15 Steps To Get Rid Of Negative Thought Patterns

Forbes Coaches Council Members

Apr 28, 2022

Able (Find Your Voice Asia) helps individuals find their diamond within & grow beyond the ego in order to find peace within & with others.

A positive attitude is key to just about everything good in life. Negative thought patterns are difficult to break, and they can wreak havoc not only on one’s career if left unchecked, but also your mental and physical health.


To maximize your productivity and success when you’re at work and your satisfaction and fulfillment when you’re at home, it’s essential to recognize negative thought patterns and work on breaking them. Here, 15 members of Forbes Coaches Council share some concrete steps you can take to eliminate negative thought patterns and move forward.


1. Practice Mindfulness Meditation


Mindfulness meditation can be a potent antidote to negative thought patterns. Negative thoughts gain power through the emotions we tie to them. Practicing mindfulness meditation regularly creates greater psychological flexibility, strengthening emotion regulation skills and increasing your ability to decouple your thoughts and emotions. - Jamie Lewis Smith, Pixel Leadership Group, LLC


2. Accept Thoughts As Normal And Be Conscious


Humans are wired for negativity. Knowing, accepting and realizing that negative thought patterns are normal is step No. 1. Then, remember that’s all they are—thoughts; you give them power when you act on them without conscious thinking. That’s step No. 2. Then, step No. 3 is to consciously decide what action to take or not take. This begins the process of forming new neural networks for new behaviors. - Yvette Costa, Velocity Advisory Group


3. Notice And Name The Negative Thought Pattern


I’ve witnessed several people have breakthroughs with negative thought patterns simply by naming and acknowledging the pattern. It’s like catching your mental talk in the act, and just by noticing it, you take away some of that negative energy. For an extra boost, once it is noticed, make the intentional decision to let it go. - Billy Williams, Archegos




4. Check In With Your Body


The simplest step is to check in with your body. How do you feel when you experience negative thoughts? I often share research that shows when you engage in negativity for 20 consecutive minutes, you shed brain cells responsible for reasoning and memory. Shifting the focus to the body and breath creates separation from thoughts so a person can access a sense of choice about which thoughts to entertain. - Lisa Marie Platske, Upside Thinking, Inc.


5. Reverse The Negative Mindset

To get rid of negative thought patterns, reverse the mindset. For example, I often hear job seekers say, “I only receive rejection letters when I apply for jobs.” In this case, look for the positives. What I see is an opportunity to rewrite the résumé, better prepare for interviews, develop a new social media profile, identify jobs with a better fit and design a career management action plan. - Diane Hudson, Career Marketing Techniques, LLC

6. Activate Your Competencies And Refocus

Success always comes by activation of one’s own competencies. The dissociation model can contribute very well. By searching for and finding exceptional situations, even if the improvement experienced is considered slight, the chance to experience more choices than before and redefine problems arises immediately. Competence emerges so that refocusing can take place. - Cristian Hofmann, Empowering Executives | SUPERGROUP LTD

7. Use Your Emotions As A Compass

Thought patterns can be corrected only through a continuous and conscious desire to make a change. One step is to use your emotions as a compass, because each time you react, it is telling you something—not about the stimulus that caused you to react, but about yourself. Exercises such as yoga, Pilates or even writing in a journal are all ways to move toward a calmer mind in order to grow self-awareness. - Able Wanamakok, Find Your Voice Asia

8. Use The RAIN Method

The RAIN method is my favorite habit to help leaders break negative thought patterns: Recognize the negative thought when it emerges; Accept it (don’t judge it!); Investigate it (where does this originate in my narrative, and why?); and finally Non-identify with it (push the negative thought pattern away and decide that it does not serve you now). - Shefali Raina, Alpha Lane Partners

9. Practice Self-Reflection And Introspection

Practicing regular self-reflection and introspection can help you nip some negative thought patterns in the bud. However, no one can anticipate and counteract everything they will face, so it is also important that you surround yourself with a personal advisory board of trusted individuals who will help shine a light on your blind spots and be willing to challenge you and your thinking. - Jonathan H. Westover, Utah Valley University & Human Capital Innovations, LLC

10. Take The ‘Yeti Challenge’

In helping our clients move from a fixed to a growth mindset, we created what we call the “Yeti Challenge.” For example, we start with a negative thought such as: “I’m just too old to change.” To transform the negative thought, we have the person add “yet I” to the statement, followed by what they might do to change that perception. For example, “I’m just too old to change… yet I will register for an online class to learn a new skill.” -Ira Wolfe, Success Performance Solutions

11. Be Careful With Your Focused Energy

In professional services, I advise my clients to be careful with their focused energy. Negative thoughts block the flow-state, which is where we do our best work. Overpacked schedules make it nearly impossible to fight off negative thoughts and achieve flow. So pick one or two times per week when your schedule is free for up to three hours to just get into the flow. You’ll be amazed at how much you get done. - Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group

12. Align Your Behavior With Positive Ways Of Thinking

You can act your way into thinking differently, but you can’t think your way into acting differently. Align your behavior with positive ways of thinking that help build confidence and relationships. Over time, you will see a shift in those negative thoughts as well. - Michele Cohen, Lead to Growth Coaching

13. Combat Negativity With Daily Affirmations

Negative thought patterns can be combated with positive thought patterns. A daily affirmation practice is a useful tool to inject positivity into your daily life. Look for a few affirmations online or in your favorite journal and say them to yourself two or three times a day, perhaps while looking in the mirror. With time and practice, your mind will transform these statements from ideals into reality. - Jarret Patton, DoctorJarret PLLC

14. Keep A Journal

Whenever you catch yourself having a negative thought, write it down. Then, confront yourself with it: “Is this something that I want to feel? Is this accurate?” Over time, these negative thought patterns can become a habit, and the simple act of writing it down allows you to stop and reflect. Something as simple as throwing away the paper with these thoughts on it can be really impactful. - Josephine Kant, Google for Startups

15. Remember, Thoughts Aren't Facts

Remember, thoughts are just sentences in your mind—they aren't facts. A thought is an observation or opinion you create about a circumstance. Remind yourself of the facts of a situation (“We will sell less this month,” for example) and take out the emotion (“I'm a failure!”). If you focus on the fact versus the emotion, the circumstance becomes neutral and measurable, not out of control. - Kim Neeson, Kim Neeson Consultancy Need guidance or help? Email me at able@findyourvoice.asia.