5 Simple Ways To Combat Obsessive Negative Thoughts — And Become A More Positive Person

Sometimes your brain doesn't allow you to see the good in yourself.

Woman smiling Giorgio Fochesato | Getty Images

Mental health and happiness require knowing how to stop negative thoughts and feelings before they overshadow your positive attitude. Of course, this is easier said than done.

Negative thinking is a common problem. Sometimes, your brain doesn't allow you to see the good in yourself. The negativity leaves you stuck with every negative thought about yourself and your personality.

Over time, these self-doubts can tear down self-esteem and self-confidence and rob you of your positive attitude.


The good news is you can stop negative thoughts and quiet the cruel voice that says you'll never be good enough. Thoughts are merely electro-chemical impulses in the brain, but when you validate these negative beliefs, you give them power.

RELATED: 3 Simple Ways To Stop Negative Thoughts From Bringing You Down

Here are 5 ways to combat your obsessive negative thoughts — so you can become a more positive person.

1. Look inside yourself.

Revisit your truth and goals. What do you believe about yourself?

Once you identify these "truths," ask yourself where these beliefs come from. Do they come from your inner voice? Or, if you listen, do they start to sound like they're someone else’s? If so, whose voice do you hear beneath it all?


The next time you allow your positive attitude to be dulled by negative thoughts — like when you tell yourself you don’t deserve something (a good job, good relationship, etc.) — identify where the thought comes from. Perhaps a parent, a friend, a family member, or an ex once told you these things, and you believed it.

Regardless of its origin, your next step is to think about the goals you have for yourself — both short and long-term — and ask your current inner voice if that's a truth you want to believe in. If not, kick it to the curb, and don't let it bring you down!



2. Accept yourself as you are.

I know, easier said than done. You are human, after all! But — despite all your good intentions — you will still make mistakes or have parts of yourself you want to continue working on. So why waste your time beating yourself up for those shortcomings, however big or small they may be?


It's up to you to define how you view yourself, so push judgment and negativity from others aside. You — and only you — are responsible for maintaining your positive attitude and helping it shine, so learn from your mistakes and accept who you are now.

Then, use the power of positivity to keep moving yourself forward.

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

3. Let only you define yourself.

You know yourself best, so why do you let others have the power to ruin your carefree mood or negatively affect your views of yourself? Only you should have that power.

If someone tells you something negative about yourself, instead of simply agreeing with them, take a moment and reflect. Ask yourself: Are you like that? Is what this person said true, or even kind? If it isn't, then recognize you don't have to accept that version of yourself.


Just like you might want to delete old pictures of yourself on social media because they're not a reflection of who you are anymore, sometimes you need to do some cleaning and reevaluating, too.

And if you feel like you don't understand or know yourself, then maybe it’s time to consult with a professional about who you are at this point in your life. You change over time. It’s ok to change at different points in your life.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Vent Your Feelings Without Becoming A Total Burden To Your Friends

4. Put yourself first.

It's up to you to recognize when your happiness "batteries" are low. ​ It might take all of your willpower at first, but putting yourself first — above others and before all of your obligations — can help you maintain your positive energy.


Similar to the way solar panels harness the sun’s energy to create sustainable power, we need to act in ways that absorb more light in our lives. So you might spend time with people who support and uplift you, participate in self-care activities to rest and recharge, or deepen your spirituality.

Whatever you do should recharge your happiness meter so you can carry on with positivity.

5. Advocate for your needs.

You can't do it all, all the time. That's why setting firm boundaries and prioritizing your obligations is essential if you want your positive personality to have some room to breathe.


With so many competing interests at hand, all vying for your time, you have to get clear about what — and whom — you want in your life and carve out dedicated time for the people and things you hold dear.

Again, this may change over time, just as everything else does, so having an open mind can help you realign and adjust.

With these tips in mind, you can end the negative thoughts and self-talk that have been compromising your happiness and, as a result, empower your positive attitude to shine.

RELATED: How To Live Peacefully When You Constantly Have Negative Thoughts

Maxine Langdon Starr, Ph.D., LMFT is a marriage and family therapist specializing in adolescents and young adults, partner/owner of Sunflower Therapies, professor of psychology at Brandman University, and motivational speaker on self-esteem.