09/19/2014 07:08 pm ET Updated Nov 19, 2014

5 Ways to Quiet Your Negative Thoughts

Robert Daly via Getty Images

Does your mind sometimes dwell on all that seems wrong in the world, in your world? Do your negative thoughts build on each other, taking way too much space away from the positive? If so, you're not alone. 

Negative thoughts have some serious power. If you're not careful, they can take hold of your mind and influence way too much of your life. So be careful, and conscious. You've got some serious power too, especially over your thoughts!

Life isn't always a party, and it doesn't serve you to ignore your pain. Neither does it serve you to dwell in and on the negative aspects of your life. Be active in your approach to stopping these sometimes endless loops of negative thinking.

It's time to shake up your thoughts with some concrete action. It's time to get out of your head, into the world outside of yourself.

Here are some tips for distracting your mind away from the negative, so some positive thoughts and feelings have an opportunity to slip in. These ideas can't replace healing whatever is causing all the negative thinking, but they will help to instill more positivity into your life, and that helps with all healing.

Move your body:
I'm a sucker for a good booty shake and will take any opportunity to dance. Dancing takes me out of my head, and that's the goal here. Do yoga, take a walk, go to the gym, spin around in circles. Just move your body. Putting the focus of your energy in your body pulls it away from your mind, from the negative thoughts taking root there. Let some endorphins surge for a while. Work up a sweat if you can. The key is in movement. Action over thought.

Write it down:
Yes, writing is a mental exercise and will bring you closer to your negative thoughts, but only until you write them down. I recommend using pen and paper, vomiting all the darkness and pain onto the pages, and then tearing them up or burning them when you're done. Writing can be extremely cathartic, and it releases the negative in a tangible way.

Help someone out:
There are always people in need. Maybe one friend needs help painting the living room, or another could use a babysitter every once in a while. Surely there are any number of volunteer opportunities in your area, where you can make a direct and positive difference in the lives of others. A great way to get out of your head is to get active with people and organizations who can use your help. There are few things as fulfilling as being of service to someone who needs it. Talk about a reason for positive thoughts!

Turn off the news:
Watching the news can devastate even the most committed Pollyanna, let alone those of us struggling with negative thinking. Take a break. Turn it off. The last thing you need to be watching or reading about right now is war and murder and all of the other horrors that dominate the news. If you love news, seek out the good stuff. Search for positive stories, and share them. Read about the beautiful things human beings are doing, for each other and for the planet. Let good news take up residence where all the bad news has been hanging out.

This is the easiest one on the list. Put a conscious effort into smiling more. At home alone or out in the streets, at friends and strangers. Even if you're not feeling it, show some teeth. You really can smile your way out of negativity, because the energy a smile invites back to you is almost always positive. The same goes for laughter, so if your incessant smiling turns into a hearty laugh, just roll with it. You're straying even farther from your negative thoughts.

It's important to remember that a negative thought, like everything else, is just energy. We have the power to shift our energy, and to change our thoughts. Within this power lives the potential to change our lives. But it takes work. It takes action.

The next time you find yourself dwelling in the negative, try one of the above suggestions to help you shift yourself into the positive. Because as powerful as negative thinking can be, positive thinking is that much mightier.