How to Keep Negative Thoughts From Harming Your Health

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How to Keep Negative Thoughts From Harming Your Health

Did you know the average person has roughly 60,000 thoughts every single day? And if you’re typical, many of your thoughts run on a repeating loop all day long, whether they’re good thoughts or bad ones.

Negative thoughts, including stress, anger, bitterness, and resentment are actually harmful to your health. A study conducted among women who frequently experience and express anger found they are more likely to die from heart complications compared to women who control their rage.[1] Furthermore, when anger is poorly managed, it can lead to hypertension, cardiovascular disease, digestive disorders, infections, and can even damage immune system function in both men and women.[2]

According to Psychology Today, pessimism can make an impact, too. In fact, pessimists are eight times more likely to be depressed than optimists, they often have worse performance at work and in school, and even tend to have shorter lifespans.[3]

Research also suggests that negative feelings are responsible for upsetting the body’s natural hormone levels.[2] And possibly the very worst part is that chronic negative thoughts and feelings can actually deplete the brain of critical chemicals that are absolutely essential for creating feelings of happiness.[2] In other words, the more negative thoughts you experience, the less likely you’ll be able to achieve happiness.

So if you suffer from chronic feelings of hostility, hopelessness, pessimism, anger, or any other negative thought, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Here are a few things to do to ensure that your thoughts don’t harm your health.

Find the positive in the negative. The first thing you should do when feeling overwhelmed by negative thoughts is to start finding the good in them. You can find a silver lining to almost every bad situation in life if you look for it and by focusing on the positive, you’ll have less time and energy to concentrate on the negative.

Give yourself a mental detox. Whether it’s technology, media, or relationships, finding the sources of your negative thoughts and purging them is helpful. If you constantly feel angry every time you log into your favorite social media account, maybe it’s time to go on a sabbatical from it. If work stresses you out every single moment of every single day, it might be time to start pursuing other opportunities.

Fill your brain with positive vibes. Next, soften negativity by filling your time with positive things that you enjoy, like reading, listening to music or uplifting podcasts, getting outdoors, or spending time with others. If you don’t add additional positivity to your life, you’ll naturally return to negativity. Fill your newfound empty space with good vibes only.

Surround yourself with positive people. Negative people perpetuate your negative thoughts and sometimes we need to go through a “weeding” process to limit these interactions. If you find yourself around people that are constantly bringing you down, start spending more time with people who bring your feelings up and encourage you.

Get moving. By exercising routinely, you will have something to focus on that’s good for you—both mentally and physically. Over time, you’ll start to notice the positive thoughts are beginning to flow more easily. Yoga is a great mental exercise, with moments of quietness and a focus on exercising awareness. During these moments of silence, notice where your thoughts naturally go so you can intentionally curb any negativity.

Give your brain lots of nourishment. Proper nutrients are absolutely essential for optimal brain function. Your mind will have a more difficult time switching from negativity to positivity if it’s nutritionally starving. Vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, cofactors, enzymes, and antioxidants are great for healthy brain function.

Finally, love yourself. You really can’t heal your thoughts if you are constantly harsh with yourself. It’s important to embrace all that you are and love the incredible personality that makes you, you! Healthy brains are happy brains, and happy brains love and respect themselves.

We hope these tips will help you create a more positive mindset. Please remember though that sometimes negative thoughts can be too overwhelming to handle on your own and it’s perfectly acceptable to seek professional help in these instances.

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[1] Hupston, F. (2010). Avoid the harmful effects of negative thinking. Retrieved from http://www.naturalnews.com/029850_negativity_thinking.html#

[2] Lawson, K (n.d.). How do thoughts and emotions impact health? Retrieved from http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/health/thoughts-emotions/how-do-thoughts-emotions-impact-health

[3] Reynolds, S. (2011). Happy brain, happy life. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/prime-your-gray-cells/201108/happy-brain-happy-life

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