Negative thinking is a habit that can destroy your self-confidence, harm your performance, ruin relationships and lead to depression. When you put yourself down by saying things like, "Why me?" or "I'll never succeed," you deprive yourself of the energy and motivation to strive for your goals and make positive life changes. Constantly replaying negative memories or imagining disaster for your future is also a form of negative thinking that steals power from the present moment -- because your thoughts are based on the past or future. Replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts is an endeavor that can improve the quality of your life and make you a happier person.
Become aware of your thought process. Don't try to suppress or change any negative thoughts. The goal is to first become completely aware of the thoughts as they arise.
Write down any negative thoughts that you observe in a journal so that you can clearly see your thinking pattern.
Take each negative thought and challenge it. For example, if you feel like you are never successful, challenge that thought by recalling times in your life when you have accomplished your goals like learning to drive or graduating from high school. No accomplishment should be taken for granted.
Practice positive affirmations such as, "I'm getting stronger every day," "I love myself just as I am," "No one is perfect, I am doing the best I can," "Today is a wonderful day," "I learn from my mistakes," and "I am grateful for all of my blessings." You can use these affirmations or create your own and use them as mantras throughout your day to enhance self-esteem and reduce negative thinking. Over time, with daily practice, positive thinking will become automatic.
Find inspiration every day by reading inspirational books, watching uplifting television programs and surrounding yourself with happy people. Participating in these activities and surrounding yourself with happy people can provide you with living examples on how to maintain a positive outlook and stop negative thinking.
Pray or meditate. Spend 10 minutes a day in a quiet location where you will not be disturbed. Close your eyes. Sit in a comfortable chair with your back straight. Take five to seven deep breaths, allowing your body to relax with each exhale. Allow your breathing to return to normal. In this relaxed state ignore your thoughts until they become quiet. Focus only on your breathing. This exercise will help you to get out of your head, relax and focus on your spiritual practice.
Smile. It's difficult to hold negative thoughts when you have a smile on your face.
Practice gratitude everyday by listing all of the things in your life for which you are grateful. For example, you may want a different job, but instead of thinking negatively about where you currently work, you can choose to be grateful because you are employed. No matter what obstacles you are experiencing, you can always practice gratitude. Keep a gratitude list and add to it often.