How to Challenge Negative Thoughts

We all have a few negative thoughts we experience on a regular basis. “You’re so ugly”. “You could lose a few pounds”. “Try gaining some more weight.” “Why are you so different from the rest?”. These thoughts cloud our head on a regular basis. Experiencing them frequently can leave us feeling defeated.

It’s important to be able to recognize the difference between the voices we hear in our heads. The one that’s negative, puts us down, and agrees with insults or negative perspectives. There’s also the voice that’s positive, uplifts us, and advocates for us. 

Challenging your negative thoughts takes a lot of work and dedication. You’re practically rewiring your thought system to produce completely different thoughts! Although it takes effort, it is far from impossible, and change can happen rather quickly! By just believing in yourself and having the courage to challenge the negativity, you will already be making loads of change within yourself.

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By following these three steps, you will be on the road to becoming the boss of your anxiety! You will be able to quickly identify and shut down random, negative thoughts to let in more positive and fulfilling thoughts! Whether you are struggling with social anxiety, work stress, or anything else, this blog is for you.

Depression therapy in Simi Valley, CA, helps adults find their inner strengths to reach their true, inner goals.

How to Challenge Negative Thoughts: Understand there are two voices in your head

We typically have two voices in our head that negate our every move. They can be considered our devil and our angel on our shoulders! The voices are constantly speaking to us, whether we realize it or not. 

When we make a mistake, the negative voice may usually lash out at us. Calling us names, putting us down, and making us feel bad about ourselves. When other people are putting us down, the negative voice chimes in to agree with them. It usually thinks, “wow, all the mean things that person just said about me, are so true”, leaving you feeling helpless.

The negative voice can unfortunately overpower the positive voice in our mind, that provides us with positive thoughts to the situation. It’s easy to give into the negative thoughts. It’s not always that easy to agree with the positive side, especially when you are already feeling so low and worthless. You may believe that you don’t deserve this positive voice to advocate for you. 

It takes trial and error to be able to separate yourself from the negative thoughts in your mind. It won’t be instantaneous that you’ll be able to feel that the negative thought is just a negative thought, and nothing more. Your thoughts cannot hurt you. They oftentimes may lie to you, or make you feel bad.

Being able to recognize that the negative thoughts are separate from your reality is a huge achievement. To experience a negative thought and go, “Okay, so that was a negative thought about me from what just happened. It was only a negative thought, nothing more, not my reality.”

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Depression therapy in Simi Valley, CA, uses the cognitive behavioral therapy modality with clients.

How to Challenge Negative Thoughts: Practice being there for yourself

Now that you’re able to separate yourself from negative thoughts, it’s time to grow that positive voice in your mind! It may feel like it doesn’t exist. After long extended periods of negative thoughts and feelings, the positive thoughts can be buried under there. 

Practicing being there for yourself will establish this habit of immediately advocating for yourself against the negative thoughts. When someone puts you down or you feel yourself putting yourself down, see if you can hear or create that positive voice.

For example, maybe someone told you that you are doing everything wrong, and are a failure. It’s easy for your mind to agree with this when you are already feeling low. However, seek out the positive voice that says, “I’m not a failure, and everyone makes mistakes. I’m not doing ‘everything’ wrong. I got this”.

Maybe you are feeling depressed lately about your appearance or where you currently are in your life. It feels natural to tell yourself, “Ugh, I am so much uglier than those people, and so far behind in life. I am not good enough”. Fight back against it, thinking to yourself, “I don’t deserve to feel that way. I am beautiful just the way I am, and life is not a race. I am good enough for whatever my heart desires”.

Essentially, practice standing up for yourself. Don’t listen to that bully in your mind, telling you that you can’t do this or that. Telling you that you won’t achieve great things, and that you are unlovable. The negativity that keeps you isolated, with no motivation to rise in the morning and do great things. 

Once you give more power to the positive thoughts, they will flow more naturally. Even if you disagree with the positive thoughts, still utilize them and believe in them. You are worthy of breaking the negative thought cycle!

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Depression and anxiety therapy for teens in Simi Valley, CA, provides tangible coping mechanisms.

How to Challenge Negative Thoughts: Consider cognitive behavioral therapy

Make sure to check out our full blog explaining what cognitive behavioral therapy is!

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a modality based on the idea of how we think (our cognitive aspects), how we feel (our emotions) and how we act (behave). Putting that trio altogether. Usually denoted as CBT, it is an evidence-backed modality proven to be effective in managing depression, anxiety, and stress.

There are many therapists who utilize this modality in their everyday practice. As it targets thoughts and thought processes, this is a great therapy route to try out! CBT is usually on a short-term basis where it can be administered for a number of sessions. Therapists are able to identify the negative thought patterns coming up for their clients. From there, they help them establish goals for challenging themselves.

There are different cognitive behavioral worksheets available for sale that provide you with workbooks and guides to regulating the self. This is a great alternative for someone who has experienced CBT, yet wants to continue it independently. Or, would be great for someone interested in learning how to practice this modality with themselves. 

Consulting with a psychological professional is a great idea for when you are feeling worn out and defeated by your negative thoughts. They will be able to work with you to identify your core goals and provide you with support through it all.

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Now, go out there and start practicing to be your biggest cheerleader!

Depression counseling is available in Simi Valley, CA, both virtually and in-person!

Click here to read about how to be nice to yourself!

More about Simi Psychological Group:

We are a  team of psychologists and therapists in Simi Valley, Ca offering an array of therapy services. 

At our therapy practice in Simi Valley, Ca we offer Child therapy and family counseling, Teen therapy, Anxiety Treatment, Depression Therapy, Marriage Counseling, and Neuropsychological Testing. Now Offering Online Therapy in Los Angeles and Online Counseling Ventura County