How to Clear Your Mind of Negative Thoughts: What Does Research Say?

Pessimistic thoughts are so harmful that they can integrate into your being and steal your serenity. Releasing these thoughts and emotions can be quite challenging.

To eliminate negative thoughts, you need to adopt a different approach that will aid you in clearing your mind permanently.

So, when you feel anxious and bombarded by negative thoughts, try one of the following activities to clear your mind.

Shift Your Focus

When your thoughts start dragging you down, it’s time to redirect your mind towards something else.

This shift of thoughts is not an evasion of your duties; instead, it’s like taking a brief break from them to gain a new, positive perspective.

Distracting yourself is important to provide the space and time to figure things out and concentrate on something less demanding for a while.

In a 2015 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers observed the concept of “optimal inattention” by manipulating the synchronization of brain waves between different brain areas.

According to the study, the brain could selectively attend to either the foot or the hand, but not both at the same time.

Author Christopher Bergland, derived from the study in Psychology Today, stated, “If you ever find yourself… dwelling on a thought, remember that diversion is a highly effective way to shift the synchronization of your brainwaves and empowers you to ignore on command.”


When you are emotionally drained and unable to stop negative thoughts, exercising becomes a viable option. Despite being physical stress, exercise can help in reducing mental stress.

Harvard Health suggests that aerobic exercise is vital for your mental well-being as much as for your physical health.

Regular aerobic exercise brings remarkable changes to your body, metabolism, heart, and mood. It has a unique ability to uplift and relax, counter depression, and alleviate stress. Clinical trials have successfully used exercise to treat anxiety disorders and clinical depression.

Exercise works by reducing the body’s stress hormones and stimulating the production of endorphins, natural painkillers, and mood elevators.

An Irish study published in the journal Physiology + Behavior in 2011 found that exercise increases the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), contributing to cognitive enhancement.

Additionally, besides its benefits for mental clarity, its positive effects on physical health are undeniable.

Breathing Exercises

Rapid, irregular breathing is a result of tension and stress, while calm, deep, regular breathing indicates relaxation.

According to a study published in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience, slow and regular breathing leads to increased comfort, relaxation, pleasantness, vigor, alertness, and reduced symptoms of arousal, anxiety, depression, anger, and confusion.

Therefore, managing your breathing to induce relaxation will lead to a calming effect.

Try Deep Breathing:

  • Breathe in gently and deeply through your nose, focusing on your stomach rising.
  • Hold your breath for 4 seconds.
  • Exhale and feel relaxation for 6 seconds, you can exhale through pursed lips.
  • Repeat this sequence 5 to 10 times, concentrating on gentle and deep breathing.

This is an excellent way to alleviate anxiety, and it can be done anytime, anywhere.

Write It Down

According to Harvard Health Blog, expressing emotions in writing can reduce anxiety and stress.

Writing helps people organize their thoughts and make sense of their experiences, which is an important aspect of dealing with traumatic events.

Writing is healing as it allows you to articulate and comprehend your emotions. Journaling provides a safe space to express your troubling emotions without the fear of judgment.

If you are unsure how to start journaling, begin by exploring three questions:

  • How am I feeling?
  • What am I doing?
  • What am I trying to change in my life?

These questions can offer insights into your emotions and help you contemplate the future.

Journaling what you want to improve gives you the power to change your life. Recognizing that you hold the keys to creating a fulfilling life is empowering.

Connect with Nature

Spending time in nature, or “forest bathing,” has been found to be beneficial in reducing stress.

Nature can be advantageous for mental health, as it reduces cognitive fatigue, stress, and can help with depression and anxiety, according to Irina Wen, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at NYU Langone Medical Center.

“It reduces cognitive fatigue and stress and can be helpful with depression and anxiety,” said Irina Wen.

Moreover, time in green spaces has been linked to reduced stress levels, as demonstrated by a study on city dwellers’ mental health.

Stress hormones, respiration, heart rate, and sweating all decrease when exposed to nature, even in short durations.

Try to take walks or spend time in nature. You can also practice breathing exercises while doing so.

If you have other stress-reducing methods, feel free to share them in the comments section below. We hope this article will be beneficial for you.

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  1. Guest

    The reader may find this text helpful and informative as it provides insights into clearing the mind of negative thoughts based on research findings. They may appreciate the scientific approach, as it adds credibility to the suggested techniques. The reader might be interested in learning more about the specific research studies mentioned in the text to better understand the effectiveness of the suggested strategies. Overall, the reader may feel motivated to apply these techniques in their own life to improve their mental well-being.