Learn how to change the way you think with practical strategies to overcome negativity and develop a growth mindset.

How to Change the Way You Think

Jun 6, 2024

By Will Moore

In my teen and young adult years, I lived as a prisoner of my own thoughts. I was convinced my brain was broken, there was nothing I could do about it, and the world was out to get me. My desire for perfection meant any stumble or sign of failure was a sign of my utter uselessness in the universe, draining my energy and sucking any joy and happiness from my life.

I wish I'd known then what I know now. As a happiness expert who has spent the last 25 years studying behavioral science and principles to learn the true meaning of happiness, I believe I've cracked the code. Why? I'm living a completely different life now, full of deep, satisfying daily relationships and experiences that ensure I'm continually growing and making progress, building momentum in life.

It all starts with understanding and learning what it means to develop what I call a "growth-owner mindset." This is the opposite of the "fixed-victim mindset" many of us develop, and I mentioned above, dominated my youth.

Instead, a growth-owner mindset understands they should focus on their positive attributes and mitigate their "weaknesses," and 100% believe that they have everything within them to kick ass, take names, and overcome any temporary obstacle standing in their way.

With a growth mindset, failure isn't just part of life; it's MANDATORY, and each stumble equates to a learning experience necessary for growth! Learn About some growth mindset activities to develop growth mindset.

In this blog, I'll show you tips to get your mind working FOR instead of against you. We'll cover simple, fun, actionable, science-backed tips on how to change your thoughts and develop a growth-owner mindset.

Upgrades You'll Earn From This Blog:

  1. Gain clarity on practical steps for changing negative thinking patterns

  2. Learn innovative, science-backed methods to transform your mindset.

  3. Discover how to make thought transformation simple, fun, and automatic.

How to Change the Way You Think? 7 Steps

Step 1: Identify Your Negative Thinking Patterns

The first step in changing the way you think is to recognize and identify your negative thinking patterns. Common negative thinking patterns include overgeneralizing, catastrophizing, and thinking in absolutes.

For example, you might think, "I always mess up," or "Nothing ever goes right for me." These types of thoughts are, of course, not only unhelpful but also untrue. Catching these thoughts isn't an easy task, but you can do it.

To overcome this, the first step is self-awareness. Recognize that there is a problem and write it down in a journal. This method not only helps you identify your negative thinking patterns but also helps lower depression.

This is backed by a study published in Elsevier that shows that penning down feelings and thoughts related to personal stressful life experiences helps lower depressive symptoms. By getting your negative thoughts out of your head and onto paper, you gain perspective and start disconnecting from their intense emotional charge.

So, don't underestimate the power of simply writing down your thoughts.

Tips to Follow:

  1. Keep a Thought Journal: Write down your negative thoughts as they occur. For example, if you find yourself thinking, "I'm terrible at my job," jot it down.

  2. Reflect on Patterns: Look for common themes in your negative thinking. You might notice that you often think negatively about your abilities or relationships.

  3. Ask Questions: Challenge the validity of your negative thoughts by asking, "Is this really true?" Often, you'll find that these thoughts are based on fears or assumptions rather than facts.

Step 2: Challenge and Replace Negative Thoughts

Once you identify your negative thoughts, the next step is to challenge and replace them with positive ones. Cognitive restructuring is a powerful technique that is used by mental health professionals worldwide.

According to an article published in the journal Cognitive Therapy and Research, individuals who practiced cognitive restructuring experienced significant improvements in their overall mental health.

Another study in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry found that cognitive-behavioral techniques significantly reduced the frequency of unwanted intrusive thoughts.

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Question the validity of your negative thoughts and consider alternative, more positive perspectives. Over time, this practice can rewire your brain to think more positively.

Tips to Follow:

  1. Resolve Your Thoughts: When you have a negative thought, ask yourself if it's based on facts or assumptions. For example, if you think, "I'll never be successful," ask yourself, "What evidence do I have for this belief?"

  2. Find Positive Alternatives: Replace negative thoughts with positive or neutral ones. Instead of thinking, "I can't do this," try thinking, "This is challenging, but I can learn and improve." Reframing the perspective works like magic to become a happy person.

  3. Practice Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with the kindness and understanding you would offer a friend. If your friend made a mistake, you wouldn't say, "You're a failure," but rather, "It's okay; everyone makes mistakes."

Step 3: Practice Mindfulness and Stay in the Present Moment

Mindfulness helps you stay focused on the present moment, reducing unnecessary stress caused by dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

Incorporate mindfulness practices like meditation and deep breathing into your daily routine to help control and change your thoughts.

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that mindfulness meditation programs can improve anxiety, depression, and pain, highlighting the broad benefits of staying present.

Dr, Madhav Goyal - The lead author of this study also told TIME magazine that people who practiced mindful meditation saw a 5-10% improvement in anxiety symptoms and a 10-20% reduction in depressive symptoms compared to placebo groups.

Tips to Follow:

  1. Set aside time each day for mindfulness meditation. Even just 10 minutes can make a significant difference. Apps like Headspace and Calm offer guided meditations to get you started.

  2. Use deep breathing exercises to calm your mind and focus on the present. Try the 4-7-8 technique: inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. This technique increases parasympathetic activity, which helps you calm down.

  3. Engage in activities like yoga or tai chi that promote mindfulness. These activities combine physical movement with mental focus, helping you stay present.

Step 4: Develop a Can Do Mindset

A growth mindset is the belief that your abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. Cultivating a growth mindset can transform your thinking patterns, making you more adaptable and open to new experiences.

Tips to Follow:

  1. Embrace Challenges: See challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. For example, if you struggle with public speaking, view each speaking opportunity as a chance to improve.

  2. Learn from Criticism: Use feedback as a tool for improvement. Instead of taking criticism personally, see it as valuable information to help you grow.

  3. Celebrate Effort: Focus on the effort rather than the outcome. Praise yourself for your hard work, regardless of the result. This reinforces the idea that effort leads to improvement.

Step 5: Use Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations are statements that can help you challenge and overcome negative thoughts. By repeating affirmations daily, you can rewire your brain for positivity. Examples include "I am capable," "I am worthy," and "I am improving every day."

This seemingly trivial tip is a very powerful tool that can help you have a positive outlook on life.

This has been validated by a Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience study that found that self-affirmation activates the brain's reward system, thus enhancing positive thinking.

So when you practice daily affirmations, you're not just telling yourself feel-good phrases. You're actually training your brain to be more positive by tapping into its biological reward pathways.

Tips to Follow:

  1. Create a List of Affirmations: Write down a list of positive affirmations that resonate with you.

  2. Repeat Daily: Say these affirmations out loud each morning to set a positive tone for the day.

  3. Believe in Your Affirmations: Truly believe in the affirmations you're saying. The more you believe them, the more effective they will be.

Step 6: Surround Yourself with Positive Influences

Your environment plays a significant role in shaping your thoughts.

A study published in BMC Psychiatry shows that during the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals with supportive social networks were more likely to experience positive mental health outcomes.

Additionally, adults who had support from family had better mental health than people who relied more on sources other than family for support.

Therefore, surround yourself with positive, supportive people who uplift and inspire you. Build emotionally healthy relationships. Engage in activities and join communities that foster a positive mindset.

Tips to Follow:

  1. Choose Your Company Wisely: Spend time with people who have a positive outlook on life. Their positivity can influence your thinking.

  2. Join Supportive Communities: Participate in groups or clubs that promote personal growth and positivity, such as a book club or a fitness group.

  3. Limit Negative Influences: Reduce time spent with people or in consistently negative or draining environments.

Step 7: Create a Daily Gratitude Practice

Gratitude has been shown to improve mental health and well-being. Maintaining a daily gratitude journal can shift your focus from negative to positive aspects of your life. Write down three things you are grateful for each day to cultivate a positive outlook.

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This activity is very beneficial, and a systematic review and meta-analysis published in the National Library of Medicine showed that participants who underwent gratitude interventions had greater satisfaction with life (6.86% higher), greater feelings of gratitude (up to 4% higher scores), better mental health (5.8% higher), and fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression (7.76% and 6.89% lower scores, respectively)

Tips to Follow:

  1. Keep a Gratitude Journal: Each day, write down three things you are grateful for. This practice can help shift your focus from what's going wrong to what's going right.

  2. Express Gratitude to Others: Take time to thank the people in your life who have made a positive impact. This can strengthen your relationships and enhance your own sense of well-being.

  3. Reflect on Positive Experiences: Spend a few minutes each day thinking about positive experiences you've had. This can reinforce a positive mindset.

How to Control Your Mind from Unwanted Thoughts?

Unwanted thoughts can be intrusive and distressing. To control them, practice mindfulness and cognitive behavioral techniques. These methods help you recognize and reframe negative thoughts, allowing you to take proactive steps in steering your mind toward positivity.

Steps to Follow:

  1. Acknowledge the Thought: Recognize that the unwanted thought is there without judging it.

  2. Refocus Your Mind: Shift your attention to something positive or neutral. For example, focus on your breathing or engage in a favorite activity.

  3. Use Cognitive Techniques: Techniques such as thought stopping, where you literally say "stop" when a negative thought arises, can help interrupt the cycle of unwanted thoughts.

  4. Mindfulness Exercises: Engage in mindfulness exercises to stay present and reduce the impact of negative thoughts.

  5. Seek Professional Help: If bad thoughts persist, consider seeking help from a therapist who can provide additional strategies and support.

How to Change the Way I Think About Myself?

The way you think about yourself shapes your reality. Negative self-talk erodes your confidence and holds you back from becoming the best version of yourself. It's time to break free from that toxic inner voice.

Start by noticing the harsh criticism and negativity you direct at yourself. "I'm not good enough." "I'll never succeed." Sound familiar? Challenge those destructive thoughts by asking yourself, "Would I speak that way to someone I love?" Chances are, you wouldn't. Treat yourself with the same kindness and compassion you show others.

Next, reframe your negative self-perceptions with positive affirmations. As Maya Angelou said, "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." Repeat mantras like, "I am a person worthy of love and success." This rewires your brain to embrace a more positive self-image.

Find out How to Reinvent Yourself?

Finally, celebrate your strengths and accomplishments, no matter how small. Kept a commitment to yourself today? Patted yourself on the back. Acknowledging your wins, instead of dismissing them, reinforces a healthier self-perception.

The path to self-love begins with changing your inner dialogue. Be patient and persistent – you're undoing years of negative programming. But as you embrace kinder, more constructive self-talk, your reality will start to shift. You've got this!

Conclusion: How to Change the Way You Think

Start by identifying and challenging your negative thoughts, practicing mindfulness, and surrounding yourself with positive influences. Use daily affirmations to reinforce your new, positive thinking patterns, and cultivate gratitude to keep your focus on the good in your life. Remember, the journey of personal development is about progress, not perfection.

As you implement these strategies, you'll find your mind working for you instead of against you, leading to a more fulfilling and happier life. Embrace the process, be patient with yourself, and celebrate each small victory along the way. Your thoughts shape your reality, so choose to think positively and watch how your life transforms. You've got this! 🌟

🌟 Ready to Break Free From Negative Thinking!

Transforming your mindset is the first step towards a happier, more fulfilling life. Now that you've learned the steps, let’s make it simple, easy, fun, and rewarding to put these strategies into action!

  1. Discover Your Core Values: Kickstart your journey by taking our Core Values Quiz. See where you stand in the 5 Core Areas of Life and gain clarity on your strengths and areas for growth.

  2. Get Personalized Coaching: Need more guidance? Our Life Coaching services can help you momentify your personal and professional life. Whether it's individual or executive coaching, we've got you covered.

  3. Stay on Track with Our Habit Tracker: Keep yourself accountable with our gamified Weekly Habit Tracker App. Make it fun and rewarding to build and maintain positive habits.


Accelerate your growth in the 5 Key Areas of Life by making your habit transformation journey so simple, fun, and rewarding that your momentum becomes inevitable. Start building your habit and momentum today!

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FAQs: How to change the way you think

How Do I Stop Bad Thoughts?

Stopping bad thoughts involves interrupting the negative thought cycle and replacing it with positive ones. Techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness can be highly effective. Focus on positive affirmations and mindfulness exercises to break the cycle of negative thinking.

What is the Best Way to Change Your Thoughts?

The best way to change your thoughts is by developing self-awareness, reframing negative thoughts positively, and consistently practicing new, positive thought patterns.

Is it possible to change your way of thinking?

Yes, it is possible to change your thinking. It involves recognizing and challenging negative or limiting beliefs, consistently practicing positive self-talk, and adopting a growth mindset to view failures as learning opportunities.


Will Moore is a gamification, habits and happiness expert.

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