Life isn’t always easy. Yet, so often we make life more challenging with our negative thinking.
The influence of negative thought patterns is far-reaching. There’s no part of life that escapes.
It affects us mentally, emotionally, and physically. It limits the ability to achieve and to enjoy life. There are reasons why pessimists are so miserable.
There are 2 primary effects of negative thinking.
1. It has a negative impact on your mood and outlook on life.
Negative thinking feels bad. Thinking negative thoughts can increase the chances of you’ll feel sad, afraid, angry, hopeless, and negative in general.
These emotions color the way you view the world and have a deleterious effect on your ability to make wise decisions.
2. Negative thinking makes it harder to achieve goals.
For any objective, there are things pulling you toward your goal and other things pushing you away. When you think negative thoughts about achieving a goal, you’re much less able to accomplish it.
How negative thinking blocks success
Imagine you’d like to take a trip to Hong Kong. This has always been a goal of yours. But then you start thinking about it:
“It’s so far away, the jetlag will be awful. I’ll probably spend half of the trip just recovering.”
“The language is so different from English. How will I manage,”
“I should spend the money on something else.”
“I’ll lose a lot of money exchanging currency.”
“I’ve heard Chinese prisons are the worst in the world. What if I break some weird law I don’t even know about,”
Suddenly, that trip to Hong Kong doesn’t sound so dreamy anymore.
The same process applies to how negative thought patterns for other things we want, whether it’s to date someone, have a sexual experience, enjoy more intimacy or to improve our relationship with someone.
Negative thinking makes goals seem harder than they truly are.
These two negative effects are pervasive. They influence your entire life. But, there are additional consequences as well.
More Effects of Negative Thought Patterns
Negative thinking has other consequences that limit your capabilities:
1. It’s damaging to your health.
Negative thinking creates extra stress and causes you to spend unnecessary energy.
2. It lowers your self-esteem.
Even very attractive people sometimes think they’re ugly, fat, and stupid. Such thoughts make it hard to feel good about oneself.
3. It reduces your confidence.
Negative thoughts about yourself lower your self-confidence. Negative thoughts about others make you less confident in their abilities. Your negative thinking can impact everyone around you.
4. It saps your energy.
Negative thinking is exhausting and saps your resources.
How to Limit Your Negative Thinking Patterns
Fortunately, there are ways to limit your negative thoughts and feel better each day:
1. Check in with yourself throughout the day for negative thoughts.
Use a timer or other prompt and check in throughout the day.
What thoughts have you been recently having, How positive or negative have they been,
2. When you notice a negative thought, change it to one that’s more helpful.
For example, you can change the thought, “I hate commuting to work” to “Driving sure beats taking the bus. I can listen to my music as loudly as I like.” Or, “Taking the bus sure beats driving. I get to relax and even doze if I want to.” It’s a simple example to show you the process.
As you get more comfortable doing this, try it with thoughts and feelings that have a stronger emotional pull, like those related to sex, intimacy, dating and relationships.
3. Get into the habit of thinking helpful thoughts.
Before doing any task, take 15 seconds and think a few positive thoughts about it. Find a perspective or viewpoint that feels helpful. The task will be easier and more enjoyable.
4. Spend more time with positive people.
It’s unlikely that you’ll rise far above the people you spend the most time with. If you spend most of your time with unhappy people who think negatively, then you are likely to be the same.
Ensure that the people around you are positive.
Negative thought patterns can be changed
Negative thoughts can harm your happiness, relationships, confidence, success, and health.
Reducing the frequency of negative thoughts is one of the most effective ways to make sure you are happier and more fun to be around.