3 Techniques For Recognizing and Reframing Negative Thoughts


Recognizing and Reframing Negative Thoughts: A Guide to Positive Thinking
Do you ever find that you are your own worst enemy - constantly putting yourself down with negative thoughts?

You are not alone, in fact, it is very common and there are some things you can do to reframe negative thoughts and win back your power...

In a hurry? Listen on the go!


As human beings, we all have negative thoughts from time to time. However, when negative thoughts become a habit, they can have a detrimental effect on our well-being and happiness

Negative thoughts can make us feel anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed, and can even lead to depression. The good news is that we can learn to recognize and reframe negative thoughts, replacing them with more positive and empowering ones. 

In this article, we will explore how to recognize negative thoughts, how to reframe them, and provide actionable advice to help you adopt a positive mindset.

Understanding Negative Thoughts

Understanding Negative Thoughts

Before we can learn how to reframe negative thoughts, we first need to understand what they are and how they affect us. 

Negative thoughts are thoughts that make us feel bad about ourselves, our lives, or the world around us. They can be triggered by external events or come from within. Negative thoughts can be very powerful, and they can affect our behaviour, emotions, and beliefs.

Research has shown that our thoughts have a direct impact onour feelings and behaviour

Negative thoughts can make us feel anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed, and can even lead to depression. They can also lead us to engage in negative behaviours, such as overeating or substance abuse, which can further exacerbate our negative thoughts - this is all part of having a victim mindset.

Understand that you are not your thoughts!

Your mind is nothing but a tool for you to use, and like any tool, if used incorrectly you can hurt yourself.

Furthermore, you do not have to act on every thought that your mind creates – they are not instructions that you must follow, rather ideas and suggestions for you to consider.

Identifying Negative Thoughts

Identifying Negative Thoughts

The first step in reframing negative thoughts is to identify them. This can be challenging because negative thoughts can be very subtle and can creep up on us without our noticing. 

One way to identify negative thoughts is to pay attention to how you feel. If you notice that you are feeling anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed, ask yourself what thoughts are going through your mind. You may find that negative thoughts are the culprit.

Another way to identify negative thoughts is to pay attention to your self-talk. 

Self-talk is the internal dialogue that runs through our minds throughout the day. If your self-talk is negative, it can be a sign that you have negative thoughts. 

For example, if you find yourself saying things like, "I can't do this," or "I'm not good enough," you may have negative thoughts that need to be reframed.

Techniques For Reframing Negative Thoughts

Once you have identified your negative thoughts, the next step is to reframe them. Reframing means looking at a situation from a different perspective. 

Reframing negative thoughts can help us see things in a more positive light, which can have a powerful impact on our emotions, behaviour, and beliefs.

Below are a few of the techniques reccomended by Dr. Judy Ho, a leading clinical psychologists, in her book Stop Self-Sabotage.

Challenge Your Thoughts

There are many different techniques that can be used to reframe negative thoughts. One of the most effective is to challenge your negative thoughts. 

Ask yourself if your negative thoughts are based on fact or if they are just assumptions. If they are assumptions, challenge them by asking yourself for evidence to support them. 

For example, if you think you can't do something and you will never be successful at it, do you actually have evidence to back that thought up? 

Have you tried previously multiple times to do it and failed? Have you tried doing it in different ways? Have you sought advice and knowledge on the subject?...

You may find that there is no evidence to support your negative thoughts, which can help you reframe them.

Focus On The Positive

Another technique that can be used to reframe negative thoughts is to focus on the positive. Instead of dwelling on the negative, try to focus on the positive aspects of a situation. 

For example, if you are feeling anxious about a job interview, focus on the fact that you have been invited for an interview and that you have the skills and experience to do well.

Labelling Negative Thoughts

A third technique for reframing negative thoughts is to distance yourself from them and label them, which can help to change your perspective.

Instead of thinking “I’m never going to be able to do that”, instead, acknowledge that you are having the thought and reframe it to something like “I’m having the thought that I am never going to be able to do this, but that doesn’t make it true. All I need to do is keep working at it and I will get there eventually!”

Developing a Positive Mindset

Developing a Positive Mindset

Reframing negative thoughts is just one step in developing a positive mindset. To truly adopt a positive mindset, you need to make positive thinking a habit. This means making a conscious effort to focus on the positive and to reframe negative thoughts whenever they arise.

One way to develop a positive mindset is to practice gratitude. Gratitude is the practice of focusing on the things in our lives that we are thankful for. 

Research has shown that practicing gratitude can have a powerful impact on our emotions, behaviour, and beliefs. 

To practice gratitude, start by making a list of things that you are grateful for each day. This can be anything from a good cup of coffee to a supportive friend or family member. Focusing on the positive can help shift your mindset towards positivity and gratitude.

Another way to develop a positive mindset is to surround yourself with positivity. This means surrounding yourself with positive people, positive experiences, and positive environments. 

Seek out friends and family members who uplift and inspire you, engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfilment, and create a space in your home that feels peaceful and uplifting.

Finally, it's important to remember that developing apositive mindset takes time and effort. It's not something that happens overnight, and it requires a commitment to making positive thinking a habit. 

Be patient with yourself, and celebrate small victories along the way. Each time you reframe a negative thought or focus on the positive, you are taking a step towards a more positive mindset.


Recognizing and reframing negative thoughts is an essential part of developing a positive mindset. By identifying negative thoughts, challenging them, and reframing them, we can shift our mindset towards positivity and gratitude. 

Developing a positive mindset takes time and effort, but it is well worth it. By making positive thinking a habit, we can improve our well-being, happiness, and overall quality of life. 

As Norman Vincent Peale said, "Change your thoughts and you change your world."


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