Take control of your negative thoughts and feelings

watchyourthoughts Words can hurt…
Remember the saying ‘Sticks and stones will break my bones but calling names won’t hurt me?’ If only it was true. Words can hurt us. The way people deal with us can make us feel bad about ourselves and can upset us.

My recent experience
I recently had a situation when someone said some hurtful words and was dismissive of me. I left the situation feeling upset and sad. I got into my car and was about to ‘rant’ to myself about my experience, when I stopped myself. Why should I waste my energy thinking about this person? Yes, they were unpleasant but deep down I knew I did not deserve it. This person’s actions were about them, not me. They choose to say the words and treat me in a negative way. I had chosen not respond and walk away, and now I had the choice not to let it upset me. I choose to think about a good thing about that person that we shared in common and focused thinking about that. It has enabled me to smile and think about something positive about that person. It helped me ‘move on’ from the situation and more importantly not slide into negative thoughts of ‘why me?’, ‘what have I done wrong’, and feeling upset about the situation.

What can I share?
The two things that I can share with you from this experience are how we deal with our feelings and how we can change our thinking. If you internalise your feelings, this can often lead to stress and depression. You may find yourself questioning your self-worth and these feelings will fester within yourself.

Letting go of negative emotions
Holding onto negative emotions causes a downward spiral. They can stop us from thinking and behaving rationally and seeing the situation in a logical way. If this occurs, we will only remember what we want to remember and see only what we want to see. This in the long term means we hold onto our feelings which can stop us from enjoying our life. If we let this continue, we become rooted with the problem, and our feelings can be expressed in a negative way. For example, we can our anger with violence.

How to let go of negative thoughts
Change your thinking. Every bad situation, don’t think of it negatively but try to think of a positive reason. It is important to overcome your negative thought and replace it with a positive thought. For example, if someone does not text you back. Instead of thinking ‘they don’t like me’. Think of the logical reasons and tell them to yourself. For example, ‘phone is broken’ or ‘they cannot be in phone range’. This positive thinking will make you feel better about the situation. Negative thinking means you will end up blaming yourself. Instead keep an open mind.
Changing negative thoughts takes practice but it is worth it. Don’t carry the guilt.

And remember….
Our actions with people can have a massive impact on them. Being kind and pleasant to people can change our relationship with them. Your positive thinking will be seen and although you may be hurting, upset inside or just feeling low, people will feel better from it. It may not still make you popular but it will make you feel better yourself and more importantly have a positive impact on the other person.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” Lao Tzu

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Hazel Hill has a private supervision and counselling practice in Sheffield. As well as having a private Sheffield and online practice, her clinical experience includes working for IAPT, EAP's affiliate work, and charity. Hazel specialises in workplace counselling, bereavement, anxiety and depression and outdoors counselling. You can contact her on 07814 363855

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