Would you like to be part of creating a happier and more caring
society? If so please join our movement, add your pledge and take
action - at home, at school, at work or in your community. Together
we can make a difference
I will try to create more happiness and less unhappiness in the world around me
Already have an account
Or register to contribute
follow us on twitter & facebook
Ever get your mind stuck in a bad groove? Negative thoughts
going round and round your head for hours, days, weeks: "Why am I
so... unhappy, thin, fat, hairy, bald, short, tall, stupid,
geeky, too busy, not busy, focused, unfocused, ______" [fill in the
blank or delete as appropriate]!
Doing this is toxic, especially if we're already feeling down.
It's a serious block to our happiness, both now and in future. But
the good news is that research shows it's a habit we can break.
Learning to stop getting stuck in negative thoughts is a vital skill for a happy and fulfilling life. If we're feeling down it's helpful to be honest with ourselves and reflect on the reasons why. But research shows that over-thinking or chewing over negative thoughts for too long increases our sadness, unhappiness and pessimism. What's more it saps concentration, motivation and initiative and affects our ability to solve problems. In other words, it makes us even more stuck and unable to see a way forward.
The more we get stuck the closer it takes us into a downward spiral that leads to hopeless thoughts, such as: "I'll never be any good", "I'll never find a job" or "I'll never find a partner". These can lead to loss of confidence, anxiety or even depression.
A similar type of destructive and negative, self-focused thinking is comparing ourselves to others. "She's richer", "he's thinner" "he's got a bigger house", she's got a promotion" and so on. We're surrounded by images of the rich and famous, so much so we forget they're not normal. With the exaggerated stories and glossy photos we often miss the fact that the people we see as successful are often struggling with their own problems too. However successful, clever, rich or beautiful we are there will always be someone with things we don't have that we might think we need to be happy. But what's clear from scientific studies is that this this way of thinking isn't the route to happiness. So we need to learn to detox our negative thoughts.
Step 1: Break the loop
Here are four tactics to break the loop. They take a little bit of will power, but not too much. Find the one that works for you:
Step 2: Take some action
Ok, so you've got out of that negative loop. Now you need to take a quick step, however small, towards solving what's been bothering you. This could be making a list of possible solutions and putting it somewhere visible, making an appointment to get some advice, looking up options on the internet, or asking someone you know how they dealt with something similar (or if they know someone who has). Taking positive action puts you back in control.
Step 3: Work out the warning signals
To avoid this happening in future, you need to spot the things that trigger your toxic thoughts. What situations, places, people or times cause you to get stuck on negative thoughts? What can you do to change or avoid them? Are there typical themes to these thoughts? How can you notice the warning signs and stop yourself getting stuck? Try writing your thoughts on these things down.
 Lyubomirsky, S. (2007). The How of Happiness. London: Penguin Books
Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind
The Compassionate Mind
Developing compassion for ourselves and others and deriving the benefits
The How of Happiness
A Practical Guide to Getting The Life You Want
The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness
By renowned mindfulness experts with practical guided exercises
The Mind: A User's Guide
Handbook to safeguard and improve your mental health
The Resilience Factor
7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life's Hurdles
Look for what's good
Positive emotions make us more resilient
Find ways to bounce back
I lead a local history walk so people can get to know their town nulla facilisi. Curabitur enim lacus, gravida nec, varius nec, blandit id, libero. Morbi orci velit, porttitor sed, imperdiet ac, ullamcorper id, arcu. Etiam cursus diam eu null.
We just need a little bit of information about you before we can add this to ouractions for happiness.
We’ll be in touch soon to give you updates on how the movement is growing