How to Stop Self Destructive Negative Thinking Patterns

Over the years, negative thinking patterns has been one of my biggest struggles. I also have found that it is extremely common with people who suffer from anxiety. In fact, these patterns tend to feed the anxiety and make it stronger.

However, you can also change your mindset to a more positive and empowering belief system. Through learning to focus your mind on positive thoughts, you can change your life. Now, that doesn’t mean always thinking “happy thoughts”.

Instead, you need to learn how to think realistically, and break free of the negative thinking patterns that cause self imposed limitations.

In order to break your anxiety, you have to confront your negative thought patterns, and take control of your mindset. This will help you to stop making excuses and fully become aware of the cause of your anxiety.

 However, that’s often easier said than done.

We all have negative thoughts from time to time. However, when these thoughts dominate your life, you will engrain yourself into limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs put limits on your potential for growth, and this will limit the actions you take. The actions you take give you results, which just reinforce the thought patterns, beginning the entire cycle over again.

Take a look at this chart to see how the cycle of negative thinking patterns will continue to spiral out of control.

The Cycle of Negative Thinking Patterns

As you can see, once you get caught in this cycle it just continues to reinforce itself, and so you will always prove your thoughts to be true, because the actions you take will be based on those thoughts.

The only way to create a change in this cycle is to change how you think, and  instill new beliefs that are more positive.

How to Break the Cycle of Negative Thinking Patterns

There are several ways that I have learned to help break the cycle of negative thinking that will hamper your growth.  Although some methods will work better than others, a lot of it depends on your core background. Today, I thought I would share a few ways to break this negative cycle and begin healing your emotional conditioning.

Attitude of Gratitude

I have written several times about developing gratitude on my personal blog. I personally believe that it is essential to breaking this negative pattern. I try to keep a gratitude journal every day. When I get away from the habit, I tend to fall right back into a negative pattern. However, it doesn’t take long to get right back to where I should be once I pick it up again.

Eliminate Excuses

In his book, Excuses Begone, Dr. Wayne Dyer shows a 7 step paradigm for changing negative thinking habits.  I have used this paradigm over the last few months to change my own negative beliefs and create a more empowered future for myself.

In his book, Dr Dyer defines an excuse as any negative thought or belief that may or may not be true but takes you in  a different direction than you want your life to go.

Most people are in denial about their own excuses, which locks them into this cycle of despair, and negative actions. In order to break free, you have to change how you think, and what you believe to be true about yourself and your circumstances in life.

Break Free of Perfection

I have never been perfect in my life, but I spent most of my life striving for it. I recently came to realize that perfection is just a myth anyway. When you break free of the need to be perfect, you can then begin building beliefs that empower you rather than destroying your self esteem.

This helps eliminate anxiety, and takes a lot of the pressure that you feel off of your shoulders. It’s not always easy to do this, though. In fact, I have struggled with it for a long time. I found that perfection was all about setting unrealistic expectations for myself. Instead, I have allowed myself to do what I need to do, and to get out of my shell to help more people.

Keep Worry At Bay

Many people think that if you really care about someone or something, then you have to worry about it. In actuallity, worry comes from a disconnection from love. Love is a perfect expression of appreciation and acceptance. It comes from being connected to your higher source, and accepting that all things happen with a higher purpose and meaning, even if you don’t understand what that purpose is. If you are worrying, that means you are trying to control the situation,  normally when things are outside of your ability to control.

Faith is one of the keys to overcoming worry.  I am not here to preach, or tell you what you should or shouldn’t go of the need to control the situation. It doesn’t always work out the way I think it should, or want, but it gives me a sense of peace to be able to accept that it worked out the way it was meant to, without my interference.

Start Eliminating Negative Thinking Habits Today!

Take these tips and start eliminating your negative thought patterns and begin changing the results you are seeing in your own life. When you focus on making these changes, you can begin to grow, and take more control of your life.

How are you eliminating negative thinking patterns from your life? what have been the biggest struggles to changing these patterns? share your thought in the comments!

About James Pruitt

James Pruitt is an author, blogger, and speaker in the areas of personal balance, personal growth, and creating inner peace. He has studied and worked with people since 1994 in the areas of spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical balance and healing. Check out more at


  1. 19 July 12, 11:19pm

    Hi James,

    Really good post! I like the ‘Gratitude Journal’ idea. I will have to put this into effect.

    Excuses are just a way for us to try to rationalize why we thing the way we do. Negative thinking leads to excuses. If you are thinking positive, there is no reason to make excuses. Great point, James! Sally

    • 20 July 12, 12:52am

      hi Sally.

      first off, I hope you are feeling better. I’ve had strep before and its definitely no fun.

      I agree with you on the excuses. they limit your ability to grow, and without them you become free to live life on your own terms.

      I started my gratitude journals almost 3 years ago, and its one of the best habits I have ever developed.

  2. 20 July 12, 8:17am

    For a gratitude journal, I recommend the 5-year diaries they sell in office supply stores. Each day has five lines so you can list five things you are grateful for. I try not to repeat the same things on a page. Sometimes it’s hard not to fall into the trap of repeating the same items. This keeps me honest and really makes me think.

    • 20 July 12, 4:25pm

      hey Mary I agree. I try to keep from repeating anything in a given month, making me really look for things to be grateful for and training myself to always look for new things to add to my journal

  3. 23 July 12, 1:48am

    Thanks for this inspirational post. Negative thinking patterns have become common these days. Eliminating excuses will be a great thing to do. Will surely try to follow these tips.

    • 24 July 12, 1:38pm

      negative thinking has been really bad. I have found that ALL negative thinking comes down to fear, and with economics and news media the way it is, fear is reaching an epedemic proportion. the only way to break free of it is to get real with yourself. stop trying to hide from your fears and embrace it so that you can take back control of your life.

  4. 24 July 12, 5:01pm

    Hi James,
    This is a stellar post! Mindset is the key. Some people do not believe that it can be changed, but believe me…It Can!

    I was in a DBT group therapy – a 20 week course I took twice. I had suffered anxiety. As a warrior, I had no room in my life for this. So I learned, applied, and practiced techniques that you have mentioned above.

    Now when I feel a little bit anxious, I apply one technique and I’m O.K.

    The greatest part of this post I feel is keep worry at bay! So many people confuse worry with love and you have explained it well.

    Thank you for this great advice,

    • 28 July 12, 10:04am

      That is true Donna. I didn’t realize how much limitiation worrying all the time was bringing into my life. I finally learned how to let it go, and life has been much happier and fulfilling since that time.

  5. Joy
    25 July 12, 5:50pm

    At this day and age, the last thing we would want to do is be pessimistic. Thank you for your valuable insights.

    • 28 July 12, 10:21am

      Hey Joy, Pessimism is definitely a disadvantage for a lot of people. negative thinking like that can be extremely destructive for you. The funny thing is when I meet pessimistic people who think they are positive and deny their own negativity. I see that a lot.

  6. 29 July 12, 12:40am

    what a beautiful and inspiring piece! I have decided to print this out and hang it in front of my machine-I have this tendency of blaming myself and hitting my head over things that are beyond my control in reality. Your post will be a constant reminder to not do that. Thank you!

    • 29 July 12, 4:42pm

      I have had that problem myself. it took a while to retrain my mind, but it does work. Sadly, we aren’t taught how to train our minds. instead, people just tell us what to think, based on THEIR opinion, not what is right for ourselves. learning to accept yourself and allow things to happen will really help you achieve more.

  7. 01 August 12, 12:48am

    I’m going to have to put that book on my reading list because excuses is one of the few things that I have to overcome. I make way too many excuses for myself, which I think might feed into my battle with procrastination.

    I’m not sure how much I have battled perfection. I may have at times felt I had to be perfect, but there have also been many times that I have just allowed myself to be me. Especially since I read How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, I have allowed my curiosity to just explore without being perfect.

    Remember that if you want to become great at something, you have to allow yourself to make mistakes. It’s okay to strive to be better and doing the best that you can. And while you may aim at perfection, allow yourself to be imperfect.

    Great post, bro!

  8. 11 August 12, 7:54am

    Frankly speaking, these days I am struggling with the negativity in my behavior and even in the thinking process. Even my friends have started pinpointing this fact. This post is immensely motivating. The ways described for overcoming the negativity are of great help to me. From today itself, I will incorporate these rules in my life to bring home a positive outlook. Thanks for sharing such an inspirational post.

  9. 18 September 12, 6:23pm

    “Most people are in denial about their own excuses” – is gold

  10. 04 November 14, 6:13am

    Hi, there and thanks for your informatiove post. Negative thinking is the first step towards anxiety and anxiety is a real, common and painful problem. Not to mention that it can actually lead to some physical conditions. As an alternative method of coping with negative thoughts I practice meditation. It really works in terms of relaxation.

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