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Four ways to stop the cycle of negative thoughts

When we embark on a healthier lifestyle, we tend to change our diet and exercise more. But one thing that is often overlooked is our ‘inner voice’ and how we talk to ourselves.

If you are experiencing negative thoughts or are being too hard on yourself, it can really start impacting all areas of your life and how you view yourself.

Mum stressed with child

How to quieten your mind

Bek Nutter is a naturopath, performance nutritionist, clinical herbalist, breath coach and fitness trainer. She believes it’s important for us to learn to quieten our minds and embrace self-love in order to lead a healthier lifestyle.

“We are so mean to ourselves sometimes. We would never speak to best friend or children the way we talk to ourselves in our head,” she says.

“It’s a big thing to learn how to calm any toxic thoughts we experience. Our minds never stop, and it may feel like the thoughts are circling constantly.”

Maybe you don’t have toxic thoughts to deal with, you may just be struggling with the overwhelming number of thoughts going through your mind. These days, we have a lot to think about. If it’s not the kids, it’s work, the house, or the million tasks we try to juggle on a daily basis.

female on phone

“If we think from evolutionary perspective, our body has not really evolved that much, but our mind has. We take on many more things. Our ‘caveman-selves’ were physically running from threats, but now we are mentally running from things,” says Bek.

“However, our caveman ancestors could hide in their caves. We can no longer hide in our homes, as we have phones and the internet and can work from home.”

Exercise helps

females exercising outside

One of the best ways to stop your mind from racing is to do some exercise. This allows your body to catch up with your mind. If you’ve had a big day at work, a workout is a great way to get rid of all the energy you’ve not expended before allowing yourself to slow down before bed.

“Exercise also helps you focus on what you’re doing and not the other thoughts. Letting your mind have a break is important,” adds Bek,

“But sometimes exercising isn’t always possible, if you are in the middle of a big meeting, you can’t just go for a run.  This is when it is important to lean to quieten your mind.”

Breathing techniques

female meditating

When it comes to using breathing techniques to deal with stress and toxic thinking, it’s important to slow down how you breathe. Slowing your breath helps slow everything else down.

“What you’re feeling as you are slow down your breathing, is your heart rate coming down,” explains Bek. “This allows more oxygen to be released into your brain so your body begins to feel grounded. After one minute, you will feel more chilled.”

Rather than scrolling on your phone before bed, try this technique to release melatonin, a chemical in your brain that helps you sleep. In addition, if you do this breathing technique when you wake up, you may end up feeling a lot more chilled throughout the day, and be in a better position to deal with any negative thoughts that might pop up. 

Here’s a quick recap on four ways to deal with toxic thoughts

  1. Be kinder to yourself, we have to deal with so many more things than ever before
  2. Exercise to release energy after a big day
  3. Breathing techniques help you slow your down mind
  4. Start and end your day with slow breathing to help calm your mind and sleep better at night

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