Ruminating on negative thoughts is a common practice for adults, but without the proper tools and skills to reframe these thoughts, you could be holding yourself back from happiness and reaching your potential. If you find yourself often dwelling on negative thoughts, you could benefit from some reframing techniques to help reclaim your mind.
How to reframe unhelpful thoughts in order to see them in a less negative way
There are many types of unhelpful and negative thought patterns that can plague your mind, so one of the first steps in reframing these in a positive way is to determine what type of negative thoughts you are experiencing.
One negative thought pattern is stewing; this is when you are repeating negative thoughts or experiences over and over again in your mind to the point where you feel like you are in an uncontrollable thought loop. Practice recognizing when an intrusive thought is taking over and replace it intentionally with several happy thoughts. It can help to create a list or a journal of all of the things that make you happy and reflect on it often when intrusive thoughts occur.
Another common negative thought pattern is magnifying; this is when you form negative conclusions about what will happen based on limited past information. For example, you might think that because one person declined your offer for a date that all people will not want to date you. When you are experiencing this, it can be helpful to reframe these thoughts of doubts into a goal setting exercise. Realize that all people make mistakes and come up with a plan for how to achieve future success.
An ‘all or nothing’ mindset can also develop into negative thought patterns. This occurs when you are unable to see shades of gray and categorize everything as either a failure or a success. This thought pattern can set you up for failure because it’s impossible to achieve total success all the time. When experiencing this, try to reframe your binary mindset to allow for areas of grey and a growth mindset. Maybe you didn’t achieve everything you wanted to in a specific instance, but you took steps towards achieving and should celebrate that growth.
A negative thought pattern that can be especially common among young adults is the fortune-telling thought pattern where you convince yourself that you know exactly how a situation is going to play out or what another person is going to do or say. When you run these scenarios through your head so many times, you’re convinced it’s reality rather than a story your brain is telling you. To avoid this thought pattern, start by assuming positive outcomes. This will enable you to strive for the positive outcome you’re hoping for rather than withdrawing from the situation without even trying.
Regardless of the type of thought pattern you are experiencing, there are three simple steps you can follow to help reframe what you are thinking. First, you must become aware of and identify the thought. Next, ask questions of yourself: Is this thought accurate? Is it helpful? What will I think of this in a week? Lastly, come up with an alternative view by reframing the thought into a redemptive narrative. This process takes time and practice, so be patient with yourself and realize it won’t happen overnight.
blueFire PulsaR can help
blueFire PulsaR specializes in helping 18-28 year olds address behavioral and motivational challenges impacting their success in life. We help young adults step out of their comfort zone, improve self-esteem, and build confidence through self-success.
Our integrative program takes a multifaceted approach to care and offers a myriad of restorative experiences such as adventure therapy, service work, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and equine therapy. We cultivate a supportive environment that encourages clients to push themselves physically and emotionally to create lasting change. For more information, please call (208) 269-7407.