Break negative thinking with these 6 mental health exercises

We’ve all been there, stuck in a cycle of negative thinking that we can’t kick. Thought exercises are a simple and no-cost way to break negative thinking patterns and boost your mental health. You will change the way you see things and take control of your thoughts with practice.

They can also help our subconscious thoughts move in more productive, helpful directions over time, and they’ll eventually cut out those negative thinking patterns altogether. We’ve put together a list of the top six mindfulness exercises that can improve mental health, and we’ll show you how to do them.

Also know which foods to eat to increase happiness And what color to paint your bedroom For optimal mental health.

What is a thought exercise?

Thought exercises are new ways of thinking about a given situation or experience that can help us break out of a stuck or unhelpful way of thinking. While some thought exercises have been studied extensively by psychological researchers, others are offered by psychologists and clinical mental health counselors because they have been anecdotally helpful for specific types of patients. thought exercises can be suggested by your doctorwhether they are online or in person,

It’s important to note that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all idea of ​​exercise. Feel free to try any one of them for a few weeks and see if you like the way they affect your mental health and feelings of well-being. If not, you can try a different one. Thought exercises are a way of seeing the world differently, not a medical treatment.

What are the benefits of meditation practice for mental health?

Reframing thoughts is one of the building blocks of cognitive behavioral therapy, which has been found effective in several studies.

  • A thought exercise can help you stay calm during a stressful moment and continue to function while preventing a more serious reaction such as an anxiety attack.
  • thought exercise can reduce the duration and intensity of anxiety symptoms even when not combined with conventional medicine,
  • when added a mental health appThought practice can provide a log of change in one’s development and mental health.
  • Thought exercises can make us more aware of what triggers our anxiety, helping us to make life modifications. experience anxiety less often.

6 Mindfulness Practices That Will Boost Your Mental Health

Next time you’re feeling stressed, try one of these methods to help you cope with overwhelming emotions.

introspection exercise

Many spiritual traditions include some sort of introspection or mindfulness exercise, but this is also helpful in a completely non-spiritual context. When you begin to experience symptoms that you associate with anxiety, you can use this exercise to become curious and learn more about what you are doing. how to do this:

1. When you’re feeling anxious and you have the opportunity to take a few minutes to yourself, do so. Move away from others so you aren’t interrupted, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

2. Begin to pay attention to the way each element of your body feels. Are you feeling anxiety in your shoulders, neck, stomach or head? Are you experiencing other symptoms like fatigue or headache? Don’t judge the feelings, just note them, like you’re watching a scientific experiment and need to capture everything.

3. Then turn your introspection to your thoughts. what are they specific stress Bicycling With Your Mind? Try listing them instead of letting them overwhelm you. When you’ve noticed one, let it go, recognizing that you “heard” it.

4. If you can find the space to focus solely on physical and mental sensations, you may find yourself able to calm down, doing things like releasing the muscles you’ve discovered or letting thoughts intensify. Let go instead of holding on. This may take a few tries.

The act of self-observation can be a way to take your mind off worry and back to your body. When we’re in fight-or-flight mode, anxiety drives us to safety, but if we’re physically safe, it can be a way to re-evaluate our bodies and find our baseline again. Could

Low angle view of woman in yoga prayer pose

Self-observation exercises can help you stay grounded in the present.

Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

keep a thought record

One way people can better understand the symptoms of anxiety is to record their thoughts. This can be done in a traditional paper journal, but there are other options, especially when carrying an extra notebook everywhere is inconvenient. App Thought Diary has a simple interface, so you can write down your mood and any details about it. It also includes other thought exercises, such as practicing gratitude and analyzing a thought.

Reviewing your thought record occasionally can help you make connections to how things like sleep, exercise, and nutrition affect your anxiety symptoms.

block out worrying thoughts

Worrying thinking responds best to being distracted by a different task. These techniques are more about what effectively distracts you and less about a technically “correct” method.

  • Try tensing and relaxing different muscles in your body, focus on the movement of the muscles, and see if this can help you stop worrying thoughts.
  • to breathe With a deliberate count, such as four counts in and four counts out.
  • Turning on music, an audiobook, or a radio show can block out worrying thoughts and allow your mind to focus on something else.
  • Saying out loud that you have stopped thinking that way or verbally affirming it can help to get out of one’s head and hear a positive voice more clearly.
  • Choosing a soothing task that’s also mentally engaging: Word games on your phone, loading the dishwasher, yoga flows or other set routines of stretching can all be effective anxiety busters.
  • Counting backwards slowly sometimes works to interrupt the flow of anxiety.

Use Cognitive Illusion Exercises

Cognitive disillusionment exercises are about gaining an outside perspective on our thoughts, or strategies that help us detach from our thoughts and see them more clearly. They are often used in CBT and other types of cognitive therapy.

  • Use a silly voice. Some people find it helpful to disengage from their thoughts by using a silly voice to say something like, “Oh, you think this is very relatable, don’t you?” Or some other observation about the idea.
  • Leaves on a Stream: Some people use the visualization that their thoughts are floating in a river, coming to them and then going away, as a way of seeing thoughts as separate from their original identity. .
  • Label your thoughts. Some people find it helpful to identify “that’s a worrying thought” or “that’s a frightening thought” as they have the thoughts, taking them out of the assessment of reality and Treat them as separate objects. No need to believe directly.
  • “Thank you mind”: When our mind alerts us to a worrying thought, we can express gratitude to our mind for helping us and alerting us.

practice self-compassion

Anxiety sometimes presents as an excessive worry that someone is not good enough or has negative traits. These thoughts, when played on a loop, can be demoralizing and make everyday activities miserable. One way to combat this negative self-talk is to practice self-compassion. While it may feel awkward at first, trying to look at your current situation the way you would if a good friend were going through it can be a start. Give yourself the kind of comfort you would give a friend, instead of giving yourself the harshest criticism you often have.

Another exercise for self-compassion is to find a picture of yourself from childhood and focus on it. Instead of directing your thoughts toward your adult self, direct them toward that child. Recognize that your adult self deserves the same kind of rest that a child deserves, as you are still learning, albeit with different things.

worry tree

The Worry Tree is a tool developed for people who experience compulsive or persistent worry to help them make a conscious decision between worrying or doing something else. It’s a flowchart graphic that’s customizable to the individual, but essentially begins by asking, “What am I concerned about?” Then “Can I do something about it?” and “Can I do something about it now?” The tree guides people to let go of worries when nothing can be done, to make a clear plan if nothing can be done now, and to do something if there is something useful about worrying now. Be taken This can help avoid rumination, where we think the same anxiety-inducing thoughts over and over again without respite.


Thought exercises may feel different from our usual ways of thinking, but if you stay curious, you may find yourself changing your mind, experiencing more ways to think positively over time. If you find that thought exercises make your anxiety symptoms worse, you may have an ineffective thought exercise for you, or your anxiety may respond better to treatment from a psychotherapist or counselor. It’s a good idea to talk with a mental health professional to get better answers about your specific situation.

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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider with respect to any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or health objectives.

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