Why negativity dominates your everyday thoughts and what you can do about it

By Merilee A. Kern 6 Minutes Read

We’ve all been there, caught in the grip of pessimism when life just doesn’t seem to be going the way we want it to. For the lucky few, this all-natural, though unsettling, feeling of ebb and flow eventually resolves into a more balanced, healthier frame of mind. For unlucky others, however, the extreme negative thoughts and ideas can overwhelm – even “become who they are”. At worst, it can be fatal, as a peer-reviewed study found that “people who are highly pessimistic about the future are at greater risk of dying earlier than those who are not pessimists.”

It turns out that we as humans may be built for negativity, turning us into our own worst enemy. This, as other research casts doubt on the so-called optimism bias, disproves the idea that some people inherently “see” life through rose-colored glasses. It’s an unfortunate loss of opportunity, as another study found that optimism was associated with “exceptional longevity.”

“Thoughts are powerful things, and both the positive and the negative drive our moods, our physiological symptoms, and our behavior,” says clinical psychologist Monica Vermani, author of A Deeper Wellness: Conquering Stress, Mood, Anxiety and Traumas. “While we sometimes feel like we’re not, we’re the ones who control our thoughts. We can’t just choose: what we think of buthowwe are thinking about it.”

Vermani says we need to learn to actually challenge our cognitive distortions and negative thoughts, and ask ourselves how real or accurate they are. “We must question and examine the correctness of our distorted ways of seeing reality and replace them with more accurate, adaptive, realistic and uplifting thoughts that motivate us to strive to act and be the highest and best version of ourselves. “, she says. † “We can choose to reinforce healthy, rather than harmful, choices, habits and behaviors.”

But it looks like we won’t cross that road unimpeded. According to Digital.com marketing and small business expert Dennis Consorte, it is inevitable that we think negatively because we are surrounded by it as a society. “The media sensationalizes stories to generate clicks and views,” he says mournfully. “Negative people often project their negativity onto the rest of us, both personally and through social media. When this happens, it’s best to focus on those things you can control to get the positive results you want.”

Consorte recommends reformulating the strategy when a negative thought arises. “For example, if you’re at work and you’re completing two of the five important tasks, you might have a negative thought like, ‘I’m so far behind and still have so much to do.’ Instead, rephrase it as something like, “I’ve already completed two of the five important tasks today. I can get through the rest.’”

Choosing to reformulate negative, maladjusted thoughts and rewrite them as positive ones is an approach Vermani also advocates for taking control. Sometimes this click of a perception switch is all it takes to shift one’s disposition in a more constructive direction.

Negative thoughts and chronic pessimism can also stem from many triggers well beyond the stressors we currently live in, including self-destructive patterns and even unresolved childhood experiences and traumas that evolve to inform perceptions and hinder personal growth.

According to transformational guide Jaime Haas, it is downright crucial to identify harmful circumstances that were instilled before the rational mind was even formed in early adolescence, and to extrapolate and understand how those situations likely formed patterns that could limit one’s current life.

Vermani agrees that negativity can be the result of deep-seated childhood experiences that stay with us into adulthood. “Thoughts are shaped from our childhood and experiences/blueprints,” she says, “roles modeled by loved ones, society, community, and the media; and are derived from the life experiences we judge and label as positive and negative: our struggles, challenges, achievements, victories, gains and losses – everything life offers us.’

“There are many components involved in moving your life forward in meaningful ways,” Haas says, “such as setting goals and learning new skills. It’s like driving a car. There are about 30,000 or more moving parts that need to be done.” to keep your car on the road Negative thought patterns are like the Check Engine Light on your car that keeps blinking but you have only a vague idea of ​​what’s causing it Or you may not notice the light at all – until the car sputters or completely turns off.’

Haas says negative thoughts dominate thinking simply because of who you are and how you operate as an individual. That negative thinking can also be based on how adept you are — or not — at achieving goals and getting what you want out of life.

Whatever the impulse, negative thoughts are thankfully manageable.

Hass says Negative Manifestation Compulsion (NMC) is controllable. She says NMC often appears as a sequence of negative thoughts that follow closely together, reinforce each other, and ultimately lead you away from, rather than toward, your goals. These thoughts consume the mindshare and continue until you spiral downward, seemingly unable to stop.

“We spend a lot of time in our heads, reliving negative experiences from our past, and imagining and predicting worst-case scenarios and outcomes,” Vermani says. “We often do this to prevent something from happening to us. But all this reliving and repeating negative past events—and predicting impending disastrous outcomes—are just thoughts in our heads. The past is in the past and the future is just our imagination. We can choose what we think about, how we act and react in the present, and predict positive rather than negative outcomes. The choice is ours to make.”

There are a few soft skills that can apparently help or hinder us along the way. According to Haas, negative manifestation often finds its basis in a lack of focus, drive, direction or planning. Smaller negative manifestations act as a warning of the bigger ones to come, unless you take positive action to stop the process, rather than fall back on past patterns that undermine optimism. You have the ability to observe a negative thought objectively, without judgment, and then choose to let it go and strategically replace it – with thoughts of gratitude, visualizations of past success or moments of joy, reciting affirmations that resonate and other such mindfulness activities that can stop a negative manifestation episode in its tracks.

“Many self-help ‘gurus’ offer one-sided advice,” Haas says. “They claim positive affirmations are the key to solving our problems, but I’m here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. Optimism needs an authentic foundation to be maintained, realized and certainly sustained. I’ve found that the most helpful, beneficial practice is one that’s prescriptive, where you directly identify and address the root causes or triggers of your anxiety, and fundamentally change the relationship you have with your inner thoughts and self-perceptions.

Vermani offers a few other relatively easy ways to gain control over negative thoughts. First and foremost, she suggests surrounding yourself with people who empower, support, and inspire you, lift you up, and help you see the good in life’s challenges. This includes minimizing sources of stress by setting healthy limits around exposure to critical, combative and negative people, as well as the endless news cycles. She also recommends actively and unitedly letting go of negative self-perceptions, limiting beliefs, thoughts that you’re not good enough, and conditions you impose on yourself to be happy.

Continuing with the car metaphor, perhaps tackling negative thinking is akin to a car inspection, so you need to identify all the problematic mechanisms that keep you trapped in your negative thoughts. Whatever isn’t working well needs to be proactively addressed and completely resolved to ensure safe passage. In general, locating destructive patterns from our past may just be the “ignition key” that will start your optimism engine and help you get on the road to the life you want and deserve.

Merilee KernMBA, founder of TheLuxeList.com, is an internationally acclaimed brand analyst and strategist. She is a member of the Forbes Business Council, Newsweek Expert Forum and Rolling Stone Culture Council.

This post Why negativity dominates your everyday thoughts and what you can do about it was original published at “https://www.fastcompany.com/90754266/a-psychologist-explains-why-negativity-dominates-your-daily-thoughts-and-what-to-do-about-it?partner=rss&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=rss+fastcompany&utm_content=rss”

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