Book Review: How to stop negative thoughts by Barbara Ireland


Do you ever find yourself stuck because of your thoughts? Are you constantly thinking about something that already happened? Do you replay that event in your mind? Or are constantly worrying about all the things that might happen in the future? Do you feel that you are not experiencing enough of life? Do you feel like there is something holding you back from all the success and happiness that you want to experience?


If you said yes to any of these questions, you may suffer because of your negative thoughts. Maybe you already know this but do not know what to do about it. Or maybe you never realized it, but you believe you may be more negative than you like. If this is the case, let me tell you that you can change that. You can learn how to disrupt and overcome your negative thoughts. And you start by reading the book How To Stop Negative Thoughts: What My Near-Death-Experience Taught Me About Mind Loops, Neuroscience, and Happiness by Barbara Ireland.


What is the book about?

In this book, Barbara Ireland talks about the impact negative thinking can have on us. She uses the term mind loop to refer to “repetitive, negative thoughts, worries, fears and emotions”. According to her, many people struggle with this. Researchers believe that about 70% of the thoughts most people have in a single day are negative. However, Barbara became aware of her mind loops only in a near-death experience. She shares her story, telling us how this experience made her more aware of her thoughts and their importance.


The author tells us that her negative thoughts often kept her from enjoying her life while also keeping her from following her dreams. However, she adds that this is a problem many people face – including successful and famous people. She quotes celebrities likes Meryl Streep, Will Smith and Madonna. She goes on to say that nobody is immune to mind loops. However, by taking action, we can learn how to better control our minds and ultimately our lives.


She talks about 4 steps we can take to stop mind loops from wreaking havoc on us:

  1. Detect – detecting the negative things we keep saying to ourselves
  2. Detach – letting go of those negative thoughts, choosing not to identify with them
  3. Detour – choosing to focus on something else
  4. De-story – deciding to tell ourselves a different, more positive story about us and our lives


Applying some of the techniques described in the book can give us the power to disrupt our negative thoughts. Once we do that, we can re-channel our energy and creativity towards something that will have a positive impact on us.


Why would you read this book?

I would recommend this book if you struggle with depression, stress, worry, anxiety and failure. All these might be cause by your negative thoughts alone. You may want to blame circumstances or other people, but your problem might only exist in your mind. If that’s the case: rejoice! The solution is also in your mind. Learning how to change the story you tell yourself every day is within your power. You can slowly “reprogram” your mind to experience more happiness and success in your life.


If you have no idea how to start becoming more positive, this book can help. It is easy to read and understand. And the best part is that it include practical advice you can start applying today!


What have I learnt from this book?

I started reading books about negativity because I needed to. A few weeks ago I realized that my negative thoughts were slowly, but surely, ruining my life. It was something I failed to notice in all the 26 years of my life. And when I finally understood that this attitude might be the only real reason why I am not living my dream life, I knew I needed to act. And fact. The problem was that I had no idea where to start. So…I made a list of books about negativity and I picked this one.


I’m glad that I started with this book since it provided me with what I needed. I understood that negativity is a trait we all have – as if it were part of our DNA. This was shocking and a bit encouraging. The more I was reading from this book, the better I felt. And I think that this is perhaps the greatest thing I got by reading this book. It made me feel normal and it helped me accept this dark side of me. It made me realized that I’m not the only one struggling. And it also gave me hope.


The biggest insight I got from this book is this: For some reason, I’ve always wanted to be happy but I believed that I did not deserve that. I realized this because the author, Barbara said she once asked a patient a question during a therapy session. The question was: “Are you ready to be happy?”. When I read that question, I asked myself if I was ready to be happy. And I cringed as I admitted to myself that I had not been ready for this. But as I kept reading and reading, I started to believe that I, as much as you, deserve to experience happiness.


Something that I loved about the book is that I provides us with simple techniques we can apply to detect and control our negative thoughts. No matter how much we understand the way our brains work, nothing changes if we do actually do something! Once I understood that overcoming negative thoughts was possible and manageable, I felt reborn. I felt hopeful, excited and confident about the future again. If the only thing you gain by reading this book is a sense of excitement or faith, I’d say this is worth reading!


Something I did not like about the book

As much as this book helped me, it is not the perfect book. Actually, no book may be perfect after all. I think this might be the only thing I disliked about it: typos. I have spotted a few of them in the book and this caught my attention. There are only a few of them, I’ll be honest. I wanted to mention this because I do not want you to stop reading the book when you notice the first one. The book can still be useful, so do not drop it just because of this! 😊


Something else that I noticed is that the author mentions there are 9 steps we can take to overcome negativity and enjoy life more. However, she only talks about the first 4 in this book. We can find out about the other 5 steps in online courses or through mentoring. Honestly, I would have liked to read about all the steps in one book. However, the information included in the book can be enough to make a difference in your life.


My favourite quote

“The thing is, it’s very hard for happiness to coexist with repetitive negative thoughts. But when you change your thoughts, you transform. You’ll look and feel lighter. You’ll start attracting people into your life who lift you up instead of put you down. You’ll get more done because you won’t be wasting time looping on situations you can’t control, or on grievances from the past.”


10-word summary

Say no to negative thoughts, say yes to true happiness.


You can find the book on Amazon here. Check out a preview below!

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