We all loaded ourselves with negative thoughts time to time. No matter how rich we are or how professionally qualified we are, we all feel sad and tensed due to different reasons. But, we all should keep in mind that toxic thoughts never define our personality and we should not let negative thoughts to define our personality. Yet, unfortunately, we always let ourselves to succumb to the power of these negative emotions and that is what causes the damage for us.
The Buddha once said, “Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts”.
These unguarded thoughts have the power even to kill us and do many harms than our enemies can even think of. These negative thoughts tend to hang around and that is when cognitive reframing is important.
A former clinical psychologist and author of the Anxiety Toolkit, Dr. Alice Boyes, describes cognitive restructuring as “a core part of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)” and he defines it as “one of the most effective psychological treatments”.
In this article, we are going to enlighten you about fundamental of cognitive restructuring. So, here are 5 ways to reframe negative thoughts;
1. Observe the negative thought.
Negative thoughts are a product of cognitive distortions or irrational thought patterns. When you are burdened with negative thoughts, you will lose your reason and logic. You will try to succumb to pain and do whatever thing that comes to your head. but, please don’t ruin yourself by doing what you feel in these moments where you have been affected by negative thoughts.
Just take a deep breathe and try to analyze your thoughts. Think what makes you sad and what is the reason for that and finally think what you should do. It is not something difficult. You only need to observe your thoughts and then watch it dissipate.
2. Question any ruminations.
Ruminations are patterns of overthinking. When you are affected by pessimistic thoughts, you tend to overthink and deliberately enlarge the issue that you are facing. It will not only give you no solution but also will make you desperate.
So, the question then becomes “How do I reframe these thoughts?”
Here we have a suggestion for you.
Take a sheet of paper and draw two columns as ‘thoughts’ and ‘solutions.’ When the ruminations appear, write down the time. Write anything of use in the ‘solution’ column. Then at the end of the day/week/month, count the number of times the thoughts appear and any insights.
3. Determine the evidence.
Always think what makes you sad and the reason for that. For instance, if you are worried over the fact that you don’t have enough money, then think what you should do to have some money and then you will see your worries are eventually getting faded. You can also try the exercises mentioned above. Write your problem in one column and then try to write solutions. Most importantly, try to act on those solutions and you will see a miracle with time.
4. Practice mindfulness.
Christopher Bergland, a three-time champion of the Triple Ironman Triathlon and scientist define mindfulness as “much more basic than most people realize”. He breaks it down into three parts as “stop, breathes and thinks about your thinking”. If you can practice this simple mindfulness trick throughout the day, then you can always stay calm, focused, optimistic and kind.
5. Understand impermanence and naturality.
You should understand that negative thoughts are impermeant and they do not have any real power at all. Always try to distract your mind from negative thinking and when you engage your mind in elsewhere it will be easy for you to forget what is pressurizing you easily.
“We act how we think and feel. When we remove the negative thought, with it goes the drama and pain” -Anon-