Simple Strategies to Quiet Negative Thoughts

2 min read

It’s not uncommon to hear your peers, media, and mentors encourage you to redirect your negative thoughts. But quieting these thoughts are often easier said than done.

We asked The Shrink Space provider, Erica Schommer, a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Yoga Teacher to share some easy strategies to help quiet the mind for when our thoughts become a bit too intrusive.

quiet negative thoughts_The Shrink Space

When you have negative thoughts and memories that are bothersome and they seem to inhabit your mind longer than you’d like, try asking yourself this question below.  By interjecting our own voice into our inner dialogue, we give ourselves an opportunity to change the trajectory of the thought. 

Practice asserting yourself with friendliness and neutrality towards the it.

Does this thought hold meaning for me now, in this moment?

If the answer is yes…

  • How does repeatedly thinking about it help or benefit me in some way? 

  • Does it allow me to feel more stable, more prepared, more justified, more understood. Remember, the more thought that goes into something, the more meaning – for better or for worse.  

  • Decide how this thought has meaning for you now (not in the past or future).  Choose how you want to act or speak using the meaning or theme.  For example, if the thought/memory represents a need for stability, how can you create more opportunity for yourself to feel grounded and stable in this moment?

If the answer is no…

  • Try saying to yourself some iteration of, “my brain is sending me this thought and it is up to me to decide what I want to do with it.”

  • Give the it a headline or title, then move on to a new thought or task.  Imagine seeing the headline next to you, as if riding in a bus or train, and allow it to be there as you move on with the task.  Practicing this may bring up a different kind of discomfort since you’re not engaging with the thought.  That discomfort is you resisting the attachment and with practice and friendliness towards yourself, it will become less intense.

Check out Erica’s other posts to learn more about why it can be so hard to let go of our thoughts and easy mindfulness exercises you practice in your dorm room or between classes.

You can also visit Erica’s profile to schedule an appointment with her. And if you’re looking for more support, The Shrink Space has your back. We have over 7,000 mental health therapists and psychiatrists across the US, UK, Canada who specialize in working with young adults. You can search by specialities, location, provider identities, and availability and much more!

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