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How to Take Control of Negative Thought Patterns

All it takes is one negative thought to multiply into several negative thoughts and your mind quickly spirals out of control down a destructive path. By monitoring your internal self talk and thought processes, you’ll be amazed by how much your life can change for the better.

Monitor Your Thoughts

Think of thoughts as cells. Cells rapidly divide from an originating cell, so you clearly do not want a defective cell to continue to make copies of itself in your body. The same goes for thoughts. As you think a negative or fear-based thought, the thought continues to divide into related thoughts, just like a cell making copies of itself. Even if you felt fine 10 minutes ago, one thought--for example, my bank account is getting low, will rapidly multiply.

There is not much remaining after paying the bills. How many days until I get paid? I’ll be broke for a week. I need a new job. How can I increase my money? I don’t have time for a second job. I can’t save money right now, so how will I ever buy a house or retire? I haven’t even started paying my student loans yet. What if an unexpected expense happens. I’m screwed.

These thoughts come so naturally to you that you don't recognize them as being problematic. You could have stopped this downward spiral by recognizing your thinking at my bank account is getting low and changed the thought pattern.

What can I do right now to make extra money? Here's a list of ways I can improve my budget. Money is coming soon. This is a temporary situation and I'll be okay.

As you can see, it's possible to acknowledge a stressful thought without turning it into a downward spiral of negativity. Allowing your inner voice to go on a rampage while you get emotionally involved in the drama your brain is creating is not beneficial to your wellbeing.

Thoughts are just thoughts. They're nontangible. You can acknowledge thoughts without judging them and allow thoughts to pass without getting wrapped up in the drama they create. This is mindfulness.

Even if you’re having financial difficulties, stressing about it is unlikely to change anything except your mood and distract you from staying optimistic about the future. Although this is a financial example, all negative thoughts will duplicate if you keep feeding them with more negativity. Whatever is bothering you at any moment, your brain will find supporting arguments to confirm the negative belief even if it's not true.

Monitor Shifts in Your Energy

The mind is a trickster and all it takes is one seemingly insignificant occurrence to shift from inner calmness to a state of pessimism. Picture it. You’re sitting outside and it’s a beautiful day, you’re listening to the birds and enjoying the warmth of the sun on your face and the gentle breeze in your hair. In the background, the kids are whining and arguing about something not worth fighting about [welcome to my household].

At this moment, you have to make a choice that affects your current state of being.

Where you place your attention is ALWAYS your choice. If your attention is on the kids whining and arguing, you’ll notice both mental and physical changes within your body. A tightness develops in your jaw, neck and shoulders, your heart rate increases, and the calmness you were experiencing is diminishing. Is this the kid’s fault? Absolutely not! The external environment does not conform to your need for inner peace. It’s your internal environment that needs to change regardless of the external circumstances.

Nobody has the power to ruin your day except you. Read that again! Nobody has the power to ruin your day except you. And that’s just one day. Some of you are still reliving negative memories and thought patterns from 10, 25, 40+ years ago and allowing the past to impact your life now. Stop being a victim and take control of your life. Choose to focus on the good in life and watch your circumstances change for the better. Do this everyday!

Exercises for Optimism

Just like there are physical exercises to keep you fit, there’s also ways to keep our thoughts harmonious.


If you feel yourself getting irritated, start meditating [or deep breathing for those who are intimidated by the word meditate]. Meditation is not something that has to be done in lotus pose for a minimum of 30 minutes. Just sit and focus on your breathing [deep inhalation through the nose and slowly exhale through the mouth] until the negative emotion minimizes.

Or, sit quietly with your eyes closed and watch your thoughts float by without judging the content of your thoughts. Even if you can only meditate 5 minutes twice daily, it's better than not meditating at all or only meditation on occasion.

Gratitude or a Feel Good Joy Arsenal:

Focusing on gratitude is another way to keep your thoughts harmonious. It’s good to have a few of your favorite “feel good” memories in your joy arsenal to combat negative thoughts. Maybe it’s the day your child was born, when you brought home a new puppy, paid off a big debt, got a promotion, or learned a new skill.

When you start to feel bad, relive those happy experiences in your mind until you notice a positive energy shift. It doesn't have to be a huge life changing event for it to bring you joy. Even something as small as your dog wagging his tail when you enter the door can make you feel happy.

Find a Hobby:

There are so many hobbies to choose from and you can try out multiple hobbies until you find one that’s enjoyable for you. Dancing, gardening, painting, making outfits for your cat or dog, beading. The list is endless. Walk around a hobby store and find something that looks fun. Or get on and look for different hobbies people have turned into profit. New hobbies are also a great way to rewire your brain, which you can learn about here.


All it takes is one negative thought to duplicate into multiple negative thoughts that can affect your day or even your life. By recognizing negative thoughts, it’s possible to turn these thoughts around and remain in a blissful state. Although your environment has the ability to change your mood and thoughts, it’s up to you to recognize shifts in your energy and choose to remain in a joyous state internally. If your thoughts are dominated by negative events from your past, let them go or seek professional help to work through the event so it stops impacting your present and future.

Remember, where you place your attention is always a choice. Meditation, visualization, and enjoyable hobbies are only a few ways to stay positive. If you struggle with intrusive thoughts or always seem to think as a pessimist, talk to a mental health professional. Sometimes there are underlying issues that need to be addressed so you can move on from thought patterns that are not benefiting you. Suppressing thoughts is not beneficial long term and can actually cause problems in the future.

Affiliate: You can also try the Self Help Journey to conquer your inner critic. Take this quiz to see if your inner critic is holding you back. Sign up here to start your journey.

What did you find helpful about this blog post? What do you do when you feel upset or negative? Can you share your favorite mood changer with our readers? Is there anything you want to know more about? I'm always interested in your comments and please don't forget to subscribe.

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