Breaking Free from Negative Thoughts: 5 Strategies for a Positive Mindset

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April 7th, 2023

By Nikki Harper

Staff Writer for Wake Up World

Negative thoughts can be overwhelming and can have a significant impact on our lives. They can interfere with our ability to enjoy life, affect our relationships with others, and even lead to physical health problems. Although integrating your shadow self (and with it any negative personal traits) is important for spiritual development, being trapped in a cyle of negative thoughts helps nobody. Here’s how to recognise if you have a problem – and how to break free if you do.

1. Identify Negative Thought Patterns

Negative thoughts can be difficult to identify, especially if they are deeply ingrained. The first step in breaking free from negative thoughts is to become aware of them. Start by paying attention to the language you use when you talk to yourself. Do you tend to use negative words and phrases? Do you focus on the worst-case scenario? Negative thinking patterns can manifest in many different ways, such as black and white thinking, overgeneralization, and personalization.

Black and white thinking involves seeing things in absolutes – things are either all good or all bad. Overgeneralization involves making broad assumptions based on limited evidence. Personalization involves taking things personally and assuming that other people’s actions are directed towards you. By understanding the different types of negative thinking patterns, you can start to recognize them in your own thoughts.

2. Challenge Negative Thoughts

Once you’ve identified your negative thought patterns, it’s time to challenge them. This involves questioning the validity of your thoughts and looking for evidence that supports or refutes them. Ask yourself if your negative thoughts are based on facts or assumptions. Are you catastrophizing? Catastrophizing involves assuming that the worst-case scenario is going to happen. Are you overgeneralizing? Overgeneralizing involves making sweeping statements based on limited evidence. Are you jumping to conclusions? Jumping to conclusions involves making assumptions without enough evidence to support them.

Once you’ve identified the type of negative thinking pattern, you can then replace negative thoughts with more positive and realistic ones. This may involve reframing the situation, looking for evidence to support a more positive perspective, or questioning the validity of your negative thoughts.

3. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in the moment and observing your thoughts without judgment. When you’re mindful, you’re able to observe your negative thoughts without getting caught up in them. This allows you to let go of negative thoughts and focus on the present moment. Mindfulness can be practiced through meditation, deep breathing, or simply paying attention to your surroundings.

To practice mindfulness, find a quiet place where you can sit or lie down comfortably. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Observe the sensation of the air entering and leaving your body. When thoughts come into your mind, observe them without judgment and then let them go. With regular practice, you’ll be able to cultivate a greater sense of awareness and become more mindful in your everyday life.

4. Surround Yourself with Positivity

Surrounding yourself with positivity can help you maintain a positive mindset. Spend time with people who are positive and supportive. This can be family members, friends, or colleagues who share your positive outlook on life. If you don’t have people in your life who are positive and supportive, consider joining a club or group that aligns with your interests. This can help you meet like-minded people and build a positive support network.

In addition to spending time with positive people, it’s also important to surround yourself with positive influences. This can include books, movies, music, and other forms of media that inspire you and lift your mood. By filling your life with positivity, you’ll be better able to maintain a positive mindset.

5. Practice Gratitude

Practicing gratitude is a powerful way to break free from negative thoughts. It involves focusing on the good things in your life and expressing gratitude for them. This can be as simple as writing down three things you’re grateful for each day. By focusing on the positive, you’ll be better able to maintain a positive mindset.

To practice gratitude, take a few minutes each day to reflect on the good things in your life. This could be anything from a supportive friend to a beautiful sunset. Write down three things that you’re grateful for each day, and take a moment to savor those positive experiences. By focusing on the good things in your life, you’ll be less likely to get caught up in negative thinking patterns.

Breaking free from negative thoughts takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. By identifying your negative thinking patterns, challenging them, practicing mindfulness, surrounding yourself with positivity, and practicing gratitude, you can cultivate a more positive mindset. Remember that negative thoughts are a normal part of life, but they don’t have to control you. With practice and persistence, you can break free from negative thinking patterns and live a more positive and fulfilling life.


  1. Burns, D. D. (1989). The feeling good handbook. Penguin. []
  2. Chiesa, A., & Serretti, A. (2010). A systematic review of neurobiological and clinical features of mindfulness meditations. Psychological Medicine, 40(8), 1239-1252.
  3. Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389. []
  4. Martin, R. C., & Dahlen, E. R. (2005). Cognitive emotion regulation in the prediction of depression, anxiety, stress, and anger. Personality and Individual Differences, 39(7), 1249-1260.
  5. Seligman, M. E. P. (2011). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. Free Press. []

About the author:

Nikki Harper is a spiritualist writer, astrologer, and editor for Wake Up World. She writes about divination, astrology, mediumship and spirituality at Questionology: Astrology and Divination For the Modern World where you can also find out more about her work as a freelance astrologer and her mind-body-spirit writing and editing services. Nikki also runs a spiritualist centre in North Lincs, UK, hosting weekly

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