- Elon Musk, Investor & Entrepreneur
As humans, it is in our nature to look for the bad in most situations. Finding something to complain about feels like the natural thing to do when faced with life’s inevitable problems. What we fail to realize a lot of the time is that these negative thought patterns are dictating our reactions to future situations.
It can be challenging to re-wire your brains to stop focusing on the negative aspects of everything, but it is a necessary task you must achieve to stop negative thoughts from controlling and dictating your life. To do so, you must stop believing that these negative thoughts are real and think instead that they are lying to you.
WHAT CAUSES NEGATIVE THINKING?
Negative thinking is often a product of chronic stress, depression, or insecurity. Certain traits, such as your childhood, life events, and career, can have a direct correlation on your negative thoughts as well. Like many things, negative thinking can quickly become a persistent habit in your day-to-day life. Once it begins, the neural pathways in your brain start to encourage sadness and negativity.
Constant negative tendencies are known to rewire the brain to distort the truth and make it extremely difficult to break the habit. Fortunately, patterns can be broken with hard work and dedication. Most experts say the process of entirely breaking a habit takes around 30 days.
The most prevalent question is how, exactly, do you stop the cycle of cynical thinking when it is so deeply embedded in your brain? There are multiple ways to do it, but the most successful method often involves combining them.
Just as negative thinking creates neural pathways in the brain, positive reinforcement and self-talk can become a habit that is more welcomed and appreciated. In order to know when you need to start breaking the habit, you need to be able to recognize the ways that negative thinking can manifest itself:
- Hostility towards others
- Only noticing the bad in what should be good situations
- Jumping to conclusions
- Believing that negativity is inevitable
- Thinking that you’ll only be happy once a situation or person changes
THE TOXICITY OF NEGATIVE THINKING
Everybody has an inner critic that is frequently in the back of their minds. At times, this voice can be helpful, but the voice is way more harmful most of the time. When it gets in the realm of negative thinking patterns, it can seriously bring a person down. Negative self-talk creates unwanted stress and anxiety for no logical reason.
When negative thinking overpowers your thought patterns, it affects how you perform at work, slows down your personal goals, and can harm your relationships with your loved ones. These poorly-managed emotions only manifest more negativity into multiple aspects of your life.
These thought patterns can also take a toll on your physical health. When your body is attempting to ward off stress, it often results in a constant mode of ‘fight or flight’. Extended periods of this state of panic has been shown to slow digestion, decrease your immune system’s ability to fight inflammation, and cause extreme headaches.
OVERCOMING NEGATIVE THOUGHT PATTERNS
In order to offset the tendency to dwell on negative thinking, you must learn to notice and enhance positive thoughts. By recognizing emotions such as joy, love, gratitude, and peacefulness, your brain’s positivity will become heightened and soon overpower the negative thoughts.
Of course, this is much easier said than done. However, integrating small practices into your everyday life is certainly a step in the right direction. Happiness and positivity are choices that we must make every day to enhance the quality of our lives. Luckily, there are multiple methods to get rid of constant negative thinking.
A critical factor in becoming more positive is learning to recognize what is real and what is not. Your brain has ways of making negativity seem like accurate information; when realistically, your thoughts are skewed by unhealthy self-talk. It is crucial to see the good in the world more than the bad. When you train your brain to see positivity in situations, it will become easier to become optimistic in the future.
Surrounding yourself with positive people is a great way to become more positive yourself. When you are around people that have a cold, your chances of catching a cold are increased. The same concept applies to positivity. Being around people who speak and act through positive emotions will help you see positivity in your own life.
MAKE A CONSCIOUS DECISION EVERYDAY
Most of your brain’s negative thoughts are formed by habit and inevitably manifest themselves in your daily thinking patterns. A crucial way to offset this habit is to become intentional about your mental outlook. A positive attitude is an active choice you must make as soon as you wake up for the day.
You attract what your brain focuses on. If you are constantly dwelling on the negative factors of day-to-day life, they will only become more apparent. Instead, shift your focus to seeing positivity, and it will begin to multiply.
Unless you know what triggers your negative thoughts, you can’t completely ward them off. When you notice negativity popping up in your mind, figure out where they stem from and solve the root of the problem. With self-awareness, you can identify the problem and make conscious choices to shift your perspective.
Becoming a more positive person is a crucial step in forming a healthier lifestyle. Not only will you be doing yourself a favor, but your personal goals and relationships will begin to improve significantly.
It may seem daunting at first, but turning negative thinking into complete positivity is doable and necessary. Once you start seeing positivity manifest itself in your life, the process becomes more comfortable and much more appreciated.
Stay up to date
Want to know anything else?
We’re an open book so hit us up if we’ve missed anything here or if there’s something else you’d like to know.
Thought leaders & celebrities share their tactics for success on the Lisnic podcast by Lisa Teh & Nick Bell