Why your inner world has a natural tendency to get messed up and what to do about negative thoughts.

It happens to be our best. And you’re there, you’re happily going about your normal daily life when suddenly, a thought pops into your head:

“What if I make a big mistake? And then there’s the ripple effect:

“I don’t know what I’m doing. Why do I say that? Why did I agree to do it? I can not do that. And it goes on, sometimes replaying conversations to analyze how stupid you must have sounded or what the other person really meant.

What happens next is a crippling chain reaction that, with each negative thought that follows, sends your mind into a deeper spiral of phantom burning, paralyzing you right after. there. It’s as if you could blow up your whole world in an instant and it’s all within the limits of your mind.

Natural Negative Tendencies Of The Brain

Connect these thought patterns to survival instincts and a biological feeling that we won’t live much longer (depressed, we know). Psychiatrist Grant H. Brenner M.D., FAPA, co-founder of Neighborhood Psychiatry, Manhattan.

Along with this ongoing threat analysis, we are designed to use negative information more than positive information to inform our world. When you think about this in an evolutionary context, it makes sense. Survival depends more on detecting danger than enjoying the warmth of a cave fire.

Malfunction In Our Operating System

“It has become a less adaptive function as we become more developed and more technologically advanced. If we can’t cope with things getting better, so our fighter systems can make us react poorly to each other,” he said. “We lack compassion and see strangers as enemies rather than family. We think the planet is bigger and more almighty than it really is – an illusion that will be badly shattered if we don’t think critically and wisely,” said Dr. Brenner.

It is also a vicious cycle. Essentially, the brain is trained to look for and recognize threats early, both internally and externally, which leads to paying more attention to negative thoughts, reinforcing them, and making them appear. appear more frequently. “Just like a car engine running in neutral mode, the brain’s default mode network runs an operating system that repeats more negative thoughts and memories, these thoughts and memories,” says Dr. Running in circles reduces brain functions that can disrupt this loop.” speak.

The Impact Of Negative Thinking

The ramifications of this cloud of negative thinking can be detrimental. “Being obsessed with a negative thought can become such a bothersome preoccupation,” says clinical psychologist Kristin Naragon-Gainey, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology in the Department of Psychology. 

Interact with what’s going on in life.” at the University of Buffalo. “It can make people withdraw from who they are and what they do.” And don’t forget to push others away. “It can be harder to appreciate things because you pay more attention to what might happen; this can create friction with others and further stress. Dr. Naragon-Gainey said.

How To Stop Negative Thinking

But the good news is that you don’t have to get stuck in a negative spiral (read that statement again for a better understanding). You can consciously work to reverse Debbie Downer’s mentality. And that starts with acknowledging your negative thinking. 

Literally, imagine a stop sign. This can help limit negative thinking when it comes up. This type of visualization – a literal diversion – can help you distract your attention from negative thoughts, says Dr. Brenner. You can also try to distract yourself: listen to music, go for a walk with alders, imagine a positive memory, or call a friend.

“Switching to another task where you can focus on something more productive will help build self-esteem and give you a really positive reassessment,” he says. Be curious, not self-critical. It’s a way to be kind to yourself when unpleasant thoughts come up.

Studies show that over time, compassion-based practices, such as positive self-affirmations such as “I’m doing my best” or “I’m being really hard on myself”, can help change the way the brain is in the long run. respond to negativity by reducing self-critical thinking and anxiety.

Pay attention to the thought itself. Have you ever realized that the more you try not to think about something, the more you actually think about it? Dr. Naragon-Gainey says: “When people try to push away negative emotions, they inadvertently become stronger. 

Studies show that being mindful by respecting and accepting negative thoughts and trying to address them constructively can help address underlying issues. Say things like, “Is that thinking right? Was this thought helpful? Applying a cognitive perspective can help you cultivate more accurate and helpful ways of thinking and feeling.