus on life situations that would be negative but turn them into humor?
You can also read some funny books to help you laugh at life. Comedy is so healing really.
Here are some all-time best funny reads. Laugh along as some courageous souls laugh at life in spite of: Try We Are All A Mess; It’s OK by Amy Kyle, and see the humor the author found in everyday happenings around her.
Or here is another hilarious look at life and people by the very funny Jen Mann, in Working With People I Want to Punch in The Throat.
Do you know such people, work with such, or have met such?
They can be annoying but in retrospect at times just maybe funny.
It can be really helpful even therapeutic to laugh at life sometimes.
Leave those negative feelings behind through good humor.
Instead of ruminating and letting negative thoughts overcome you, take action instead.
Device a plan of action to change things in life that are causing these negative feelings.
Is it a relationship you are in? Maybe talk to the other person and find a solution.
If it is a spouse, seek couples counseling.
Whatever is causing you to feel upset or angry sit down and plan how you can solve the problem.
There is always a way.
Gratitude is like a magical portion that easily makes our world brighter and happier.
When you focus on what you have instead of what you don’t, you feel happier. Gratitude manifests joy.
And the more grateful you are the more life becomes brighter and brighter.
If you struggle so much with negativity, give yourself a challenge.
Take a 30 days gratitude challenge and see your world change right before your eyes.
You will learn to overcome negative thoughts and become a more positive person.
Set things right. Don’t complain. Hold a meeting and talk to each other so you can air your issue and brainstorm ways to make things better.
Do that in the schools and in the community. Go to the town halls in your community.
Talk to your elected officials. Complaining doesn’t do much if it is all negative.
Yes, you can complain, but in a way that is likely to effect change. Go on that march to start a change in your current event s and environment.
Girl, you may need a power snack. Or a real meal. Hunger can sometimes sneak in on us. And it may take a moment to realize why you are grumpy and negative but you just find that every little thing makes you want to bite some head off.
You may just need some nutrients in your body to fuel your mind.
Eat at regular times and avoid skipping meals. If you are doing intermittent fasting, make sure you are doing it right.
When hunger strikes we get moody and irritable, and negativity soon follows.
This moodiness can show up in the form of angry and negative thoughts where no one and nothing pleases you. It is an ugly place to be, and no one really really wants to be a negative Nancy.
Anyway, nutrition does affect mood. So many nutrients, such as B vitamins, Magnesium, Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin C, and Vitamin D, contribute a lot to our mental health and the nervous system.
When you are chronically malnourished, and many people are, you may start having a short fuse and feeling depressed, anxious, blue, and generally out of sync with yourself. That can manifest in negative thoughts, easy irritation, and gloom.
Please, for the love of happiness, make sure you are getting adequate nutrition for your total wellness.
See this post to find out how nutrition affects your mental health.
Depression Nutrition: Food that Improves Mood and Mental Health
Best Healthy Supplements to Manage Anxiety Naturally
13 Best Vitamins for Great Health
Go to the source
Dig deep. Deeper even. Find the cause of your unhappiness and negativity. What is really causing you to be negative? Sometimes you are bubbling with negative thoughts and energy because something deep down in your soul or in your life is not right.
Why are you unhappy?
Do some mental and life issues analysis to pinpoint what is causing you unhappiness and negativity and start finding ways to change it.
It may be your current job. Think about changing jobs.
Do you need to go back to school and start over? Not easy. Brainstorm some changes that need to happen to align your soul with your life.
Never ever give up on your dreams.
When you feel stuck in life, you are likely to have plenty of negative thoughts. And to stop these negative thoughts from overwhelming you can take small but powerful steps each day to reclaim your life and find directions.
Visualize what you want in life and start planning and taking action to make it happen. Anything is possible, and when you want a change bad enough and commit you can make it happen.
What do you dream about doing that would make your life a living dream?
Read this guide on how to find yourself when you feel stuck and lost in life and get your life back, revamp your life, and be the you you want to be.
Negativity will not way you down when you start creating the life you want.
Clean and declutter
Decluttering is so essential for mental health.
There is something to be said about the art of tidying up. Really. Too much clutter is bad for your mental health.
The chaotic environment creates chaos in your brain and you find you are more unhappy as a result.
Unfortunately, one sign of depression is lots of clutter and unkempt spaces.
While that is understandable due to the debilitating lack of energy the illness can cause the clutter in itself also causes more negative feelings and can make depression even worse.
Try to keep your living spaces as tidy as possible.
But the idea is to tidy up a little each day. Pick up a little each day.
Make that bed as soon as you wake up.
One of the biggest and most important things you can do is make the bed.
If you start there you will find that you feel better and are likely to want to clean other areas of your house.
Starting with that one positive thing helps your motivation and sense of accomplishment.
Besides, the bed being such a central focus of the room, if unmade the whole room feels off-kilter and untidy. This untidiness messes up your mind.
Clean spaces are uplifting, and that is one simple way of reducing negativity.
Avoid excessive worrying
Worrying, unfortunately, doesn’t solve anything. So you have two options. Do something or let it go.
Let it go.
Don’t dwell on all the unfair and mean and stupid things people have done to you because that can lead to depression.
If someone upset you, tell them, clear the air and then move on.
Don’t hold a grudge.
Okay, there is a third option. Pray. Give it to God.
You can also brainstorm how to solve the problem you are worried about.
Brainstorm ways to deal with the issue.
This empowers you as you come up with solutions to the problem.
You can also ask for help. Asking for help is not a weakness.
There are some areas of life that require more than one mind to straighten out.
So seek your friends out if they can help.
Some problems may require your church pastor or other members of your community.
Seek help if you are under too much pressure and stress.
Work Out to sweat it out
Exercise is a great way to stop negative thoughts. With increased blood flow to our brains and vital organs, exercise helps us feel whole light, and happy.
The endorphins released from exercise make you feel happy and can easily eliminate negative thinking.
Any time you feel a bit down go out and take a brisk walk. I promise you will feel better.
Meditate to clear negativity
Taking on the mind-quieting practice of meditation can slow your mind and stop negative thoughts and negativity. Meditation calls upon you to harness your thoughts. It silences the mental clutter.
Just sit in a quiet place and take deep slow breaths and chant a mantra. Clear your thoughts. Center yourself.
Use a meditation app or a video such as this one to help you stop and overcome negativity.
or this one
Write it down
A simple but effective way to stop negative thoughts is writing your thoughts down.
Dive deep into those emotions you are feeling and your thoughts through journaling.
What is topmost in your mind right now? The one thing that is bothering you. Write that down.
Do a mind dump. Doing a mind dump helps you empty your mind and is therapeutic because it relieves some of the pent-up emotions that may be overwhelming you.
Sit down and just free-write. Alternatively, use journal prompts to help focus your thoughts and guide your journaling to give you more clarity.
These Journal prompts for anxiety can help.
See these journal prompts for ideas.
Related: Journal Prompts for Self-Love and Mental Health
Another good resource to help you really get to know yourself and reflect on things, accept, acknowledge, move on and practice gratitude is 52 Lists. 52 Lists is a journal that will guide you in the art of journaling for growth and happiness.
This beautiful book leads you gently to happiness and boots negativity out of your life. You can get 52 Lists here.
Talk to someone
Please reach out and talk to someone if negative thoughts are taking over and becoming overwhelming.
If you have a trusted friend talk to them or talk to a family member.
Sometimes though, you need the help of a mental health provider such as a therapist to help you sort out your thoughts.
When you find the right therapist they can help you clarify your thoughts and emotions.
A good therapist can help you overcome feelings of overwhelm, and help you to take actions that lift the weight and the gloom that may be causing your negative thoughts.
Seek out counseling if you are struggling with negative thoughts.
You cannot feel positive if you are empty exhausted and overwhelmed. Negativity thrives in those conditions. So practicing self-care and self-love are especially important ways to stop negative thoughts.
If you have neglected self-care, you will feel out of sync and get easily rattled. Negative energies tend to flock to you if you feel overstretched and it is hard to feel positive when you feel empty.
Create space and time for doing things that bring you joy. Schedule those things and do them.
If going to the spa is your thing and within your budget, do it. As women and moms, finding time to squeeze in the joyful things is crucial for our mental health.
If we don’t take time to care for ourselves then those we care for may suffer. We cannot pour from an empty cup.
And woe unto you, if you try to squeeze a drop out of an en exhausted, strained woman. Not fun. She may bite your head off with her words.
Mommying is hard enough. Doing it rattled is harder. Be the mom we all envy.
The one who doesn’t yell, calm and collected like a quiet stream. Self-care can help you get close to that ideal. Here are some ideas for moms to practice self-care.
Helping others is a well-documented way of overcoming negative emotions such as loneliness, helplessness, and even depression. Helping others helps you too and is an amazing thing to do that helps one stop negative thoughts.
Doing good things for the common good is very empowering and brings lots of joy and fulfillment into your life.
So you can volunteer in your community or simply help a friend in need.
Adopt a pet or volunteer at the animal shelter or the hospital. Go hold those babies in NICU.
Nothing like being helpful to fill you to the brim with good things and positive vibes. This is an amazing way to fill up with joy and eliminate negative thoughts.
As humans we are meant to live in a community and helping others gives you a greater sense of purpose and belonging.
And when we feel as part of something bigger than ourselves when we feel we belong, are needed, and wanted, it fills our lives with purpose and joy. And gloom and negativity cannot find are easily replaced by contentment and fulfillment.
Change your lens of focus and look for good things.
It is so important to focus on the right things. Being selective about what we give our attention to is a powerful way to stop negative thoughts.
Take for example the news. The news can be annoying even enraging really.
Some shows can leave you feeling worse and irritated or even angry and filled with negativity.
Would it not be great if there was a News channel that showed only good news and good things happening in the world? There are some good things that are happening. We just need to change our focus and stop being so negative.
Babies are being born. People are overcoming great odds and succeeding.
Some people are beating great odds and healing from illnesses. People are marrying their high school sweethearts and living happy lives.
There are many other stories with happy endings. Rescue missions are happening with some brave people going out to help others. I know, we don’t want to pretend that horrible things are going on too.
But we do need to see the good things too. The sun is shining.
For me, that is a good day, as long as it’s not drought and people needing the rain are not getting it.
Concentrate on the good things happening to you and in our world. So you can stop negative thoughts by being mindful of the things to focus on. Notice when your focus is consumed by negative things and choose consciously to change your focus.
Choose your friends wisely
One great way to stop negative thoughts is spending time with people who bring you joy. .
Do the people you spend time with make you feel joy after you spend time with them? So chose your friends wisely. Listen to the vibe they bring. Are they always negative?
If a person just talks negatively about other people, full of negative gossip, then they will bring you down into their gloomy dark world. I don’t mean that you should not listen to a friend if she is telling you about some issues she has.
So long as she is not always dumping on you, it’s okay.
Rethink that friend.
That’s okay. But if you always feel demoralized after spending time with them, then you should rethink that friendship. Friends should fill each other up with good vibes and joy. They should help each other cope when things are hard and they should laugh together most of the time.
Spend less time on social media.
Stop negative thoughts by distancing yourself from the internet noise.
Isn’t the world just so noisy these days with everyone having to say on social media? I do honestly miss the simpler days of times gone by.
Yes, I want to go back in time. Not so back. No. The 1500 hundreds were a bit too dark, with no science, full of witchcraft and suspicions and heresy and some other unpalatable stuff.
But the 80s were nice. And I was young and carefree. So there is that.
But really though, there was no internet all over the place with too much information overload.
Social media can be too much and can easily put one in a bad mood. Have you found yourself fighting with strangers? Or seen someone or something show up on your feed that made you upset?
Besides, the extreme information overload all vying for your attention is exhausting. All these somehow can cause negativity.
Getting off social media for a while is one way to stop negative thoughts.
Dedicate social media-free time and engage in other soul-soothing activities. How about listening to music while you clean, or doing something else?
Just think about the time we waste on social media only to surface back up hours later, depleted of all our joy!
Quiet the mind
Take time out for quiet moments. A life surrounded by too much noise can make you feel stressed and negative.
A simple way to stop negative thoughts and negativity is to find some moments of calm and quiet.
In these moments turn your phone and other gadgets off and do some calming activities. Notice the beauty around you.
You can also take a book and read outside and enjoy the outdoors.
A bit of comedic reading would be great.
Nothing like laughter to keep negative thoughts away.
Calming hobbies are really good for the mind and help you feel happier.
Personally, I like doing crafts such as knitting or crocheting. They calm my mind and keep the negative thoughts away as I enjoy the feel of the yarn and the pattern I am working on.
You can do other enjoyable activities such as gardening if that is your thing.
You could also paint or color. Adult coloring books can be so fun and pleasantly distracting. A great way to keep away negative thoughts.
So, there, you go! Those are some simple tips to help you stop negative thoughts. Start putting these tips into practice so you can finally overcome negative thoughts and spend more days feeling happier, and joyful.
And please, tell me in the comments below, how you get rid of negativity.
I’ve found that organization, eating right, sleeping right, less time on social media, lowering your coffee intake, and writing an appreciation/grateful journal has helped tons.
You have to recognize those negative thoughts and try to stop them in their tracks.
Great post + recommendations!
Kylie! That is a hundred percent! Recognize those negative thoughts and redirect them, changing them is key. And of course, yes, I agree, taking care to nourish and move and rest your body do great good to prevent negativity.
I loved all of these tips! Pinned your post to my psychology board, thanks for sharing!
Isabella! Thank you, for reading. I love that you love these tips. Thank you!
So true! Everything. For me, the food influences my mood especially quite a lot and is very important to eat well and not only in terms of a healthy diet. And the social media can be dangerous too in nowadays’ world, more than we actually realize. Good to talk about it! Thanks for this nice read!
Great post! And such important information too. It’s too easy to just keep feeling bad and stay in a rut. It’s helpful to read this post and get inspired to actually actively get out of the rut.
Bethany! Thank you! I agree staying stuck with negative emotions is not healthy.
Hi Michaela! Yes, food, goo healthy food can really influence how we feel and if we eat sugar and fat every day, we are likely to feel down in the dumps and act negatively to situations.
I love these points. People forget about the power of exercise and humour.
Great post – thank you. I truly believe laughter is one of the best cures for everything!
I really enjoyed reading this post and many points you made resonated with me including positivity, I think that’s the solution for a lot of problems, changing our perceptions and using a positive mindset to overcome hurdles
Lovely post. I wrote something similar a while back. I love your tip on finding humour in situations, especially if it’s adverse. I love journalling and meditation it certainly has made a difference to my mental health. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.
Great tips! Especially humor and complaining less (Complaining without taking action is a pet peeve of mine!)
Hey, Jessica! I know! It’s better to take action about things that bug you rather than go on just complaining. That removes all that negative talk and thinking.
Suktara, thank you. Humor is helpful in many negative situations and can turn some, not all around. so glad you found that useful.
Hi Lori! Truly, laughter is the best medicine.
Hey, Katy! I know, humor makes the world so much better. Just laugh at some things and move on I say! And ofcourse when you exercise you feel so much better and those feel-good hormones just poofs the negative feelings.
Michelle! Truly, the points I make here can help so many of us feel happier and less negative. It is all in the way we look at the world and the problems we face, and our outlook on life.
Great advice! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. I can already feel some of the negativity slipping away.
Tiffany! That is the nicest thing to say ever!