Having negative thoughts is part of being human. How we manage those negative thoughts will determine the outcome in particular life situations. For those struggling with addictions, domestic violence and generalized anxiety and depression, negative thoughts can be all consuming and have a negative impact on recovery.
The voices we hear in our heads can either be valuable and positive or they can adversely impact mental health and overall well-being. Unfortunately, we tend to entertain negative thinking over positive thinking.
Community Counselling Centre of Nipissing (CCCNIP) offers programs and services to individuals needing support and a safe place to discuss their addiction, domestic violence situation or anxiety and depression.
Hearing voices in our head – is that normal?
Self-reflection and “hearing voices” is perfectly normal. We all have conversations with ourselves on a moment-to-moment basis. We often say to ourselves:
- “Why did I say or do that?”
- “Why doesn’t anyone listen to me?”
- “What am I going to eat for supper?”
- “Why do some people annoy me?”
- “I should be a better friend.”
- “I should be a better parent.”
- “I should be a better partner.”
The list goes on and on. However, these conversations can sometimes help regulate emotions, simplify complex social situations and guide our behaviour. What we think to ourselves helps to make sense of the world we live in, helps us to plan, adapt and figure things out.
Effective internal conversations allow us to reset and adjust when plans go awry.
When negative thoughts can go wrong
On the flip side, having negative thoughts can sometimes go wrong. For example, they can:
- Keep you up at night;
- Cause a relapse;
- Lower our self-esteem;
- Become loud and repetitive;
- Become an accelerator for conflict and trauma; or
- Drive anxiety, depression and feelings of despair.
So, what can you do when your internal conversations are going in the wrong direction and having a negative impact on your life? At CCCNIP, we suggest:
- Avoiding the use of food or substances to deal with negative thoughts;
- Talking to others when your inner world starts to crumble;
- Developing an effective plan to deal with conflict;
- Using positive self-talk and affirmations; and
- Understanding that mental storms do pass.
If you have experienced trauma related to sexual assault or intimate partner violence, call CCCNIP at 705-492-2508. Experienced staff can help you find strategies that work so that you can turn negative thoughts around and start feeling empowered to move toward recovery.