How to Let Go of Negative Thoughts and Feelings

Negative thoughts can have a significant impact on our well-being, contributing to problems such as social anxiety, depression, stress, and low self-esteem. Understanding how we think and implementing strategies to change our thought patterns can help us overcome these challenges and lead more positive and fulfilling lives.

Rachel G, PhD, a psychologist and clinical assistant professor at the NYU School of Medicine, emphasizes the interconnectedness of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, highlighting the importance of addressing negative thoughts when they arise to prevent them from derailing our day. While therapy can be beneficial in this process, there are also practical steps we can take to change our negative thoughts. This article explores various approaches to let go of negative thoughts, offering insights and guidance for each step.

Mindfulness: Building Self-Awareness

Mindfulness serves as a powerful tool in cultivating self-awareness and breaking free from negative thought patterns. By being fully present in the moment and observing our thoughts without judgment, we can gain a clearer understanding of the negative thoughts that arise within us. Through practices like meditation and mindful breathing, we develop the ability to recognize negative thoughts as they emerge, enabling us to address them more effectively.

Identifying Negative Thoughts

One crucial step in overcoming negative thoughts is learning to identify them. Often, negative thoughts occur automatically and habitually, making them difficult to recognize. By actively paying attention to our inner dialogue, we can pinpoint negative thoughts when they arise. This heightened awareness allows us to challenge and reframe these thoughts, paving the way for positive change.

Replacing Negative Thoughts with Realistic, Positive Ones

Once we identify negative thoughts, the next step is to replace them with more realistic and positive alternatives. It’s essential to challenge the validity and accuracy of negative thoughts by examining the evidence that supports or refutes them. By consciously introducing positive and balanced perspectives, we can reframe our thoughts and cultivate a more optimistic mindset. For instance, if a negative thought arises such as “I will never succeed,” we can reframe it to “I am capable of learning and improving, and success is within my reach.”

Practicing Acceptance

Avoiding or denying negative thoughts often perpetuates their presence in our minds. Instead, adopting an attitude of acceptance towards these thoughts can help us let go of their power over us. Acknowledging that negative thoughts are a normal part of the human experience allows us to approach them with compassion and curiosity. By accepting these thoughts without judgment, we can diminish their impact and prevent them from controlling our emotions and behaviors.

Coping with Feedback and Criticism

Negative thoughts can arise in response to feedback or criticism from others. Learning to cope with such input is crucial for maintaining a healthy mindset. Instead of immediately assuming the worst or taking criticism personally, we can approach feedback as an opportunity for growth and self-improvement. By reframing feedback as constructive and focusing on the specific areas we can work on, we can transform negative thoughts into a catalyst for positive change.

Using a Thought Diary

Keeping a thought diary can be an effective technique for tracking and analyzing our thoughts. By recording negative thoughts as they occur, we gain insight into recurring patterns and triggers. This process helps us identify the underlying beliefs and assumptions that contribute to negative thinking. Armed with this knowledge, we can challenge and modify these beliefs, gradually replacing them with more positive and empowering ones.

Rachel G, PhD, a psychologist and clinical assistant professor at the NYU School of Medicine, affirms, “Our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are all linked, so our thoughts impact how we feel and act. So, although we all have unhelpful thoughts from time to time, it’s important to know what to do when they appear so we don’t let them change the course of our day.” This statement underscores the fundamental connection between our thoughts, emotions, and actions, emphasizing the need to address negative thoughts promptly.


In conclusion, overcoming negative thoughts is essential for our mental well-being. While therapy can be a valuable resource, there are practical steps we can take to change our thought patterns and let go of negativity. By cultivating self-awareness through mindfulness, identifying negative thoughts, replacing them with more realistic and positive alternatives, practicing acceptance, coping with feedback, and utilizing a thought diary, we can effectively challenge and transform our negative thinking. As we navigate this journey, let us remember that change takes time and patience, but with persistence and self-compassion, we can create a more positive and fulfilling mindset.

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DISCLAIMER: No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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  1. Was suffering from social anxiety, and depression, but I’m okay now. 🙂

    1. Thank God, you’re good now!! 🙂

  2. Negative thoughts hurt Mental well-being a lot !!

    1. Yeah, a lot! Thanks, Sophia 🙂

  3. I’ve practiced these things a lot. Very well written, though.. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Aman. Please do follow our other Posts(@HoosRah) as well!! 🙂

  4. Great Therapy – Great Article <3

    1. Thanks, Vijay. Please do follow our other Posts(@HoosRah) as well!! 🙂

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