4 Steps To Stop Negative Thinking

Negative thoughts produce negative results. Learn how to overcome them.

4 Steps To Stop Negative Thinking

When you think of a time you were happy, you can re-experience that emotion. Reflect about a cherished memory when you were happy and with someone you loved. Remember some of the details. As you do so, notice that you begin to re-experience the emotions you had when this event occurred. This happens because you stimulated the neuronetwork where your brain stores both the facts of the memory and all of its emotions. The same is true of unhappy or stressful memories. If you remember such a time, you’ll re-experience those negative thoughts and emotions.


Your thoughts create your emotions. I asked you to access your memories so you could experience how choosing your thoughts. In this case, having a memory changes how you feel. The knowledge that what you think creates how you feel, giving you the opportunity to manage your emotions by learning to control your thoughts. For decades, everyone I've coached has wanted more positive emotions in their life (such as happiness, joy and excitement) and/or fewer negative emotions (such as anger, sadness and fear). And, many just wanted to stop negative thinking because they realized it was ruining their happiness.


Want more confidence, self-esteem and happiness? If you want more positive and fewer negative emotions, it’s imperative to create more positive thoughts and minimize negative thoughts. Reducing the negative is especially important because thoughts determine your emotions and negative thoughts are the most treacherous of emotional thieves. They steal your confidence, self-esteem and happiness! When you control your thoughts, you control your emotions. In one of my workshops, a company leader said, "I didn't know you could control your thoughts." She was stunned by the awareness, but obviously excited.

Here are four steps to stop negative thinking. Below is an extremely powerful technique to stop negative thoughts and it's been the most popular of all the mind control techniques I've ever taught. It has helped couples, CEOs, entrepreneurs, sales professionals and even high school and college kids!

1. Recognize.
Notice that you're having a negative thought. There are three ways:

  1. Hear the thought in your mind. We chatter in our head up to 500 words a minute, if you don't pay attention the words will go unnoticed.
  2. Feel the emotions in your body. If you're tense or sweating, or you have a knot in your stomach, or if your body feels lethargic or blue, identify the thoughts that are creating these feelings of anxiety or depression.
  3. See yourself procrastinate. You can see that you are not in action. Procrastination is usually the result of fearful thoughts.

2. Stop/reset.
Stop your negative thought before it gains unstoppable energy and then reset your mind (like rebooting your computer when it goes haywire). If you allow a negative or fearful thought to keep running though your brain, it recruits more and more neurons in the emotional part of your brain (amygdala), making the emotion stronger. At some point, the emotion is so strong it takes over your thinking and you lose your ability to be rational.


3. Replace.
Replace your negative thought with a positive thought that's in your control and true (you can't lie to your brain).

4. Reward.
Acknowledge (reward) yourself for taking control of your thoughts. Rewarded behaviors tend to increase in frequency. Your reward can be as simple as saying to yourself, "Yes victory, I took control of my mind this time!"

More personal development coach advice from YourTango:

This technique to stop negative thinking gives you more control of your negative emotions. Negative thoughts typically come from a belief and thought pattern you've probably had for a long time, possibly since childhood. So you must continually recognize, stop/reset, replace and acknowledge your negative thoughts until you can build a new thought pattern. It's easy to do when you catch your negative thought early. Keep repeating until the new thought pattern develops. Most people don't know they can gain control their thoughts. Now you do. Will you?