10 ways meditation can help with negative thoughts

Is your inner critic crushing your confidence?

Are you caught in stress, anxiety, or depression? Or do you tend to have this pessimistic view of life?

Negative thinking is so painful as it can cloud our moods, strain our relationships, and drain our energies. Most of the time we don’t realize that this is happening to us, and we don’t always know what to do about it.

Pushing those negative thoughts away and replacing them with positive ones can be a massive and difficult task. But don’t worry, overcoming unhelpful thinking is possible through meditation.

And this is something I care about sharing with all my heart.

Break negative thinking with meditation

No matter what you’re feeling or where you’re starting from, it’s possible to cultivate mental strength and live a more happy, meaningful, and fulfilling life.

It’s not about stopping those negative thoughts, but it’s about changing the way we relate to those thoughts. This way, we can train our minds to work for us in more helpful and empowering ways.

1) Helps stop resisting emotions

Meditation brings awareness to your mind’s action. By being mindful without using force, you can ease into your present moment.

But when you resist those negative thoughts, you’ll fall into the trap of thinking more about it.

This negative thought chain will make you question why you can’t stop thinking about it or whether anyone else struggles the way you do.

2) Gives opportunity to recognize our thought patterns

When we meditate, we gain an insight as to where those negative thoughts come from.

Try to accept those negative thoughts for what it is, but remind yourself that those unpleasant emotions aren’t real.

When you identify those triggers, you can address them before they get worse.

The important thing is that it gives us an insight into whether we’ll engage with those unhelpful emotions or not.

3) Helps us get “unhooked from negative thoughts

Some people assume that we need to stop those negative thoughts. But doing this only brings more stress because our thoughts often arise unconsciously.

When we meditate, we notice that our thoughts are mental events that we have a choice about.

We get to recognize that they are simply negative thoughts – and we can pause to do something about them. It gives us the choice to take them seriously or not.

If we see that those thoughts are valuable, that’s when we can listen and take action. But if they’re not, we can let go and focus on the present moment.

4) It helps us find a new level of calm

Meditation eases the frantic state of mind that most of us find ourselves in. It allows the mind to focus on one thought and redirect the rest – and this makes our minds relax.

Taking this “brain break,” helps us to slow down and go inward. And as we practice this inward dive, we’ll get to experience an inner peace that already exists within us.

It also gives our minds a break and allows our bodies to sleep.

And this contributes to a greater sense of well-being.

5) It allows us to tune in to unpleasant thoughts

Think of that voice in your head that constantly tells you:

  • “I’m not enough.”
  •  “I’m powerless.”
  • “I could have done it differently.”
  • “I’m unlovable.”
  • “I’m a failure.”

When you believe that those thoughts are true, you feel a certain way in your body. You may feel sad and deflated, your heart contracts or your gut tightens, etc.

With meditation, you can tune in to the sensations associated with those negative thoughts. As you meditate, take time to welcome them and pay attention to how it impacts your mind and body.

Try to welcome an opposite thought to turn the negative into positives. For instance, turn “I’m not enough” into “I’m okay as I am.”

This helps us find relief from the racing thoughts we’re experiencing.  And when we reflect on the opposites, it will lift us.

The thing here is that this allows us to tolerate two opposing beliefs – and be in control of them at the same time.

6) Makes the mind healthy and agile

Achieving an agile mindset is a process – and practicing meditation will help you achieve it.

Meditation allows us to step off life’s crazy ride so we can go deeper into the mechanics of our minds. It helps us to be more agile in facing distressing thoughts and anxiety as we become comfortable with failure and change.

Instead of focusing on the negatives, we get to view setbacks as a chance to learn new skills and see challenges as an opportunity to expand our comfort zone.

Being able to nurture our agile mind allows us to manage our stress levels and bring resilience to our mental state.

7) Remove the power of negative thoughts on us

Meditation helps us stop spiraling negative thoughts from taking control over us.

By practicing meditation, we can peacefully watch those unhelpful thoughts float by while we focus on positive intentions.

As we work on our breath and sit with our thoughts and emotions, we get to see each thought as something else.

Because sometimes, those negative thoughts are there to remind, warn, or even protect us. It seems weird but they can alert us when something isn’t quite right about our circumstances.

For instance, a negative thought like “I’m not enough” is a reminder for you to reflect on what you’re capable of and what you can do to improve yourself.

The truth is, those thoughts are an integral part of us, though we can’t give them a reason to run the show.

It’s important to practice meditation to gain more control over those negative thoughts.

8) Improves emotional and physical well-being

Most of us over-identify with our thoughts and emotions, and sometimes they agonize us for days.

But when we meditate, we concentrate and get rid of the constant stream of disorganized thoughts that stress us out. It helps eliminate information overload that builds up in our minds.

Meditation brings about deep relaxation and mental calmness.

As we increase self-awareness, patience, and tolerance, we gain a new perspective on stressful situations.

Through this, we learn how to respond instead of reacting to those negative thoughts and emotions.

This brings about several emotional and physical benefits including:

  • Lower resting heart rate
  • Lower resting blood pressure
  • Better sleep quality
  • Improve stress coping skills
  • Reduce psychological pain

9) We learn to be compassionate

When we meditate, we’re giving our minds a break and seeing ourselves more clearly.

And this helps bring shifts in our way, giving us an uplifting perspective on things. But bringing positive change goes much deeper than trying to stop those negative thoughts.

During meditation, we learn to truly accept ourselves – both the positive and the negative. And it is by accepting that we morph into being more compassionate.

The thing is, practicing self-compassion is the highest form of self-care.

Instead of beating ourselves up for our shortcomings, we learn to be kind to ourselves. We forgive and try to work on being the best we can be.

This makes us see the value of giving ourselves the quality time we need – even if it means taking a few minutes to watch the sunrise or the sunset.

10) Focusing on the good intentionally

Meditation trains the brain to interrupt cycles of negative thinking.

This is about purposefully looking for positive experiences, sensations, and feelings. It can either be consciously pausing on a positive moment or savoring beauty around you – and allowing those things to sink in.

For instance,

  • Enjoying the sun’s rays as it touches your face
  • Admiring the paintings while on your way to work
  • Basking in those encouraging words from your colleagues
  • Having loving exchange with your children

However, you don’t have to push yourself to think positively.

You simply have to focus your attention on the goodness that already exists and allow that to role in how you approach and respond to the situation.

Meditation techniques to eliminate negative thoughts

Here are powerful ways meditation can help with unpleasant emotions and thoughts.

Use these techniques to keep you from getting caught in the wheel of anxiety and self-doubt.

1) Start at a relaxed time

It’s a good idea to practice meditation when you’re not stressed or feeling overwhelmed.

Try to sit for at least five minutes daily, then increase it as you go along. It’s also best to meditate in a tranquil environment where you won’t be interrupted.

Since meditation is a learned skill, try to make it part of your routine.

You can condition yourself to meditate once you wake up in the morning or before you sleep.

Make it a habit so you can unwind your mind and body from anxiety.

2) Focus on your breath

To do this, sit comfortably, relax your body, and pay attention to your breath.

One strategy here is to “count one” as you inhale deeply and then count “two” as exhale through your lips. Feel the breath go over your hands.

Focus by breathing those thoughts and feelings in – and then exhaling them out. Keep going even if you become distracted by other thoughts.

To end this, inhale powerfully and exhale completely.

3) Recognize those negative thoughts

Most of us take our thoughts very seriously. We buy into them and believe that they are true.

And when we’re fused with our thoughts, we get stuck in them.

So rather than being “hooked” by those unhelpful thoughts and emotions, you can practice recognizing that they exist. Once you do that, you can “unhook” from them as they arise.

By stepping back from those negative thoughts, you can free yourself from the impact it has created on you.

It’s liberating when you do this.

4) Identify your triggers

You have to face and know where those negative thoughts come from. When you always ignore them, it will keep on showing up now and then.

So to stop the chain of negative thoughts, you need to find your triggers.

Ask yourself where you start getting those negative thoughts.

  • Does it happen when you wake up in the morning?
  • Do you experience it when you step outside and traffic hits you on the face?
  • Is it because of the news or what you see on social media?
  • Or maybe it happens when you’re too tired and hungry?
  • Or perhaps when you see someone or remember a past event?

5) Try to relax your mind and body

We tend to tense up when our minds are filled with negative thoughts. This puts us in a state of distress.

When you feel this tension in your body, try your best to relax it.

Take a break and give yourself a breather. Try to sit down, breathe, and relax.

As you exhale, imagine you’re directing your breath into the area where you feel the pain and tension. Let the power of your breathing soften that pain.

Every time you meditate, mentally scan every part of your body – from head to toe. Keep your focus so you won’t get swept away by the surge of your negative thoughts.

6) Practice mindfulness

Try to stay present and focused on what’s happening around you.

Meditating will help boost your mindfulness and relieve stress as it allows you to distract those thoughts, acknowledge and let them go.

The key here is to focus on the sensations and your breathing. This means being fully in tune with the experiences of your daily life.

Be fully aware of what you’re sensing and feeling at the moment. Allow those sensations to come and go, and accept what comes into your awareness at that moment.

You’re doing this to bring awareness to your inner world – from the things that drive and motivate you to those that get in your way and keep you stuck.

As you meditate regularly, you’ll notice that those negative thoughts will continue to move away.

7) Let a scent calm you

When something’s bothering you and you feel down, take time to escape to your sanctuary.

Allow being alone with nature to heal you.

As you practice meditation, include calming scents from a diffuser or incense. This helps bring to mind positive memories, experiences, and thoughts.

Adding scents is a pleasant way to enhance your meditation experience. it’s a powerful tool that draws your focus to the present

Some scents can calm your mind and make your body relax, like lavender and sage.

You can even use scents that remind you of beautiful moments in your life or even a person.

Moving forward

Although you may get some immediate relief following those tips, they aren’t quick fixes. It’s because overcoming negative thinking for good will take practice and persistence on your part.

But it’s worth your time and effort.

The more you practice motivation, the more you’ll feel better, unlock more of your potential and live a happier, healthier, and more meaningful life.

The key here is to shift those mental struggles to mental strength – and transform the quality of your life from the inside out.

Never let meditating add to your stress. You can easily practice meditation on your own, attend group classes, or try meditation apps.

Choose a way that suits your lifestyle and situation. And see what type of meditation works best for you and what you enjoy doing.

All you need here is to practice and spend a few minutes of quality time for meditation. Let those minutes restore your calm and inner peace.

The important thing is to adapt meditation to your needs at the moment.

What matters is that meditation helps you reduce your stress, eliminate negative thoughts, and feel better overall.