Why You’re Wasting Time With Negative Thinking (And What To Do About It)

Be honest- are you one of those people that frequently have negative thoughts? I was that same type of person back in the day and it just got worse once I officially began CRNA school. 

These thoughts would creep up often. As many of you know, I moved along with my family 1000 miles away so I could attend CRNA school. I felt like the worst parent in the world for months! It was like this until I had a conversation with my 18-year-old son, who was headed to Liberty University,  that I began to change my way of thinking. 

I expressed to him how sorry I was about the whole move to Maine, having to stay in a hotel the first few days since the apartment wasn’t ready. And then once it was ready, I had to make the decision to move into an empty apartment while waiting on my husband who was driving the U haul to bring the rest of our belongings.  

He looked confused and asked what I was sorry for. He would go on to say “mom that was so much fun, we spent time with each other, played UNO and I got to watch General Hospital”. Wow! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. For months this negative thinking had brought me to question my true purpose in becoming a CRNA.

It’s funny looking back on that time. I had all these negative thoughts for nothing. Today I want to take a deep dive into what is negative thinking and how we can change the narrative around it so it doesn’t hold you back as it did me.  

What is negative thinking?

Negative thinking is a pattern of thinking about the worst possible outcome instead of focusing on the positives. It is human nature to experience negative thoughts, but when these thoughts become repetitive they can lead to a great deal of stress, depression, and anxiety. 

Eventually, you begin to experience past regret, feel unworthy, along with an exacerbation of sadness. Of course, everyone experiences negative thoughts from time to time, the problem is when they seriously affect us. 

Is your negative thinking or distorted thinking started to affect your mental or physical health? If so, here are 4 ways to deal with them for good. 

4 Ways to Deal With Negative Thinking

Question your thoughts

The first step in overcoming negative thoughts is to first recognize them. The next time you experience a bad thought, pause and recognize it for what it is. Then ask yourself a few questions: Is this really true? How do I know for sure? Could I be making a big deal out of nothing? Have I jumped to conclusions? 

When you find yourself spiraling into a state of negative thinking, ask yourself these hard questions to get to the root cause so you can move on. Each question should lead you to look at your situation and emotions more objectively.

Focus on your strengths

People who focus on things in which they are good at or enjoy doing have reported significantly less stress. They tend to be happier, report decreased depression and overall good mental health. In my case, I should have focused on my inner strength which allowed me to figure things out during a difficult situation. Instead of focusing on the negative, dig deep and recognize you possess way more strengths. 

Stop jumping to conclusions

The next time you rush to judgment, or in my case presume what others think, remember this is a common form of negative thinking. Which is basically mind reading. You’ve determined that you know what others feel or think about you even if they never said it to you. 

We are all guilty of jumping to conclusions at times. I know I have been guilty of this. But this can cause problems in relationships and can also be harmful to your own mental health. Instead of thinking the worst, allow yourself to see the whole picture and not jump to the worst outcome. This leads me to the next tip. 

Share your feelings with others

Prior to talking to my son about what I had been feeling, I was certain my kids hated me and I was a terrible parent. You’ll never know what others think unless you ask them. This falls in line with having clear evidence. It also feels good to get things off your chest. Why torture yourself in negative thinking, instead have an honest and healthy conversation.

Bottom Line

There is no one more critical of you than yourself. But when you are caught up in a pattern of negative thinking, I want you to take a step back and think of all the things you did great or went as planned. It’s time to ditch those negative thoughts and continue on with your CRNA journey! 

Also, pay attention to subtle life lessons- you will learn so much about yourself on your journey. Realize you have what it takes to succeed and the inner strength to accomplish your goals. And the best part is your kids and others are watching it all through their lens. What you are accomplishing is huge and they will either thank you or follow your lead one day. 

P.S. Need a little help? For a complete guide that shows you exactly how to become a CRNA, grab a copy of the “Ultimate Guide to CRNA School Admission”. It’s FREE and will save you a ton of time and headaches since all the info you need is in one place.

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