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Changing Negative Thinking

Negative thinking – that voice in our head that tells us that things won’t work out, we will end up failing at something, or people just don’t like us. And those are only some examples of the many negative thoughts people can have!  This constant worrying or negative thoughts can easily contribute to social anxiety, depression, stress, and low self-esteem.  It can become a cycle; if our thoughts are often negative, this affects our emotions and also our behaviours, including how we manage our day to day lives.  For example, if a person’s negative thoughts are telling them they are not well liked at work, then they might feel awkward and stressed in those situations.  The resulting behaviour might be to avoid talking to people at work or avoiding social situations.

The good news is that it is definitely possible to break the cycle of negative thinking using low cost and simple approaches:

  • Get curious and be an observer of your own thoughts
    • Identify the negative thoughts instead of trying to avoid or deny them without judgment.  You could try start to write them down…is there a pattern?  Try and see thoughts as just what they are – thoughts and not facts.
  • Challenge the accuracy of the thoughts – look for evidence
    • When faced with a negative thought, ask yourself the question: “What evidence do I have that this is true?”  This is a very powerful way to begin to break the pattern. Ask yourself: Am I jumping to conclusions?  Am I over generalizing how one experience applies to all?
  • Practice mindfulness
    • Build self awareness by detaching yourself from your thoughts – try viewing your thoughts as items or objects floating or passing by

Above all, practice self-compassion and be kind to yourself. If you are interested in learning techniques to help you combat your negative thoughts, you might consider working with a counsellor who specializes in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness or Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).

At Waypoint Counselling Network, we know finding the right therapist is the most important step in seeking help. We will help match you to the right counsellor in Victoria, Vancouver, Kelowna or online anywhere in BC.  All of our counsellors offer online counselling via phone or video and some offer in-person sessions. To get started, simply complete our matching questionnaire, book a matching and referral call with Clinical Director, George Bielay or proceed to book a free consultation with one of our clinicians here.

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