How Can Negative Thinking Have A Lasting Impact On Your Mindset And Happiness?
“There are always flowers for those who want to see them”; This quote came from the famous French
painter, Henri Matisse and conceptualizes in just a sentence the meaning and the importance of a positive mindset.
Surely, some periods in our lives can be gloomy and at times we may suffer from many adversities life thrusts upon us.
But do we have to stay stuck in negative thinking, become pessimistic, and obliterate the good things that still exist in our life, or miss the lessons we can learn from our mishaps?
Definitely no. Having a negative outlook on life doesn’t only deprive us of joy and happiness but can be detrimental to our overall well-being. Here is what focusing on the bad stuff creates and how you can change it.
The Ripple Effect of Negative Thinking
How does negative thinking impact your life?
To start with, negative thinking refers to a thinking pattern with strong negative undertones concerning yourself and your environment be it the people you interact with or the situations you find yourself into.
While anyone can have negative thoughts now and then, – it’s absolutely natural – negative thinking is more of an integral part of personality.
Something like second nature. Thus, it can have a severe impact on the way you see yourself and others resulting in making life difficult to bear and affecting your mental and physical health.
Negative thinkers are more prone to get sick, become depressed or lose friends because of their constant pessimistic projections of the future.
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How is negative thinking created?
There are many reasons why someone may have adopted that kind of mindset:
1. Past trauma
The most common reason though usually comes from past trauma. People who have suffered abuse or happened to experience sudden and very painful incidents in their life (e.g. loss of a loved one, severe accidents, etc.) – especially during childhood – tend to develop a more pessimistic view of life as adults.
It’s like a coping mechanism. Their mind is always prepared for the worse, expects the worse, and is constantly in survival mode.
Another reason for gravitating towards negative thinking may be the way you grew up.
Maybe you were raised by a judgmental or narcissistic parent or your caregivers didn’t know how to cope with their own issues and their problems in life resulting in teaching you to think negatively about yourself and others.
Maybe your mom gossiped or your father found a fault in everything. Whatever the case, you were nourished in a way that taught you to think negatively of yourself and your surroundings.
3. Self-esteem issues
People who always focus on the bad either within themselves or on their environment usually experience self-esteem issues and issues of unworthiness.
It goes somehow like this: let’s say you are a woman who is a little bit overweight.
If you suffer from low self-esteem you may be reluctant to go for a swim at the pool or the beach, attend a party because you may think that everyone will look at your body and make fun of you.
Or you will tend to compare yourself with your thin friends and always fall short.
So, you may start hiding your figure behind dark colors and loosely fitted clothes, excluding yourself from social gatherings, and staying home binging on Netflix and eating!
Which of course traps you in a vicious cycle.
4. Depression and mental illness
Negative thinking can also stem from depression, an anxiety disorder, or other mental issues such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. If that is the case before starting to take some steps on your own toward changing your focus to more positive thoughts,, it’s important that you seek medical advice first.
Read On To Discover 5 Top Tips That Can Help Combat Negative Thinking And Stop the Cycle
How can you eradicate negative thinking?
Well, the answer is easy in theory but more difficult in practice: you start being conscious of your negative thoughts, replace them with positive ones and take relevant positive actions. You can get started right away with the following five top tips:
1. Let go of perfectionism
Perfectionism and negative thinking usually go hand in hand. Chasing after perfection is not only counterproductive but also deprives you of the joy of your accomplishments.
So remember that you don’t have to be perfect but you should always try to become a better version of yourself.
2. Acknowledging your strong points
As people, we tend to focus on our shortcomings and forget our good qualities and our small or big victories.
So, a good way to get rid of that negative mentality is to start listing your strong points and successes and be proud of yourself.
We are not talking about arrogance here, but about recognizing that you have things to be proud of and should not go by unnoticed.
3. Keep a gratitude journal
You can’t begin to imagine the effectiveness of this tip unless you try it first. So, every morning write down ten things you are grateful for in your life.
They can be from your shiny hair and your sincerity to that “well done” you heard from your boss the other day or the politely served dinner you had with your fiancé last night.
It can be anything. Pretty soon you will be writing a whole page and more.
4. Pray or Meditate
Meditation is the best way to fight negativity because it helps you gain control of your mind and silence that inner critic who constantly mumbles in your head.
What’s more, it calms you and brings your focus to the current moment.
5. Focus on the good of others
Once you start to notice your good qualities do the same for the people you interact with. Everyone has at least one good thing to recognize and mention.
It could be the way your colleague dresses, your husband’s humor, or the kindness of that taxi driver that brought you safely to your home.
Abstaining from judgmental remarks and gossiping and replacing them with praise and sincere compliments will shift your energy and make you a more pleasant person to be around.
Reframing Negative Thinking for a Brighter Tomorrow
Stepping-Out of the negativity spiral
Training your brain to replace negative thoughts with positive ones is not something that can be done overnight or with a click of a button.
It requires a conscious will to change your focus and back up that will with appropriate positive actions.
Having a helping hand in this new journey of yours can accelerate your progress.
And that’s what I have to offer you with my Free Guide Discover Your Positivity: Finding the Missing Piece of the Happiness Puzzle
Download it now with just a click and you will arm yourself with valuable resources and tools in your toolbox to help you turn your mind from a foe to a friend.