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Healthy Ways to Navigate Negative Thoughts

By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
Associate Editor

Healthy Ways to Navigate Negative Thoughts

I’ll never be able to do that. Nothing ever works. I can’t do anything. No one cares. Everything is terrible. I am terrible at everything.

These are examples of the negative thoughts that can bombard us on a regular basis, according to Tamar Chansky, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist who helps children, teens and adults overcome anxiety.

Negative thoughts are “automatic thoughts in response to uncertainty, anxiety, disappointment or other challenges.” She described them as “knee-jerk reactions of the mind.”

We often interpret our negative thoughts as cold, hard facts. We assume they’re accurate assessments of our performance, circumstances and anything else going on in our lives.

Yet they’re not.

4 Comments to
Healthy Ways to Navigate Negative Thoughts

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  1. Sounds exactly like Feeling Good the new Mood Therapy book from 20 years ago

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for the wonderful article delivering great understanding and knowledge.I usually meditate to positively cancel or modify my negative or painful thought pattern as emerged. Painful thought patterns in our family and work life are usually negative thoughts.Sometimes , I just utter “cancel, cancel”.

    With best regards,Silva

  3. Good article. And overly positive thoughts, especially if programed too much from external sources like books and certain therapies can be harmful in that one blocks certain perceived negative thoughts that could be helpful. Certain kinds of Buddhist meditations open the mind to both,without judgement, attachement, or emphasis.

  4. Unfortunately, that has never worked for me. Negative thoughts tend to get worse the more I think about them and yes, I do believe them, even or even more so after a pretty hard look at the facts. Sometimes someone will try to provide alternate interpretations of a situation and I can understand these to an extent, however, there still remains a rather large probability that what I am thinking is true. You also state that we interpret our negative thoughts as cold, hard facts, and then generalize that they are not. This reminds me a little of the positivity statements that abound these days, particularly on the internet, such as “you are beautiful” etc. Negative thoughts may not be the truth for a lot of people, maybe even the majority of people, but simply probabilistically speaking, for some of us they must be true. What if you are one of those poor souls? Or simply don’t know if you are?

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