Be wise enough to let go of the negativity inside you.
“I know my negativity kills me, so why do I think like this?”
You wouldn’t believe how many emails Angel and I receive every day that contain a similar question. Thankfully, we have answers.
Over the past decade we’ve coached thousands of people who were struggling with various forms of self-inflicted negativity, and we’ve learned a lot by helping them get their thoughts straight.
Thinking ‘the worst,’ expecting catastrophic failure and betrayal, seeing problems where others don’t, and even seeing positives as negatives – all convey a kind of emotional insurance policy. “If I expect the worst, then I won’t be disappointed if and when it happens.”
Can you relate in any way?
Another negative thinking trap that can mess with us is the ‘I told you so’ syndrome. For some people, it can feel more important to be proved right in their negative predictions than to have good things happen (and therefore be proved ‘wrong’).
Before I get too positive about negativity though, here’s a thought: The habit of thinking negatively doesn’t just predict how likely someone is to become depressed, but also predicts how likely they are to suffer from all sorts of other diseases and disorders later on in life. I’m not suggesting that negative thinking alone creates disease, but it certainly doesn’t help.
In this post we’re going to look at what you can do to stop thinking negatively. But first, let’s examine a super-common mistake negative people tend to make:
Negative people are often proud to describe themselves as ‘realists.’ Of course, anyone who holds a strong belief thinks they are being ‘realistic’ by holding it, whether it involves UFO encounters or perfectly truthful politicians.
The ‘being more realistic’ declaration is a favorite of cynics everywhere. And in a way they are correct. But only because negative thinking causes us not to try – or if we do try, to do it half-heartedly and give up sooner – so the negativity itself influences our outcomes. Self-fulfilling predictions like this really do happen. Research has even found that in some cases what we believe about our health can have more bearing on how long we live than our actual health.
What makes all of this so scary is the fact that it means negative thoughts can plague us even when things seem to be going relatively well. For instance, the thought “It’s too good to last!” quickly wrecks havoc on a positive situation. Thus, my first tip has to do with how negative thinking distorts our perception…
1. Stop thinking in extremes.
Life simply isn’t black or white – 100% of this or 100% of that – all or nothing. Thinking in extremes like this is [Read more…]