Negative thoughts can be thought from time to time. However, if negative thinking has become habitual, then it can prevent us from living from a place of true wellness and mental rest. Our thoughts are powerful for our overall happiness and experience of life. When we dwell on negative thoughts for too long they can change our emotions as well as our behaviours. In fact, we can even find that our negative thinking becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. What we feared would happen can turn out to be the case just by way of natural gravitation towards that particular outcome. Saying that, negative experiences happen to all without any input from us, but it can be our perspective which determines how that experience will ultimately affect us and our health.
Why Negative Thinking is toxic to our health
Sometimes negative thinking can be subconscious – you may not be aware that you are thinking a particular way. This is often due to the fact that thinking negatively has become a habit and a learned behaviour often passed down from our parents. It can be especially difficult to identify subconscious negative thinking. This is where some honest self-evaluation comes in.
Research has started to suggest that negative thinking can actually be toxic to our brain cells, causing inflammation and permanent damage. This has been suggested to lead to mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression as well as other brain conditions. This finding that suggests that thoughts actually cause release of toxic neurochemicals in our brain is a frightening one.
It is important to identify if we have established conscious or subconscious patterns of negative thinking and to break these before they break our spirits and our well-being. Sometimes, especially if we have hit rock bottom, we need extra help in the form of cognitive behaviour therapy delivered by a counsellor. As the name suggests this type of therapy looks to address how our negative thinking has impacted.
Some Negative Thought Patterns
Mind reading You think that you know what other people are thinking. Usually, you believe they think badly of you. You never check to see what they really think. Try thinking the opposite. Assume everyone thinks well of you.
Fortune telling You predict the way things will turn out in the future. Usually, you think things will go badly for you. Try imagining a positive outcome. Assume everything will work out well.
Exaggerating You exaggerate your mistakes and other people’s successes. You think you are hopeless and will never be as good as anyone else. Look at the facts. Everyone has good and bad qualities. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes and gets some things right. Remember that that includes you.
Tunnel vision You focus on one bad thing and forget all the good things. You see one bad quality in yourself and ignore your good qualities. Expand your view. Write a list of the good things. Spend some time thinking about them for a change.
The Ultimate Cure for Negative Thinking is Gratitude
One of the best ways I find to break negative thinking patterns is to write a gratitude list every day. By writing, say, the top five things you are grateful for in your life at the start of the day you will find that you will begin the day in a better frame of mind. After all, we have so much to be grateful for but many times we do not stop to appreciate these things.