How to address negative thinking - The Art of Living Consciously


Whether you realize it or not, about 80% of your thoughts are negative. Do any of these phrases ring a bell?

  • I’m too fat/too skinny/too short/too tall/too angry/too passive/too….
  • I didn’t do that right/I blew it/I failed/He blew it/….
  • I hope no one saw that/I’m so embarrassed/If anyone knew that about me I’d die…
  • Who does she think she is/He is so bossy/She is clueless/He is so dumb…
  • I should have called him/He should have called me/She should have returned my call…
  • I don’t have enough time/I’m too busy/I’m so stressed…
  • It’s too cold out/It’s too windy/I wish it weren’t snowing/Why does it have to rain today…

These negative thoughts have a powerful influence the way you act and feel. But you don’t have to be controlled by them. Here are a few example of how you can actively take charge of your thought processes-

  1. Don’t believe everything you think. In fact, I would encourage you to not believe most of what you think!!
  2. See these negative thoughts as junk mail. No need to open them, just toss them in the trash. Don’t worry there are plenty more where they came from.
  3. Recognize that you are thinking negatively, and challenge yourself to change the negative thought into a positive thought. For example- turn “She should have called me” into “She’ll call me when she gets around to it, or if it’s so important, I’ll call her.”


  1. Heather on February 12, 2016 at 2:18 am

    I am so grateful for the way you presented what can seem like complex information in such a useful and logical way. While I related to all of the information here, my mantra for this week, as I work on awareness of my own negative thinking will be:

    “See these negative thoughts as junk mail. No need to open them, just toss them in the trash. Don’t worry there are plenty more where they came from.”

    Junk mail is such a relevant image – and conjures such a feeling of “I want to get rid of this so it doesn’t clog up my useful Inbox space for valuable messages” that this absolutely makes perfect sense in a way I’d never considered. How refreshing (and empowering) to delete those – and all the distractions that come with them – to make room for the positive messages.

    Thank you for this! I will share it widely.

    • Louise M Finlayson, Ph.D. on May 22, 2019 at 3:15 pm

      I’m so glad that you found this helpful, Heather. The junk mail analogy is one of my favorite because most of us can relate to the energy drain that comes when we focus on junk mail. Also, most people find it easy to visualize deleting junk mail. Happy deleting!!

  2. Deena Rocco on December 10, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    I love that! Challenge yourself to turn it around into a positive thought. For example when getting frustrated doing a new task, I turned it around to … I’m learning something new! And sometimes that takes a little time.

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