Stop Negative Thoughts: Choosing a Healthier Way of Thinking - Topic Overview
What is healthy thinking?
Healthy thinking can teach you to know what thoughts of yours—both helpful and not helpful—affect problems or feelings that trouble you. With practice, you can learn to use accurate thoughts that encourage you instead of negative thoughts that discourage you.
you stop negative thoughts, you may be more able to care for yourself and
handle life's challenges. You will feel better. And you may be more able to
avoid or cope with
stress, anxiety, sleep problems, unwanted weight gain, or depression.
Healthy thinking also involves
calming your mind and body. You can use one or more techniques. These may
include meditation, yoga, muscle relaxation, or guided imagery.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, also called CBT, is a therapy that is often used to help people think in a healthy way.
It focuses on thought (cognitive) and action (behavioral). Many people work with a therapist or a counselor to learn CBT. But you
also can practice healthy thinking on your own.
How does CBT help you think in a healthy way?
involves techniques that you can practice every day so that healthy thinking
comes naturally. For example: Maybe you're upset about a job review at work.
Your boss praised several things about your work. But you're feeling down
because she had one small criticism. You might even think, "I'm no good at my
job." or "She doesn't like me. I must be bad."
Focusing on only the
bad is an example of negative or distorted thinking. You can
teach yourself to watch for negative thinking. You can ask yourself how true or
helpful your thoughts were. "What did my boss say exactly?" "Were there
positive comments?" "Why do I focus only on one criticism?"
can learn to see that the harsh things you say to yourself may keep you from noticing the positive parts of your life
and work. With time and practice, you can learn to tell
yourself more accurate and helpful statements. You might say, "I've done a lot
of good work this year, and my boss noticed it. She thought there was one area
I can improve. So I'll think of some things I can do to get stronger in that