Chasing Away Negative Thinking, Inviting Positivity
Negative thinking plays a large part in many mental health issues. It can be the root of an issue or it can be a symptom of it. While negative thoughts are a normal part of life and there’s no way to rid yourself of them completely, sometimes they can get out of control. For some, negative thinking becomes the only form of thinking, warping an individual’s outlook for the worse.
Many ways to encourage positivity and discourage negativity exist. In a time fraught with turmoil in many parts of the world, it’s important to be able to get negative thinking under control–especially for our children. Learning to rein in one’s pessimistic views can greatly benefit someone struggling with mental health issues.
Parents can influence a teen’s outlook negatively or positively
Whether you want to believe it or not, your teenager watches you to know what to do and how to act. It may not always seem like it, but your behaviors and opinions most definitely influence theirs.
If you’re prone to negative thinking and often make pessimistic comments around your teen, that will most likely shape how your teen tends to see the world. You make a real impact, so it’s important to stay positive yourself–especially around your teenager.
Acknowledge negative thinking and move forward from there
According to research, trying to force yourself not to obsess over negative feelings often just makes things even worse. Rumination–focusing on negative thoughts–is a key feature to issues such as depression, which is why we want to steer clear of trying to tell yourself to stop focusing on something.
Instead, recognize it. If your teenager is freaking out over, let’s say, an exam they failed, try out this method of recognition, acceptance, and moving forward. Tell them to acknowledge the obsession: “I am obsessing over this failed exam.”
Then, encourage them to challenge the negative thinking. Question why this failed exam is making them freak out so much. Does it make them feel inadequate? Are they afraid they won’t make it into college because of this one exam? Has there been a pattern of failure in the past?
This method is called Socratic questioning. It’s similar to mindfulness meditation in that it’s about accepting thoughts and looking at them objectively in order to move forward. Research has shown that Socratic questioning significantly helps individuals struggling with depressive symptoms.
Overall, if your son or daughter’s negative thoughts can’t be overcome by regular tactics, it’s important to seek out a professional for further help.
Elevations is here for your family
Elevations RTC is a residential treatment center for struggling teens, ages 13 to 18. Our students often grapple with anxiety, defiance, academic struggles, depression, ADHD, drug use, and other emotional or behavioral issues. At Elevations, we use a combination of a focused therapeutic lens, real-world environment, secure setting, and caring staff to foster growth and success in our students.
For more information about how we can help with negative thinking and depression at Elevations RTC, please call 1-855-290-968.