How to Overcome Unhealthy Thought Processes

Von C. Holbrook
February 23, 2024
8 minutes

Stress and depression are common mental health issues. How well you overcome unhealthy thought processes will in part determine how mentally well you feel. Unhealthy thought processes are feelings of low self-worth or impending doom. They are often misperceived or exaggerated. They can lead to significant self-destructive behavior.

Fortunately, there are ways to overcome unhealthy thought processes and improve your mental health. This article will provide tips that will allow you to change the way you think and promote healthier behaviors.

What is the Science Behind Unhealthy (or Negative) Thought Processes?

Negative thought processes can occur due to a variety of external and internal factors. They can manifest in people who are abused and those who have existing mental health conditions. They can also be a form of feedback from the world around you.

Many people have occasional negative thought processes. But some become obsessed with them. This can lead to feelings of low self-worth and paranoia. It can also cause self-destructive behavior.

There are many types of negative thought processes. These include:

  • Polarization or Dichotomous Thinking: Involves seeing everything as good or bad which makes it hard to find a middle ground.
  • Emotional Reasoning: Involves a person thinking something is true based on their feelings without having the facts to back it up.
  • Overgeneralization: Fixating on one negative detail and allowing it to have an overblown significance.
  • Labeling: This is characterized by putting labels on yourself or the things around you. It’s dangerous because it does not allow a person to grow beyond those labels.
  • Mental Filtering: This happens when someone chooses only to remember negative aspects of an experience.
  • Jumping to Conclusions: A person with negative thought process issues may jump to a negative conclusion quickly, and it will be extremely difficult to change that thought or belief.
  • Fortune-Telling: A ‘fortune teller’ is when a person predicts situations with poor outcomes. They will have a pessimistic attitude that impacts their ability to produce positive outcomes. For example, a student who fortune-tells will decide they are going to fail a test. Then they won’t study to make the prediction come true.
  • Mind-Reading: A person who mind-reads will assume they know what everyone is thinking about them, and they will often assume the worst.

How to Control Unhealthy Thought Processes

Unhealthy thought processes can get the best of you. But fortunately, there are methods you can use to control them. These include:

  • Scheduling Negative Thinking: Set aside 10 – 15 minutes a day when you can review your negative thoughts. Considering them in a structured way will allow you to compartmentalize your feelings instead of wallowing in them.
  • Replace Bad Thoughts: To replace bad thoughts, you must learn how to identify when they begin, disrupt them, and replace them with more positive thinking.
  • Learn Self-Love: Negative thought processes are often related to feelings of self-loathing. You can overcome them by thinking of how the ideal friend would talk about you. This will uplift and encourage you.
  • Keep a Journal: Keeping a journal is very therapeutic. You can use your journal to write down your thoughts and their mental associations. Getting your feelings down on paper will help you organize and analyze your feelings which is more productive than having them run through your mind repeatedly.
  • Find the Good: Sometimes, breaking negative thought processes can be as easy as thinking of all the beauty and good things in the world. Make time to do things you enjoy to improve your mood.
  • Make Improvements: Negative thought processes are not always unwarranted. But that doesn’t mean you need to let them eat you up. For example, you may have done something you’re not proud of, but that doesn’t mean you’re the worst person in the world. Instead of wallowing in negative thinking, come up with ways to make improvements.
  • Take a Break from the News and Social Media: The news and social media are two external stressors that can lead to negative thinking. If you find they are causing you stress and depression, it may be time to take a break.
  • Exercise and Meditate: Exercise and meditation keep your mind quiet and your body active, making them useful in breaking negative thought processes.

How Hanu Health Can Help

The Hanu Health app can also help you become mindful of and reduce negative thought processes. You can begin to recognize negative thought patterns as they emerge, and change your thinking before it gets the best of you. The app also suggests therapeutic exercises that can help you change your thoughts and unhealthy behaviors. Unhealthy thought processes can greatly reduce mental health. Exercises like journaling, practicing positive thinking, physical activity, and the Hanu Health app will help you overcome negative thinking and promote healthier behavior.