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A person’s physical health is directly impacted by their thoughts and emotions. Meanwhile, reducing negative thoughts improves overall health. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), “People who are emotionally well, experts say, have fewer negative emotions and are able to bounce back from difficulties faster.” West Coast Recovery Centers provides clients with the skills and tools they need to reduce negativity. Furthermore, individuals in recovery can benefit from spring-cleaning and decluttering their thoughts to increase positivity. 

Decluttering Your Thoughts Using Positivity

“Spring cleaning” is a yearly task many people undertake to clear their homes of unnecessary, unwanted, or broken things that take up valuable space. Removing negativity is a way of decluttering the brain and removing unwanted or unnecessary thoughts and beliefs. Spring cleaning may involve eliminating some items and restoring others. People in recovery may need to completely remove some thought patterns and behaviors while replacing or reframing others. 

People in recovery declutter negative thoughts by doing the following: 

  • Identifying unhealthy thought patterns 
  • Collaborating with members of their support system to create a more positive and uplifting environment
  • Consciously choosing to focus on positive aspects of each day instead of negative ones 

Therapists, peers, loved ones, and other members of a person’s support system provide encouragement and guidance during the “spring cleaning” of the mind. Moreover, positive social connections are an excellent way to encourage new thoughts and behaviors. 

The Impact of Negativity on Mental Health

Many people recovering from substance use disorder (SUD) experience significant stress. According to the Social Service Review, “Negative interactions, characterized by conflict, excessive demands, and criticism, are found to be direct sources of stress.” People tend to focus on negative experiences more than positive ones as they go through their day. 

Negativity impacts recovery and mental health by doing the following: 

  • Reducing self-confidence
  • Decreasing motivation 
  • Causing self-doubt
  • Increasing symptoms triggered by stress, including cravings 
  • Making it more difficult to remain hopeful for the future 

A single negative moment can ruin an entire day if a person allows themselves to focus on it. People cannot control what they experience. However, they can control how they respond and whether they let negativity influence their emotional health. Treatment programs help people identify the root cause of stress and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Limiting negativity is essential to maintaining emotional stability during treatment and aftercare.

Identifying the Cause of Negative Thoughts

Before a person can remove unwanted or negative thoughts, they must first try to identify the root cause. For example, someone who struggles to make social connections may work with their therapist to identify distrust as the reason for negative thoughts towards others. Digging deeper might reveal childhood trauma or abuse, leading to trust issues with peers or authority figures. Revealing the exact nature of the thoughts makes using positive self-talk and other tools to reduce negativity easier.

Some of the most common causes of negative thoughts and behaviors include: 

  • Internalized stigmas 
  • Side effects of untreated mental health issues 
  • Experiencing bias, stigma, or discrimination in everyday life
  • Chronic stress
  • Traumatic events 
  • Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)
  • Neglect
  • Loneliness or social isolation
  • Emulating friends, peers, or family members 
  • Sexual, physical, or verbal abuse

Negative experiences are often more challenging to move past, requiring more resilience. West Coast Recovery Centers provides clients with the motivation and tools to build healthier patterns of thoughts and behaviors. 

Replacing Negative Thoughts With Positive Self-Talk

Once negative thoughts have been identified, people must address them in some way. Often, clients find it helpful to use positive self-talk to create a logical argument against maladaptive beliefs or expectations. Replacing negative thoughts with positive self-talk takes practice and time. At first, most people must consciously choose to replace negativity with a positive thought. Over time, the action becomes automatic as a person’s brain becomes hardwired to look for the positives in every situation. 

Some ways to practice positive self-talk during early recovery include: 

  • Setting daily reminders or alarms and taking a few minutes to list all the positive things experienced that day 
  • Incorporating positive self-talk into established routines, including work and personal care
  • Writing or talking about positive experiences as if they happened with a loved one
  • Keeping a journal of positive experiences and referencing it regularly 

Each person has a different healing journey. Many people use multiple methods to focus on building a more wholesome and positive future. 

Eradicating Negative Thoughts Using Healthy Coping Skills

People learn healthy coping skills during treatment for substance abuse. Clinicians offer guidance, education, and resources to ensure clients feel comfortable using healthy coping skills to reduce negativity. 

Some healthy therapeutic exercises  people to increase positivity include: 

  • Daily affirmations 
  • Positive self-talk
  • Daily self-care
  • Journaling 
  • Meditation 
  • Mindfulness 

Coping skills allow people to function in their day-to-day lives while navigating challenges related to recovery from SUD and co-occurring mental health issues. West Coast Recovery Centers teaches clients to develop and implement healthy coping mechanisms for managing stress. Reduced stress increases positivity and helps people feel more emotionally stable. 

Individuals recovering from substance abuse often have negative thoughts or beliefs about themselves and others that may interfere with their ability to heal and fully engage in treatment. Many therapies and support services offered during rehabilitation focus on helping clients reframe their experiences, process emotions, and find healthier ways to manage their condition. West Coast Recovery Centers uses psychotherapy, behavior modification, alternative holistic therapies, peer support, and prescription medications to help clients establish and maintain positive mental health during recovery. The clinical team collaborates with each client to ensure they feel confident in managing stress and other mental health issues. To learn more about our programs and services, call us today at (760) 492-6509.