How To Turn Negative Thoughts Into Positive Thinking

Negative thoughts can bring you down, but when you turn negative thoughts into positive thinking, life gets easier.

Life is full of ups and downs, and it’s your attitude that plays a significant role in how well you handle them.

Our attitudes really are everything.

How often have you had days where everything seems to go wrong?  You feel as if you are wading through treacle as everything that can go wrong does go wrong.

Imagine this:

  • Your alarm clock doesn’t go off, and you wake up and realise you’re going to be late for work
  • It’s raining hard, and in your rush, you forget your umbrella
  • You get to the train station, run madly up the steps to the platform and in the process, go sideways on your heel
  • Hobbling onto the platform, you discover that the previous train had been cancelled, and you’re now knee-deep in commuters – no chance of a seat today, then
  • Eventually, you get to the office.  You’re soaking wet, you’re foot is screaming at you, and there on your desk is a pile of paperwork with a note on it asking if you could get a summary report ready for the next day.
  • And then, to top it all, you spill coffee down yourself.

The rest of the day is spent trying to catch up, but you are now

  • Tired
  • Frustrated
  • And have a rather unfortunate stain down your front.
When things go wrong its a head in hands moment

When things go wrong it's like a domino effect. The only thing to do is put your head in your hands

When Everything Goes Wrong

When we’re not feeling great about our lives or how the day is going, everything can seem to go wrong.

With so many things outside of your control, from the weather to British Rail, it might seem impossible to ever truly feel good about anything.

But, the answer lies in your thinking. By being able to think positively, you will find your entire outlook changes.

So, how do you turn negative thoughts into positive thinking?

5 Ways To Develop Positive Thinking

There are 5 ways in which you can turn negative thoughts into positive thinking.  These are:

  • Challenge negativity
  • Obstacle or opportunity?
  • Change Focus
  • Chill Out
  • Look beyond

Challenge Negativity

When things don’t go right, our inner voices are ready with words of destruction

You’re not

  • good enough
  • clever enough
  • worthy

If you’ve read How To Challenge Your Inner Critic, you’ll know that negative thoughts are a hangover from the past.

The obvious way to turn negative thoughts into positive thinking is to counter your poor self-talk and use more positive words.  Rather than saying something negative, whether that’s out loud or in your head, try to find a better way to say it.

politicians have a way to turn negative thoughts into positive thinking

Politicians are expert at underplaying the bad and putting attention on the positives

Become A Spin Doctor

A good example is a spin doctor.  Imagine watching a politician interviewed.  You’ll undoubtedly have witnessed how they can flip a negative comment to make it positive.

For example, writing the summary isn’t painful; it might have interesting challenges.

While at first, this might feel forced and artificial.  The more you do it, the easier it gets.  You’ll soon be able to turn negative thoughts into positive thinking with a bit of spin.

Obstacle Or Opportunity?

We’ve all had times when we’ve talked about ‘having’ to do something.   For example, I have to

  • do this report
  • attend this meeting
  • be nice to my annoying boss

Immediately we attach a negative connotation to the task.  There’s a sense of being forced into doing something you don’t want to do.

To turn negative thoughts into positive thinking, change the context from an obstacle to an opportunity using the word ‘get.’

You don’t have to do the summary by tomorrow. You get to do one.

Can you hear the difference?  You have changed the obstacle into an opportunity.

Stephen Covey has a great way of presenting this in his book Habits of Highly Effective People. 

when you change focus you can turn negative thoughts into positive thinking

Look at bad things from another angle or change focus

Change Focus

Regardless of what we do, there are going to be disasters from time to time.  Unfortunately, not everything you attempt is going to turn out precisely the way you’d like it to.

If you focus on the disaster, then your perception of reality will shift.  One small thing can lead to a catalogue of dreadful events.  You might even fall into the proverbial well of despair.  It can really get you down and badly affect your well-being.

To turn negative thoughts into positive thinking, change your focus.  Explore and find different methods to help you through the difficulty.

Try to look at incidents dispassionately or as a temporary event, and turn your focus onto something better – your world will seem a lot easier to handle.

Chill Out

When you’re absolutely exhausted and feel like you’re in over your head, it’s hard to be positive.

Turn negative thoughts into positive thinking by taking some time out.

Have you ever witnessed a small child refusing to go to bed even when they are exhausted?  You will have seen how their emotions rise, and behaviour worsens.  As adults, we are the same. 

Tiredness results in:

  • Crankiness
  • short-temper
  • more mistakes

Oh, and I should also add, difficult to be around. 

When we’re in the thick of things, it can be challenging to see things clearly.  Our thinking tends to focus on a generalised - if this is awful, then everything is awful.  This type of thinking is destructive as we tend to catastrophise.

By taking the time to chill out, you can recharge your batteries.  When rested, you will think clearer and be more optimistic.  As a result, you are more likely to see things from a positive perspective – more positively.

Life looks so much brighter afterwards.

looks bad close up but hope is in the distance

It's easy to get caught up in the negative thoughts when you focus on the issue - but look to the distance and see hope

Look Beyond

Being positive should never be about closing your eyes to tragedy or injustice. Bad things are going to happen in the world. But someone with a positive attitude will be able to look beyond the disaster to the next step.

Positivity finds solutions where others only see problems. Here is the birth of activism and change.

Turn Negative Thoughts Into Positive Thinking

Now you know how to turn negative thoughts into positive thinking, I want to touch on the why.

Positive Thinking:

  • Improves emotional, mental and physical health
  • Boosts happiness
  • Builds confidence
  • Improves how  you deal with life
  • Increases your ability to problem solve
  • Raises you self-esteem
  • Makes you sleep better

So, what action will you take on board to turn your negative thoughts into positive thinking?

About the author Alison

A qualified UK based coach with 30 years of experience in personal development.

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