January 21, 2021

negative thoughts image
Our minds are always on red alert to speak with a negative voice, which, over time, can be incredibly confidence-knocking. The next time you’re tempted to listen to that little voice of negativity, use one of these 12 go-to strategies to send those negative thoughts on their merry way.

1. Read it out

read out your negative thoughts

Recently, some celebrities have started to read their negative social media tweets out loud, which really puts into perspective how absurd and ridiculous they truly are. Try doing the same thing with the negative voice inside your head. 

Call up a friend, share your negative thoughts with them, and then laugh at how ridiculous the mind can be.

2. Tell a joke or funny story

laughter moves you to a better mindset

Laughter always moves you to a better mindset. Smile, tell a joke or remember a funny story. Laughing at yourself can never be a bad thing either! 

It helps you to get over things that may have been painful or embarrassing at the time. Plus, smiling has been scientifically proven to improve your mood, even if you have to force a grin.

3. Speak back

Our negative thoughts like to be in charge. When your mind wants to take over, mentally say to it: “Thanks for sharing,” and get on with your day. 

There is no point fighting with your thoughts as it’s likely that they’ll only get louder. Just speak back to them and move on!

4. Breathe

practice deep breathing to lower the stress in the body

Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax

The brain then sends this message to your body. For this reason, you should be able to calm your thoughts by taking three deep breaths. 

Stop what you’re doing, get your feet connected with the ground, and breathe deeply. Don’t rush your thoughts. Simply breathe in and out, and plan your next move.

5. Set a time-limit

set a time limit for your negative thoughts

Hanging out with your negative thoughts won’t make them go away. Tell yourself that you will allow those thoughts for no more than one minute, and then they’re no longer welcome. 

For added incentive, set a timer on your smartphone. Once it goes off, don’t allow any negative thoughts back in.

6. Work out

workout to alleviate your mood

Exercise will alleviate your mood, and the recent surge in group fitness classes for the body and mind highlights that. Smart workout enthusiasts have been doing this for years by practicing the revolutionary mind-body workout, intenSati, where you train your mind to speak positive thoughts and use the intentions from class in your everyday life. 

One of the most impactful statements used out loud in classes is: “All negative thoughts stop right now!”

negative thoughts pin

7. Change your environment

talk a walk to change your environment

A change of scenery, even walking out of the room you’re in, can move your mind to new thought patterns. Stand up and walk away from the situation and find something new to focus on. 

You may find that you can now look at tasks like folding the laundry in a whole new and more positive light.

8. Write it down

get rid of your negative thoughts by writing them down

In some cases, it’s best to get those thoughts out of your head. Set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes and write down all your worries. Once you have done this, crumple up the piece of paper, rip it up, and throw out that list. 

Burn it for extra significance. Get it off your chest and move on.

9. Design a go-to statement

Positive self-talk might seem a little crazy, but it genuinely works. Many professional psychologists swear by positive affirmation for helping them to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. 

Prepare yourself with a positive statement to say to yourself when a negative thought appears. For example, “Yes I can, I can do it, I am in the process of figuring it out.” Find one that speaks to you and have it on hand to ward off the negative voice.

10. Use a go-to mannerism

use a go-to mannerism like a smile

Have fun with this one. When a negative thought appears, have a reaction with a fun or silly action. Poke your tongue out, slap your wrist, hum out loud, or just smile. 

Find a bodily response that will get you out of your head and focus back on the present.

11. Visualise getting rid of your thoughts

visualize getting rid of negative thoughts

For some people, actually picturing getting rid of their negative thoughts helps them to move past that way of thinking. It may help you to imagine a chest or a box opening up. 

You can then picture forcing your negative thoughts into the box, shutting the lid and locking it for good measure. Instruct the box not to open until a more convenient time – especially if your negative thoughts are preventing you from falling asleep.

12. Keep positive company

keep positive company

If you can't get troublesome feelings out of your mind, it may have something to do with your social circle. One study found that it’s common for people to pick up rumination-like behaviours from the people they surround themselves with. 

Because rumination often involves worrying and thinking aloud, it's a habit that can be easily mirrored by other people. Avoid perpetually negative people when you can, or at least be aware of what habits might be rubbing off on you.


There you have it – 12 ways to make negative thoughts leave your mind. You can see that it is possible to stop dwelling on negative thoughts and refocus your mind on something positive – it just takes a bit of distraction and a healthy dose of willpower.

About the author

Tim Russell

I am passionate about health and wellbeing and have writing for over 10 years on the subject. I have a BSc Hons Degree and undertake vigorous research to help people improve their lives and live more a healthy and happy life.

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