Tips for Negative Thinkers

What I wish I’d known sooner


Did you know that the human brain is naturally drawn towards a negative thinking pattern to protect us from danger?
So developing mental health issues is completely natural, but even if it is a natural part of being human, we still need to find ways to combat our minds against these thoughts and feelings.
I’m sure you’re all aware of the steps to maintain a happier and healthier mind, like balancing sleep, eating well, connecting with others, regular exercise, practising mindfulness and being weary of drink and drugs.
But what are the small steps in between to achieve this?


Challenging your negative thoughts
The exercise below will train your brain to think more positively. Write down any negative thoughts, and then change it with a realistic or alternative thought. Below is an example:
Realistic/alternative thoughts
What if I don’t do well on my assignment?
I don’t know this really. If I do fail, I can learn from what I did wrong to improve on the next assignment. There’s no point in worrying about it now.


Here’s a few ways to get you started on challenging your bad thoughts
  • what evidence is there that this thought is true?
  • am I just assuming things?
  • is this the only possible explanation?
  • is this completely true all the time?
  • if I wasn’t feeling bad, how would I feel about the situation?
  • are there other strengths and positives I’m ignoring?


Now replace these thoughts with an alternative
  • what is an alternative thought?
  • have I considered both sides of the story?
  • do I have all the facts?
  • what would I tell a friend to make them feel better?
  • or what would a friend tell me?


There are plenty of resources available at Sheffield Hallam to help improve your mental wellbeing. These range from group sessions, to online self help guides, to volunteering or exercising in your spare time.
Make sure you check the The HUBS websitePreviously there have been volunteering days for the RSPCA, Zumba and mental wellness workshops (to name a few).
If you’d like to know more about what support is available, please visit the Student Wellbeing website. It has resources you can access at home or within the University, as well as help for specific mental illnesses and group wellbeing sessions. 


Thanks for reading and good luck!