WHAT IS NEGATIVE THINKING
We all experience some form of negative thinking whether it be pessimistic views, worries, defensiveness, doubt or anxiety. It is the severity of these thoughts; their frequency; and how they manifest which impacts our state of mind and our ability to live the life we want.
HOW NEGATIVE THINKING MANIFESTS
Negative thinking develops with the collection of negative thoughts and images which are reinforced by unmanageable emotions.
How do we know if we are thinking negatively?
There are different ways of thinking which are unhelpful and just don’t get us anywhere.
Here are a few:
Polarised Thinking “What’s the point in taking part, I’m only going to lose”
Thinking in black and white, there are only two choices, right or wrong, good or bad. We create a self-fulfilling prophecy shown with the use of words like “always” or “never”.
Over Generalising “Since this went wrong everything went wrong”
Drawing conclusions using not specific enough evidence or information and not taking into consideration all the facts.
Mental filter “I never get anything right”
Focusing on a single negative detail to the exclusion of all others. An example would be to only see the hardest part of a task or project, removing any recognition of what you are looking forward to or what the benefits of the outcome will be.
Dismissing the positive “Nothing good happens to me”
Belittling or disqualifying our positive experiences and compliments to maintain negative thoughts on oneself.
Should & Must “If only I had … then I could…”
Placing rigid and absolute demands on oneself, events and others. An internal pressure to be perfect.
Jumping to conclusions
Drawing negative conclusions without having the facts to support them
- Mind reading “she must think”
- Predicting the future “Something bad is going to happen”
Magnifying or Minimising “I can’t handle this”
Exaggerating somethings and reducing the importance of others.
Emotional reasoning / Labelling and mislabelling “I got a bad mark in that test, I feel stupid, therefore I must be stupid”
Assuming our feelings inform us of the facts. Labelling events in emotionally labelled terms is allowing your emotions to dictate what you believe is true rather than the facts.
Personalisation “They must be talking about how bad I did in my test”
Misattribute personal responsibility solely to ourselves or others shown through constantly comparing ourselves and believing that negative talk or feelings are directed to, or about, us. Example is constructive criticism being taken personally rather than a comment on one’s work, one’s reaction is to be defensive or anxious.
Always being Right “I will not compromise, I know that I am right and you are wrong”
Difficult to take on other people’s knowledge, judgements and ideas. This can inhibit development and self-improvement and causes conflicts in relationships as the other’s opinion or voice is not heard.
Blaming “I can’t believe this has happened, it’s all your fault, if only you had of …”
Putting all responsibility on other people or things rather than taking ownership of the part you play in the situation. Impacts relationships and inhibits one’s ability to learn and grown from experiences.
Externally controlled: you see yourself as the victim of someone else’s actions instead of being proactive or in control yourself, believing things are out of your control. “I was late because my partner didn’t put the bins out like I asked him”.
Internally controlled: “My boss is angry which must be because I did not fetch his coffee quick enough.”
Fallacy of Change “If only we would have a different teacher, I would learn more and be much happier”
You believe someone or something else needs to change for you to be happy, leading for one to wait for something to happen rather than making it happen themselves.
Fallacy of Fairness “Why has she got a pay rise and I haven’t, that’s not fair”
Believing that life is always supposed to be fair, when it isn’t. Difficulty in letting go and accepting life’s realities.
Want to know more about how your thinking impacts your life and how you can change it? Get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org