How to stop negative thoughts and overthinking


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We all know that holding negative beliefs about ourselves is extremely unnecessary. But it can be difficult to let go of pessimistic thoughts, especially if they are old.

Thinking about yourself in a bad light can not only lead to over-thinking and self-mockery, but can also prevent you from achieving your goals. Gemma Perlin, a behavior change coach specializing in neurolinguistic programming, says it’s very common to have limiting beliefs about yourself, even if you aren’t aware of them.

“A limiting belief is anything that keeps you from achieving what you want,” says Gemma, adding that attacking them head-on can be the easiest way to deal with them. To do this, Gemma has developed a three-step technique that will help you stop overthinking and start achieving your goals.

First step: awareness

Limiting beliefs can be common, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy to identify. “A lot of times we feed off negativity without even realizing it,” says Gemma.

Therefore, the first step in dealing with limiting beliefs is to recognize them. “Whenever you notice yourself saying that you can’t do something or that you shouldn’t do something, write down what you say,” Gemma says.

You can say these things to yourself out loud or even write them down. “Journaling can be helpful so you can go back over what you’ve written and identify limiting beliefs,” suggests Gemma.

Second step: the solutions

Once you’ve identified your limiting beliefs, you can plan how you want to deal with them. “Think about what support you need and whether or not you’re surrounded by the right kind of people,” says Gemma.

If you think there are people in your life who are encouraging your negative thoughts about you, a good first step is to talk to them. Or maybe you need to change your lifestyle to help you deal with a limiting belief, especially if you notice that your limiting beliefs come up at special times, like when you have a hangover, for example.

Third step: acceptance

Dealing with long-term limiting beliefs means truly accepting that they’re not true, according to Gemma. “Solutions are important in the short term, but you have to really accept that the ideas you have about yourself are not correct in order to move on,” says Gemma.

You do this by replacing your current negative perceptions of yourself with new, positive beliefs. “Find out how you can reduce negative voices, or at least move them to the other shoulder, so that you can accommodate positive and productive beliefs,” says Gemma.

  • Gemma Perlin, behavior change coach

    Gemma perlin
    Credit: Gus Palmer

    Gemma Perlin is a behavior change coach who helps people find the tools to manage their mind, take control, and live the life they want.

Images: Getty, Gemma Perlin

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