The Need to Get Rid Of Negative Thinking
Negative thinking can darken even the sunniest day. It can dampen your spirits on the happiest day, and it can have you finding the bad in the best situation.
What is Negative Thinking
Expecting failure, assuming betrayal, seeing the downside when others don’t, or thinking the worst – they all provide a type of insurance policy for the negative thinker. After all, with negative thinking you are never going to be disappointed because you expect the worst from the very beginning.
Negative thinking also let’s you play the “I told you so,” game. For some people, it can be more important to be right in their negative predictions than to see a good outcome and thereby be wrong.
The Impact of Thinking Negtaively
Negative thinking is a pretty good predictor of how likely you are to become depressed and/or suffer from numerous illnesses later in life. That doesn’t mean thinking negatively causes illness but it certainly plays a role. When you think negatively you stop trying or you give up sooner when you do try. So it directly influences outcome, as it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Negative thinking can become a habit or it can simply be that someone lacks courage, because it can take a lot of courage to stay positive through some of life’s setbacks.
How to Stop Negative Thinking
Great, so it becomes pretty evident that we should try hard to stop negative thinking and begin to make positive thinking part of your goal. Here are some ways to stop the negative thinking process in its tracks.
#1 No More Thinking in Extremes
It would be nice if life really was black or white, but it isn’t for the most part. However, negative thinking means you are much more likely to view things that are bad in the extreme. So bad becomes horrible.
For example, rather than thinking you’ll not do really good on your test you think you’ll completely fail. Another example, rather than thinking that your new business is going to struggle a bit, you think you’ll fail and be ruined.
When you have an all or nothing attitude, you miss out on all the shades of gray. Instead, you see only failures, catastrophes, and disasters in your future. The first step to thinking positive is to start to see gray shades. For example, rather than thinking you’ll fail completely you think you’ll fail in some parts; or rather than thinking your business venture will ruin you, you think that there will be times of struggle.
#2 Stop Minimizing the Positive
Negative thinking will stop you from seeing the positive even when it is staring you right in the face. It is as if you have a big blotter that stamps out the positives and magnifies the negatives. Instead, get into the habit of thinking differently and seeing any setback as only temporary rather than permanent. If you find yourself thinking negatively, minimize it with a positive thought.
#3 Stop Mind Reading
Negative thinking interferes with our ability to relax because of the uncertainty that surrounds us. This can cause you to play mind reading games. For example:
- She only said that so that I’d feel better
- He doesn’t like me that’s why she hasn’t called me back
When you assign meaning to everything that happens, or rather doesn’t happen in your life, you start to jump to conclusions and those conclusions are negative. If you take on a more positive outlook with our examples, you would now think
- She said that because she was being nice
- You would think he hasn’t called because he forgot her phone
You get the idea, you can see the difference – you are no longer putting a negative spin on explanations for events or occurrences
#4 Stop Putting all the Responsibility on Your Shoulders
When things go well negative thinkers will put the credit on someone else, yet when things go bad they will be quick to take responsibility making it their own fault, even when it isn’t. You internalize it all and blame yourself. You need to look at how much control you really had over the outcome
#5 Stopping Creating Your Own Life Rules
Negative thinkers like to make up their own rules that apply to life and while we should certainly have expectations for ourselves and our lives, we need to flexible and realistic. When you create your own life rules, you set yourself up for failure and being let down. For example:
- ‘People shouldn’t act like that.’
- ‘If she loved me, she wouldn’t do that.’
- ‘My medical tests aren’t back so that means the news is bad.’
#6 Quit Making Stuff Up and Then Making it Your Truth
Your imagination can be wonderful when you use it right, but when you use it to scare yourself needlessly you are really doing yourself a disservice. Stop imagining things and then turning that into your truth by believing what you have imagined. Negative thinking combined with your imagination simply leads to false truths.
Stopping negative thinking will take time and some effort on your part. Incorporating these six tips into your life will help you to make that change
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