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Admittedly, I enjoy solitude. Sometimes it’s great to get away and have some quiet time to rest, relax and rejuvenate. However, spending time alone can often conjure up fears and automatic negative thoughts.
When these unwelcomed views begin to take hold, I think it is crucial to counteract them quickly. Here are a few techniques that I’ve used to stop automatic negative thoughts when I am all alone, and my mood begins to get a bit gloomy.
Over the years, I’ve learned to stay prepared for those moments when I may need encouragement and positive motivation. So, I place inspiring quotes in various locations and even carry one or two with me in my wallet or a zippered compartment of my pocketbook.
Even now, as I type this article, I looked down, and above my keyboard, I taped an encouraging thought that I found somewhere, so as I hesitate, think and look down, I see “ Never fear, the end of something marks the start of something new.” I don’t remember where I found it or who to credit with authorship. But I do know that it has lifted my mood and gave me that push to believe, stay confident instead of feeling defeated.
So, I highly recommend getting engrossed in positive affirmations, finding and keeping inspiring quotes as well as keeping this verbiage within arms reach. You will likely discover that these items can aid you when you find yourself dealing with automatic negative thoughts.
Songs – music and lyrics can be motivating and give you that quick shot of joy and happiness. Singing a song that you enjoy can reverse your thoughts from negative to positive and your mood from low to high.
When you are alone and find yourself becoming depressed or, sad ideas begin to overtake your mind just sing. Think of one of those special songs that always make you smile and sing. Sing quietly, sing out loud, sing in your mind and you will find your thoughts and your disposition swing 360 degrees.
There are a ton of songs that you can choose. Sometimes you may not know all the lyrics, sing anyway and add what you need to stay rooted in a favorable mood. It may be a catchy tune that makes you feel upbeat. Or, it may be the uplifting lyrics that change your thoughts. Or, it could be a combination of the two that will do the trick and keep you singing and dancing instead of sulking.
A good song that covers music and lyrics, which is bound to make you happy, is titled just that, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. But, choose whatever you like, just don’t be afraid to sing yourself out of that sad space and boost your spirit.
A method that can be useful in combating automatic negative thoughts is journaling. You can use this in two forms. You can use previous journal entries that focus on positive experiences and happy times to reverse a dark mood.
So when you suspect that a bad feeling is approaching, reach for your journal and read all about those good times you had with friends and families. Also, review your successes and achievements and inspire yourself to lift your head, your heart, and your spirits.
Another tactic that I have used to fight of automatic negative thoughts is a concept you may have heard of, “thought stopping.”
“Thought-stopping” is precisely what it says. You speak to yourself and tell yourself to stop thinking of upsetting or depressing items and focus on inspiring and rewarding ideas. When you use this method to get rid of automatic negative thoughts and moods, you tell yourself to stop repeating depressive notions.
However, I know many people who’ve confirmed that “thought stopping” does not work for them. So, if you use this method, you may want to tie it in with one of the other ways of combating negativism.
For instance, after you tell yourself, “Don’t go there. Stop the negative thinking,” you should pick up and review the documentation in your journal where you previously listed accomplishments, happy times, and inspiring events.
Or, after you’ve told yourself a mod change is necessary, do something about it by singing or focusing on positive affirmations, which might help to get you back, on track to reverse a bad mood.
Taking control of the situation and taking the initiative to encourage yourself can usually work to reverse your thoughts and moods. If you do nothing, you are likely to fall deeper and deeper into a negative space, especially since the concern is for those times when you are alone.
You have the power to encourage yourself, inspire yourself, and uplift yourself. It’s great to have others to lean on, but don’t think that if you are alone, all is lost. You can take still take action to bring joy to your heart and put a smile on your face.
Jacqueline P. Walker has over 25 years of leadership experience. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Art (Psychology/ English/ Communication Arts). And, has completed extensive graduate coursework in Organizational and Technology Management as well as earned certification in Work Place Communications. In 2012, she self-published her first book of poetry, Mothers, Sisters & Friends. Her work honors women and enforces the importance of mentoring and bonding as motivational tools. In 2013, she released, Lyrics of My Reality: Reflections & Inspirations - a compilation of personal essays and poetry. This work aims to encourage readers through topics of hope, support & caring, love & relationship and the value of sisterhood.
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