Thoughts are just thoughts. They are neither good nor bad. But it’s difficult to resist judging them. It seems that the harder you try to get rid of a bad thought, the worse it gets.
The key to battling negativity is accepting it. This paradox allows you to step aside from the worry and view it at face value. Use ‘Socratic questioning‘ to enhance your reframing; instead of berating yourself, act like you’re the one offering advice to an anxious friend.
Another tactic for conquering gloomy thinking is asking what purpose it serves. All the stress induced by the Presidential election — results you have no control over — “is not going to accomplish anything.”
If you’re still stuck and need to get outside your head, meditate or do some breathing exercises. Tara Brach’s has some excellent guided meditations.
In summary, there are four tactics for warding off pessimism:
- Accept the thought no matter how ridiculous or scary it is
- Gain perspective by using the Socratic questioning method
- Ask if the thinking helps you accomplish anything useful
- Breathe in and out