Positive Thinking

7 Ways to Turn Around Negative Thinking
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Every caregiver sometimes has negative thoughts -- at least everyone who's human! Unfortunately, negative thinking can darken your mood and send your emotions spiraling downward. And since the stress of caregiving already raises your risk of depression, it's best to break a negative-thinking cycle quickly.

Here are seven ways to catch and reorient yourself when you find yourself saying or thinking things like, "Nothing is going right," "I'm never able to . . . ," or "It's hopeless."

  1. Remember that "always" and "never" sentences are almost never true!
    Try to banish these words from your vocabulary. They're satisfyingly dramatic but unnecessary downers.

  2. Look hard at the truth of your negative statement.
    Is it completely accurate? Is it fair? Things are seldom entirely grim.

  3. Flip your statement to its positive side:
    "What's going right is . . . " or, "At least I'm able to . . . "

  4. Play the "glad game."
    Make like Pollyanna, the girl who vowed to find one thing to be glad about no matter how bad things were. Corny, but effective.

  5. Get a reality check.
    Ask the doctor, a sibling, or friend to go over a situation (or aspect of a situation) that has you feeling down or upset and review the facts. What else might be considered? How bad is it really? What does he or she suggest?

  6. Ask yourself, "Where do I go from here?"
    Think of one positive step you can take -- even if it's a baby step -- that will shift your reality to a slightly better one. There may still be plenty to be glum about, but this act shifts you toward a sense of positive momentum.

  7. Remind yourself that you're doing the best you can in a hard situation.
    As the saying goes, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going."


6 months ago, said...

i'm commenting on the article about avoiding negative thinking. My husband has had Alzheimer's and/or frontotemporal dementia for the last eight years. As a result we have dealt with a variety of behavioral issues. These include hypersexual activity. He was hugging, kissing, making sexual comments, and patting women on the bottom frequently, including the young, attractive waitresses at the independent living facility where we lived. As a result he was moved to a memory care unit in the same retirement community. Things got worse there. The hypersexuality escalated. He got into bed with female resident and tried to get them of go to him room. He also hit some of the other residents and the staff. He tried to escape. We were told he had to leave. He was moved to a skilled care facility that specializes in dementia care. It is known as the best dementia care facility in the area. There he undressed women residents, fondled their breasts, and got into their beds with them. He also grabbed the breasts and buttocks of staff, After 6 weeks, the state regulators were called, and he had to leave the facility. He was sent to a hospital's geropsych unit. They did not help him at all. After about a month, I was told he had to leave the hospital. They tried over 35 facilities before finding one that would take him. It was not a good place; it had a history of staff abuse of patients, and I did not want him there, but I was told that either he go there or I bring him home with me. I left the hospital send him to the facility. He continued the same activities there. After a week, he had to leave there. He went to a different geropsych unit, where a fantastic doctor put him on medication that almost completely curbed the hypersexuality. He has been in an assisted living Alzheimer's facility now for 15 months. Recently, he has been getting very agitated and hitting and shoving other residents.The doctor says he cannot do any more with medication. I live in fear that my husband will have to leave that facility for another trip to a geropsych unit. If so, it is highly probable that no facility will accept him. If you could find a way to make it so that I am not stressed, I would love to know about it. I think it's unlikely.


over 2 years ago, said...

All these positive comments keep me hopeful and filled with positive energy. BOO !!! To the negative thinking. Time to jump on over to a more positive train of thought.


over 2 years ago, said...

ARE DVD AVAILABLE ABOUT NEGATIVE THINKING. WHAT ABOUT SUPPORT GROUPS ON LINE ? KEN


over 2 years ago, said...

I have two moms (adopted and birth) who now have AD, but at different stages. And my good friend Joe, at 86 is starting to exhibit symptoms of dementia. I have history with these people, and on days when I am worn out from the task of looking after them, whether I'm at Kitty's nursing home Mom's apt, or Joe's, I take a moment, recall the great visits we have had together. Joe played piano for me many times. Kitty and I laughed and cooked in my teeny kitchen. Mom and I had long phone chats about life, and love. I keep those moments in mind, and it really does help me get through the 'what's the use' attacks some of us have (and hey, we have earned a blue day now and again).


over 2 years ago, said...

Misery loves company and we caregivers need to be told, perhaps every day, that we are normal!


over 3 years ago, said...

Thank you. Simple and seems like we can do all of the things on the list.


over 3 years ago, said...

Yes, I appreciate your advice. I am today 81 yrs old and I advise all to Pray and be positive in life. Yeshwant.


over 3 years ago, said...

short and sweet and to the point


over 3 years ago, said...

Good list, Paula! Stopping to count our blessings, concentrate on good things, can be so helpful. How do we get care givers that have never read an old book like PollyAnna - you're right, it's corny but it works! - to read it? Especially her memories of the missionary barrels arriving with crutches instead of a doll for her and her rejoicing in the fact that no one needed the crutches!


over 3 years ago, said...

These anti-negativity lists are a dime a dozen, and Thee usually gleens nothing from them. However, in Paulas article, there seemed to be one or two nice examples to try and follow. Thee loved #1:"Remember that "always" and "never" sentences are almost never true! Try to banish these words from your vocabulary. They're satisfyingly dramatic but unnecessary downers." Never thought of it that way. These words are indeed " satisfyingly dramatic but unnecessary downers." Trust me, I know. Thee also loved #5 Get a Reality Check. But make sure its from somebody you REALLY trust, someone who wont blab yer innermost issues to others or hold them over or against to. Thee has had this happen. Great advice, but Beware who you trust. Thee also loves #7. Why? Because this is where, in my experience, Thee has to force the negative crap to the side and again force myself to realize I am indeed doing the best Thee can in a crappy situation. Finally, Thee loved #4 "Play the "glad game." I mean, who doesn't love Pollyanna? Take it from the best emotional saboteur Thee knows ( and that would be me): Negative thoughts, actions, etc., are killers, both physically, mentally, emotionally, and most of all Spiritually. They will suck away all yer energy and strength better than an unannounced visit from yer in laws. If yer killing yerself with negative crap, you need a game plan ASAP if not sooner. It's really better to realize this now rather than in a few years, 'cause by then you'll be gulping down anti depressants like they were M&M's along with an sedative chaser. So, nice work Paula. Nice work. Yer Pal Always, Thee Ox


over 3 years ago, said...

Maybe I heard this list before - or something like it - from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy... It was a good reminder. From Positive Psychology I've heard about gratitude (the Pollyanna step). Asking, "Where do I go from here?" is good advice, if one can do it, to take a positive step to "shift your reality toward a slightly better one." Yes, an action however small can initiate a positive momentum. (I think it's touching that you care so much as to have us rate articles, always seeking something ever-more helpful!)


over 3 years ago, said...

This is very good advice,especially for a negative person like me!


almost 4 years ago, said...

That stress can lower the immune system. It is up to us to be positive and always try to find out and make a list of what is going on good in our own life.


over 4 years ago, said...

It's encouraging, it encouraged me to look for the silver lining... They are also useful words to use to encourage someone else...


over 4 years ago, said...

The caretake haven had issues of their own that have been there for years . Now life throws a curve beyond their coping ability of caretaking.


over 4 years ago, said...

Yes, trying to change some of the negative thinking, but, it's hard. Making some lifestyle changes helped a lot.


over 4 years ago, said...

The reminder that "always" and "never" sentences are rarely true was helpful.


over 4 years ago, said...

How bad is it really? Is this really accurate? thanks.....


over 4 years ago, said...

Can't help a negative thought at times....these tips remind you of the mess they create....so better to change the negative to a positive ...


over 4 years ago, said...

Living alone and having your medical appointments (wellness) be the only real reason to leave the house is depressing. Doing a job for 17 years and having the fact that you don't have a Master degree in what you are teaching is depressing. Since you have always been praised for your work and have 100 hours over your Master degree in another area as well as being a Doctoral candidate in another -- getting another degree at 68 years of age makes no sense. I am depressed and almost paralyzed by this depression.


over 4 years ago, said...

I have tried all those things at one time or another, but I found that the best way to change my negative thinking was to play a vigorous game of tennis or some other aerobic exercise. I usually find I can't do it on my own, as I am too distracted. so it is better to do it in the company of others.


over 4 years ago, said...

I seem to worry all the time. Every day every hour there is a concern whether it is money , health , other's health, work that needs to be done, not enough money to pay bills, the grass needs to be cut , my friends all dying around me, my health is not too good, I need a colonoscopy, I need to do a EKG, my wife is not doing well, the kids need more money for school, the car needs a new battery. etc, etc. etc. Is this a condition or is this just life. ?


over 4 years ago, said...

The suggestion that 'you're doing the best you can...'


over 4 years ago, said...

Thanks for the positive quotes will print and keep them at my desk.


over 4 years ago, said...

"I'm glad my legs are broken, glad, glad, glad!" Pollyanna


over 4 years ago, said...

It definitely helps to give yourself a little talking to whenever the negative , depressing thoughts start creeping in. Its working for me!


over 4 years ago, said...

reminded me to do it!