10 Immediate Ways To Stop Your Brain From Always Imagining The Worst

How to 'rewire' your brain away from the darkness and doom.

Stop intrusive thoughts Getty

When you're struggling with self-doubt, negativity, and low self-esteem, figuring out how to stop intrusive thoughts from keeping you down can feel impossible, especially if you have a dialogue of negative self-talk constantly running through your head, telling you things like:

  • “You're not good enough!”
  • “You're so stupid!”
  • “What is wrong with you?”
  • “Nobody cares about you!”
  • “You don’t matter!”

Painful as it sounds, this is how you may consciously or unconsciously talk to yourself all day. And all night, too.


Here's how to rewire your brain when you can't stop imagining the worst-case scenario

1. Acknowledge what happened to you

You need to know why you have these negative, intrusive thoughts.

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2. Open up to find some compassion for this younger part of you

You are still you and need a deeper understanding of what happened. Isn’t it more obvious now, looking at it from a new perspective outside of the hardwiring that took place?

Introspective woman think about how to rewire her brain Ground Picture via Shutterstock


3. Stop trying to fight these intrusive thoughts

I’m sure you’ve tried to get rid of these unwanted thoughts for a long long time without much success because your younger version was hardwired to believe it was your fault. The best way to correct this wrong is to bring new light and understanding. When a misunderstanding is understood correctly, there’s nothing to get rid of anymore, right?

4. "Feel" into your body

This is how you notice where you feel the impact of trusting these limiting beliefs for so long. Maybe you experience it as pain, tension, or fear. Or, you feel some relief now by finally hearing something that makes more sense than what made sense to you as an infant.

5. Bring your attention to that area in your body

Just feel where the pain is and breathe into it — gently, kindly, patiently.

@veronda.bellamy Breathwork can get you through a lot. When you begin to notice that you are struggling - rather life stressors, complex issues, health challenges, children dynamics, whatever it is, take a moment to center yoirself. Stop the scrolling and focus on your breathing. Let me know of it helped! Link in bio to work with me.. . #blacktherapist #therapistoftiktok #Happyology #breathing #breathwork #mentalwellness #stressrelief ♬ Aesthetic - Gaspar

6. Be kind to yourself

Can you now breathe some compassion into this little infant who lives inside of you? Can you meet yourself there, as this younger part of you, and give them what they needed back then?


Let them know you are here with them now and will do your best to stop telling them they are bad, wrong, too much, and not enough.

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7. Be patient with your progress

Truthfully, you may not be perfect at this after years of colluding with your own young, mistaken conclusions, but that is OK. As long as you are willing to learn and do your best, they are OK for now.

8. Hold this younger part of you, as if they are still here physically

Just imagine what it would have been like for such a little infant to have someone pick them up and tell them it was not their fault. There is nothing wrong with them and they matter. You love them!


It’s not too late. You are grown up and your brain has evolved a lot since then. You now can discern and understand what you couldn’t when you were little.

9. Remind yourself it is not your fault

In the best way possible, convey to your young part — through a loving, compassionate, accepting attitude — it was not their fault. Tell them all the things you resonate with this article. Help them discern through this muddle of intensity they grew up in.

Take your time. There is no rush. This is the most important part of transforming misperceived conclusions and rewiring your brain to end negative self-talk.


10. Understand healing will take time

This process of improving low self-esteem doesn’t happen overnight and cannot be rushed.

It’s like giving the infant a food they can easily digest. You’ll know if they digest it well by the way you start feeling inside. You are like an enzyme of love to help digest all the misperceptions that have caused you so much pain.

Please take all the time you need for these hardwired, misguided beliefs to soften until you're able to let go of them all the way and know, in your heart and soul, it didn’t happen because something was wrong with you.

Mother hugs daughter so she won't have to rewire her brain fizkes via Shutterstock


Even though you may not consciously be aware of negative self-talk and self-esteem-destroying dialogue, these types of unwanted, intrusive thoughts are an ongoing stream of madness running through your head — an ongoing intrusive, unconscious, unquestioned, unedited stream of negative thinking, without a clear way to get out. It stinks!

It’s impossible to be happy and learn how to love yourself when you live under this rude regime that dictates how you feel, act, and think and leaves little space for happiness.

These negative, obsessive thoughts are so sticky and close to home you don’t have the bandwidth to even question them. Yet, they ruin your life, rule your mood, and rob your joy.

But enough about the madness! It's more important to understand how to stop intrusive thoughts altogether, right?


Unfortunately, you can’t really "get away" from them, nor "get rid of them." Sorry! But don’t despair — you can transform your inner dialogue and, as a result, get away from your self-inflicted negativity and improve your low self-esteem, too.

RELATED: 9 Proven Ways To Calm Your Anxious Thoughts And Finally Move On With Your Life

The reason your brain imagines the worst case scenario

Often, a big reason you're bombarded by negative thinking is something happened to you earlier in life you weren't able to emotionally digest, often in childhood.

@drdareshow 5 reasons staying in your head with negative thoughts and not being present can make you feel sad! #negativethoughts #selftalk #depressionanxiety #badmood #moody #selfsabotage ♬ Sad Scene BGM Piano Instrument(313618) - HomeMadeGarbage

Let’s say you were born into a loving family. As you now know, things happen in life you can’t always control. (If you were born into a not-so-loving family, even more reason to take this to heart.)


For instance, maybe your mother may have had postpartum depression, which made her unable to give you the love and attention you needed. Maybe your dad was working hard to make ends meet, so he too was not there for you in the way you needed. Here you are, totally dependent on two people, who — at that given moment in your life — were not able to give you what you needed.

What is a little child to do? Cry for attention? Cry for food? Make yourself noticed to survive on a physical, emotional, and mental level. Yes, yes, and yes, because that’s all a little, innocent infant knows how to do and is supposed to do.

Then, because your needs were not met, you learned not to cry, not to make yourself noticed. You became conditioned to ignore your basic needs.

With your small brain capacity as a child, and to make sense of your situation, you turned your parents' "failing" behavior inward and started believing you weren't good enough or something was wrong with you. It wasn't okay to have needs, you didn't matter, and it was your fault anyway.


Can you see any resemblance between those beliefs from childhood and the unwanted, intrusive thoughts and negative self-talk you're experiencing now? Could it be you had some overpowering experiences you couldn’t emotionally digest as a kid and the only way you could make sense out of them was to believe it was your fault?

@heymargy Learning about this totally changed the way I see myself and my life. Childhood emotional neglect was something I had never previously heard much about, but when she told me about the fatal flaw, it all clicked. Understanding this helped me have more love and compassion for myself and my parents. I hope it helps you, too! #therapytiktok #therapytok #childhoodemotionalneglect #fatalflaw #childhoodtrauma ♬ original sound - Margy | 7 Figure CEO

RELATED: How To Believe In Yourself & Stop The Self-Sabotaging Effects Of Negative Self-Talk

It's not your fault — but you can change it

You need to learn to recognize how innocent you truly were and how it could never be your fault that your parents didn’t provide what you needed. So, no! It was not your fault then, and to this day, it still isn’t, even if your childhood looked different than the example.


According to developmental biologist Bruce Lipton, you are like a sponge during the first seven years of your life, where you take everything in — without being able to discern

Just imagine yourself as this little infant, hungry, lonely, and scared, without being able to understand why nobody is giving you what you need. You don’t yet know the reason for your parents' behavior is Mom's depression and Dad being swamped at work and worried about you and your mom.

All you know is you truly need to be held, loved, nurtured, and feel safe. These are basic needs for an infant.


That's why these old, mistaken beliefs need rewriting — not repair — if you want to learn how to stop intrusive thoughts and negative self-talk as an adult. 

Hopefully, this helps you understand what really happened and see it all through a larger lens. It’s a much wider angle than the narrow one you got wired into. When your brain and nervous system are wired in a certain way from infancy or childhood, everything you do, say, perceive, think, and feel moves through this wiring.

You can’t fully get rid of intrusive thoughts

Trying to get rid of them is actually a part of your unconscious wiring, too! What you need is help rewiring your brain to see the bigger perspective outside of your basic survival instincts. And, if you're like most people, you'll need help from someone outside your mental wiring to transform it.


Unbeknownst to you, your conclusions from infancy still determine how you experience life today. And guess what, you need to believe in yourself and your ability to do this on your own because of your false belief that nobody cares about your needs anyway.

It is not your fault you still react this way and believe these intrusive thoughts. Your childhood set the stage for how you see the world. If intrusive feelings show up, give them the love they were missing. Love is the potion to heal.

RELATED: 5 Steps to Break Negative Thinking & Stop Beating Yourself Up!

Pernilla Lillarose is a self-love mystic mentor and certified Hakomi practitioner.