3 ways to change negative thinking

How to change negative thinking

3 Ways to Stop Negative Thoughts

Negative thinking can stop us from doing the things we want to, from going for a promotion or seeking a new job or finding a loving relationship, or exercising or...starting a painting. And negative thinking can be triggered by the smallest things. When we start to change our negative thinking it can be both liberating and overwhelming. But change them we must because negative thoughts seep into every part of our lives. They affect our relationships and disrupt our ability to be present. And the first step in changing negative thinking is to identify your negative thoughts.


How to identify your negative thoughts

Identifying what negative thoughts we are thinking can be tricky. Just like a cancer cell or a clever virus, negative thoughts and beliefs blend in and appear to just be who we are. Use following questions to ferret out your negative thoughts. Use your imagination to explore the suggested situations in “Try these on” and see what thoughts arise. Make a list of any thoughts and the situations that trigger them.


Try these on: Going to a day spa. Getting your hair done. Shopping for new clothes just because you want them. Going out to dinner with a friend at a nice restaurant. Paying bills. Paying off debt.


Try these on: Meeting someone attractive and confident at a party. Dating someone you have thought was out of your league. Being in a fulfilling, balanced relationship. Having a friend who listens to you and does not try to rush you to "feel better." I deserve to be loved unconditionally.


Try these on: Eating healthy food. Exercising. Meditating. Being creative.

how to change negative thinking: 3 Ways

3 Ways to Change Negative Thinking

How to turn your negative thoughts around

You should now have a list of negative thoughts and the situations which sparked them. Look it over. Which scenarios sparked the most negative thoughts? Can you identify a pattern in the negative thoughts? Go through your list of negative thoughts and, one at a time, ask yourself: Is it true? And after that ask yourself: Is it REALLY true?

Most of our negative thoughts come about from the stories and beliefs we adopted from our youth, from things we learned, observed, or experienced. We do not even question these thoughts and beliefs until it just becomes too uncomfortable and limiting to keep believing them. Remember, just because something happened once, it does not mean it will always turn out that way. In fact, it is very unlikely that it will!

Now, pick one negative thought or set of thoughts and follow these three steps to start thinking positively.

1. Develop Awareness

At then end of the day, take a few moments to review your day and recall times when the negative thoughts popped up. When did it happen? What triggered it? How did you respond?

2. Find Stillness

When we quiet our minds negative thoughts often quiet down, too. Something as simple as doodling or coloring will do the trick. It will create a quiet stillness in your mind that makes room for inspiration to pop in for a visit. Allow 5-10 minutes a day for this.

3 ways to change negative thinking

3. Take Intentional Action

Another way to stretch beyond your negative thoughts is to take action with intent. The other day I decided to visit an RV dealership. As soon as I drove onto the lot negative thoughts began. How could I ever expect to afford an RV? If I did, it would surely be too small, too old, and inadequate to meet all of my needs. I approached the showroom with a smile and, instead of presenting my self-limiting beliefs to the dealership owner, I explained my dream, my vision, and some needs. I did not try to steer the conversation into the small, cramped RV my thoughts told me I could afford. Instead, one after another, I climbed into giant Class A RVs and let myself imagine living in them. And as I left the lot that day, I felt more free. Taking action is powerful. Tony Robbins speaks about this in this inspiring video. What intentional action can you take to challenge your negative thoughts?

3 ways to change negative thinking

I have used all three of these steps in conjunction with one another, but you can start with one and see how it goes. For my complete guide to changing negative thinking, including a 10-minute creativity exercise for finding stillness and planting positive thoughts, download the free PDF below.


How to change negative thinking: 4 steps to start thinking positive thoughts creatively


Get the complete guide which includes an important bonus creativity exercise to quiet your mind and plant your positive thoughts.




Sharing your thoughts, experiences, and insights helps others. Thank you for adding your comments below.


  • storyteller
    November 26, 2018 Reply

    This was awesome. How sneaky we are.

    • Larissa Davis
      December 13, 2018 Reply

      So true, we have so many hidden layers.

  • Michele Gilbody
    November 26, 2018 Reply

    Thank you Larissa. Your suggestions are so spot on! It is often so true that we let negative or self-limiting thoughts control our path. I love the ideas you present to redirect those thoughts especially the freedom to dream like a child where no limitations enter the equation. Thank you for helping me to remember. I wish you peace and love.

    • Larissa Davis
      June 14, 2019 Reply

      To you as well, Michele!

  • Barbara Helen Baker
    November 26, 2018 Reply

    Very thought provoking thoughts, Laissa.....very insightful. I just heard a TED talk on salf-hatred which was fascinating. What this woman does is make friends with the self-hatred and has found that it's actual purpose was to protect the person and it had no idea it wasn't being helpful!

    • Larissa Davis
      June 14, 2019 Reply

      Yes, this is so true. The negativity is there as a warrior...some call it the steadfast soldier...to protect us from situations it perceives could be harmful!

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