Home  >  My Life  >  Relationships

Is Your Negative Thinking Ruining Your Life? 20 Signs and Tips To Cope

Do you tend to see the glass half empty? This can negatively affect your life, which is why it’s crucial to learn how to stop negative thinking.

negative thinking

It’s never easy to know if you’re a negative thinker. At times, even the most logical of people may secretly be dwelling on negative thoughts. Negative thinking starts off as an explanation to unexplainable circumstances in your life.

But, you need to learn how to stop negative thinking before it rules your life.

We can’t always control our thoughts, but that doesn’t mean we should let ourselves succumb to our negative ones. It’s challenging to avoid dwelling in negative thinking, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. [Read: 12 easy steps to change your life and be happy]

How negative thinking enters your life

Negative thoughts start to creep into our minds when we’re feeling down or low on confidence. You’re upset that your colleague got a promotion that you didn’t. Or you got dumped even when you were trying to be the best partner in the world.

And the worst part, you have no idea why you’re the one who has to suffer through a bad life while everyone else seem to be having the time of their life. If you’re an active Facebook user with hundreds of friends online, you’re bound to see a lot of happy pictures and vacation snapshots all the time.

Negative thinking is seeing all the things you’re lacking instead of all the things you already have. Your mind tricks you into believing that you’re not enough or something is lacking. That’s what causes your confidence to drop so low. [Read: How to be more positive and increase the quality of your life]

Instead of realizing that half your online friends only share these smiley-faced pictures and hourly updates with the whole world only to feel better about themselves and their empty lives, you assume that you’re the sad one who’s got nothing to be happy about.

Negative thinking can be the biggest hindrance in your life and your endeavors. And unless you keep a check on it, you may end up feeling like a failure all your life. [Read: How to be positive: Stop the downturn and find the silver lining!]

Signs of negative thinking

It’s normal to have a bad day every now and then; we can’t always control what happens to us. But what separates a bad day from the habit of thinking negatively?

Here are some of the signs of negative thinking to watch out for.

1. You complain more than you are grateful

One of the reasons why it’s essential to learn how to stop negative thinking is that there’s no more space to be grateful in your life.

You’re so focused on your negative perspective that all you do is complain – about your job, friends, social media, everything. The people around you are probably drained to be around you as you keep complaining. [Read: How to be grateful: 20 authentic ways to appreciate and express it]

2. You overthink

Even before something happens or even when there’s no evidence to suggest that your worst fears are real, you overthink anyway.

You think your partner doesn’t love you because they failed to call you one time, or you think you’ll get fired because your boss could not give you positive feedback. This kind of mindset isn’t just ruining your confidence, but your life as a whole. [Read: How to stop overthinking: Secrets to go from overthinker to relaxer]

3. You dwell on the past

Negative thinking doesn’t allow you to live in the present moment. Instead, you’ll be too focused on the past or even be too obsessed with the future.

This prevents you from being happy simply because the past has a particular hold on you that you can’t let go of. This is one of the signs that you have a habit of thinking negatively. [Read: How to let go of the past and be excited by the future]

4. You assume the worst

When something happens, do you assume the worst case scenario immediately? Do you automatically assume they’ll disappoint you, break your heart, or cheat on you when you meet someone? This is an evident sign of negative thinking that will ruin your life.

Even before you get to know someone properly, you’ve already judged them right off the bat. Not only is this unfair to every person you meet, but you’ll be incapable of maintaining friendships and relationships if this is the case.

5. You hate social media

If there’s anything that triggers your negative thinking, it’s social media. When you constantly see your friends traveling, getting married, and getting promotions, it makes you detest your life further. You wonder why everyone has their lives together but you.

It never even crossed your mind that social media is full of highlight reels, and nobody ever posts their flaws and insecurities. [Read: Social media and relationships: The good, the bad, & the ugly]

How to stop thinking negatively

Don’t live in denial. If you’ve ever felt like you’re a negative thinker, try to remove the negativity by analyzing the situation better. Life doesn’t always come with easy explanations. [Confession: I don’t know what to do with my life]

If you want to stop negative thinking, here are 15 common circumstances of negativity and ways to overcome them. Consider these scenarios and ask yourself how you’d behave when you experience them.

1. Stop presuming the worst

Your friends forget to call you when they’re meeting up, you think they’re avoiding you. Your friends forget your birthday, you think they hate you. A friend drives past you without waving a hello because they didn’t see you, and you think they’re ignoring you. [Read: Is your negative thinking ruining your life? 20 signs and tips to cope]

Look, we know how easy it is to assume the worst, but you’ve got to stop thinking that way. Don’t keep making negative assumptions all the time because most of the time, your worst assumptions won’t happen. Only by changing your mindset can you learn how to stop negative thinking.

2. Stop focusing on other people’s flaws

You think someone’s treating you badly. Or you think your lover doesn’t love you enough. Or you think your boss doesn’t appreciate your work as much as your colleague’s work.

Instead of whining about what you aren’t getting, put yourself in their shoes and try to understand why they behave the way they do.

People aren’t and will never be perfect, and that’s life. But you need to realize you aren’t perfect either. Instead of picking on their flaws, focus on yours instead. Always think from the other person’s perspective and you’ll become a better person over time. [Read: 10 common mistakes that women make in relationships]

3. Broaden your perspective

You get the worst deals in life. You think you’re the victim. Do you ever feel like no matter what you do or how hard you try, you can never succeed in your endeavors? Mark Zuckerberg’s so damn rich and everything’s so easy for him, isn’t it? Why can’t you be the one with all the smart ideas?

Life isn’t easy. But life’s fair to the ones who are passionate about it. The people you’re comparing yourself with have a different life and path to yours. If you keep comparing, you won’t get anywhere.

If you truly believe you’re better than everyone else, you’ll get where you want to go someday. Stop playing the part of the victim and go out there and pursue your dream. [Read: How to truly be successful in life]

4. Let yourself depend on others

Are you someone who doubts everyone? If you feel like you can’t depend on anyone, you’re a perfectionist or you’re focused on the past.

No matter how much you’ve been let down in the past, history isn’t going to repeat itself. Stop thinking that you can’t trust anyone and change your approach instead.

People aren’t always out to hurt you. [Read: How to love yourself and have a better life]

5. Manage your expectations

You may not realize this, but you may think the world revolves around you, and you feel dejected when others don’t treat you the way you want them to treat you. You have to stop putting people on a pedestal as they will never reach your standards of perfection. Your loved ones are human, and so are you.

They’re allowed to be flawed and imperfect. If you constantly depend on people for all your successes, you’re bound to feel negative when people don’t go out of their way to help you. In other words, you are literally breaking your own heart because of your expectations. [Read: 20 healthy expectations in a relationship that define a good love life]

6. Learn to accept failure

Look, failure will always be difficult to accept. But that doesn’t mean you should never grow to be capable of accepting failure. People who don’t accept defeat will also never succeed.

Avoid bringing luck into the equation of life, or you’ll always find yourself thinking negatively about everyone who accomplishes something you don’t.

You’ll always find yourself overwhelmed with envy and jealousy because you can’t accept any kind of failure. If you want to learn how to stop negative thinking, learn to accept you won’t always succeed. [Read: Feeling like a failure? 14 ways to find your will & change your mindset]

7. Stop dwelling on bad memories

You keep count of all the negative things that happen to you. But you never remember the good things in your life. Life is full of bittersweet moments. We promise that even if your life is full of sad and painful moments, there are also good and beautiful ones.

If you only focus on the bad ones without ever appreciating the good, you’ll completely miss out on what life is all about. Try to look at the bright side of things and enjoy the little moments of happiness that come your way.

You need to find the beauty in storms as that’s the only way you will learn how to stop negative thinking. Your bad memories will never define you unless you let them. The choice is all yours. [Read: How to be positive: Stop the downturn and find the silver lining!]

8. Be wary of your peers

If you feel negatively around people, they’ll feel negative and stressed around you too. Happy people will start to avoid you. And you’ll start to attract people who feel just like you – negative.

Do you feel like only your friends understand how depressing and unfair life is? Chances are, you’re already surrounded by negative people. After all, you are who your friends are.

Remember that you’re the combination of the five people you spend the most time around, so be very careful of your friends. If you want to stop thinking negatively, choose confident and encouraging people instead. Those should be your people. [Read: How to be nice and loved by all]

9. Watch your assumptions

You think your friends are laughing at you, never with you. Do you feel like your friends are sniggering behind your back? If it’s true, perhaps you need new friends. But if it’s just negative paranoia, stop that.

Stop overthinking everything so much. You need to realize that you’re the only person in the way of living your best life.

The more negative your assumptions are about everything and everyone, the more likely you’ll push everyone away until nobody is left. Perhaps, you’re just trying to look for something bad all the time to convince yourself of how bad the world is to you. [Read: How to be more positive and increase the quality of your life]

10. Stop competing with everyone

Do you behave like a best friend to everyone around, but deep inside, all you do is plot ways to become “better” than them? Healthy competition is great. But secretive overzealous plotting never is.

If you constantly feel the need to compete with someone and become better than them just to feel happy about yourself, you’re living in a shallow world. It will always leave you negative, annoyed and constantly wanting more. There is no room for any type of competition, whether it’s with your friends, family, or partner.

The only way you’re feeling threatened in some way is because your negative thinking is consuming you. The only person you should compete with is yourself, and that’s the primary way you’ll grow and become better. [Read: How to be perfect in everything you do]

11. Build your confidence

As cliche as this sounds, confidence is so important when you’re learning how to stop negative thinking. When you have particularly low self-esteem, you tend to have a negative approach to everything.

Everything, including your mindset and approach to life, highly depends on your confidence.

If you don’t believe in yourself, how else are you going to believe in others? This is why when your friend doesn’t hang out with you, you take it personally, even if they have a valid reason.

Or when your partner fails to say they love you back that one time, you hold it against them for a prolonged period. [Read: How to build self-confidence: 16 ways to realize you’re worth it]

12. Write down your negative thoughts

Sometimes, when we keep our negative thoughts in our heads, everything gets so loud that the burden doubles or triples. It’s so important to have a form of release with your thoughts. Otherwise, you will always dwell on them, most especially your self-sabotaging and destructive thoughts.

If you keep everything inside, you will always dwell on them and unintentionally let negativity rule your life. Writing your thoughts down helps you see which thoughts are rational and which are irrational. When we keep our thoughts within, we always think they’re reasonable, but that’s not always the case. [Read: How to move on from a breakup without compromising your dignity]

13. Have more gratitude

Many people don’t realize this, but gratitude is far more powerful than any negative emotion combined. So if you want to learn how to stop negative thinking, start being more appreciative of the people and things around you.

Maybe you’re not where you thought you’d be compared to your friends, but at least you have a job. This simple switch in mindset can help you stop thinking negatively and focus more on what you already have around you.

You’ll be surprised at just how much you’re ignoring all because you’re focused on the wrong approach. [Read: How to show your appreciation to someone and express your gratitude]

14. Employ healthy coping mechanisms

We all have personal ways of coping with our thoughts and difficult situations. Some are healthy, whereas others are self-sabotaging. In order to stop your negative thoughts, choose healthy coping mechanisms instead.

Even if you’re tempted to get drunk, party with friends, or something equally as unhealthy, this isn’t helping your negative thoughts. In fact, studies have shown that people who choose harmful coping mechanisms are more prone to negative thinking. [Read: How to stop self destructive behavior & change your life for good]

15. Change your mindset

Your mindset is literally everything in how you live your life. A negative mindset will hold you back, but a positive mindset will encourage you to succeed in every aspect.

This is easier said than done, but if you really want to learn how to stop negative thinking, you need to reprogram your mind into a more positive one. It will take a lot of practice and self-awareness, but it’s what you need to lead a more positive life. [Read: How to get your life together: 10 mind tricks to regain control]

Negative thinking be gone!

It’s definitely not a piece of cake to counter your negative thoughts and make them into more positive ones. When you’ve already made a habit of doing so, it will take a lot of hard work, effort, and consistency to stop letting your negative thoughts ruin your life.

But the good news is that all your effort will be worth it in the end.

[Read: How to stop being jealous of someone else’s success]

Hopefully, these tips on how to stop negative thinking will help turn your life around. It won’t be an easy road, but it’s a journey that’s worth the ride.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life.

Elizabeth Arthur
A mom of two who’s currently working on a novel, Elizabeth Arthur lives in Cornwall. And when she’s not chasing her boys around the house, she enjoys sittin...
Follow Elizabeth on