The human brain is the most powerful computer and calculator on the planet. Unfortunately, it is also capable of incredible darkness and negativity. If you find yourself suffering from constant negative thoughts, psychology has discovered ways for you to become and stay positive.
If you find yourself in a dark, negative mental place without a clear path to find happiness, many therapists suggest practicing more compassion. Compassion will allow you to focus on something other than your negativity. Compassion is a bridge that can carry you over the endless abyss of negativity. Practicing compassion can start with something as simple as volunteering at a nursing home, caring for a sick loved one or feeding a stray animal. Neurologists have performed studies which show that practicing even the smallest of compassionate acts triggers the “pleasure center” of your brain to increase your mood and fill you with pleasure and happiness.
Gratitude is a healthy way to move your mental focus from negative thoughts onto more positive ones. If you continue to dwell on the things you don’t have or the things you’ve lost, you’re going to slip deeper into melancholy, anger, and hopelessness. Gratitude is a lifesaver in that it helps you to instead look at the great and wonderful things that you haven’t lost and that you continue to enjoy. A great way to begin training your mind to practice gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal can be physical or digital, depending on your personal preference. Be sure to write down at least three things for which you are grateful every day. If you need help keeping up with your gratitude journal entries, enlist the help of a friend whom you can call, text or email a few times a week to share your blessings with one another and keep positive thoughts flowing.
Notice Your Criticisms
Being overly critical of yourself or others can rob you of a positive mindset and drown you in negativity. Having judgmental or critical thoughts of others doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person. It simply means that you’re a product of an overly critical or judgmental emotional environment. A hypercritical mindset can be retrained by simply noticing when you think crucial thoughts. For every critical thought you notice, force yourself to find two positive things about the person or situation to replace that one critical thought.
Lisa Landman holds a Doctorate in Psychology and has worked in a variety of professional settings. Learn more about her professional work or check out her Twitter!