Many people spend their lives thinking negatively without being aware of it. However, once you start the journey of self-development, you soon recognize your negative tendencies and see how this way of thinking affects your life.
If you’ve been thinking negatively for your whole life, switching your mindset is not easy. But it’s totally possible to rewire your brain to think from a more positive perspective. The first step to overcoming negativity is to notice and accept that you have an unhealthy mindset. From here, you can learn how to stop being negative and bring more positivity into your life.
- Where Do Your Negative Thoughts Come From?
- How Thinking Negatively Affects You
- How Being Positive Will Benefit Your Life
- 6 Ways to Stop Being Negative
- Final Thoughts
Where Do Your Negative Thoughts Come From?
Before we dive into the practical steps on how to stop being negative, you should know that having this unhealthy mindset is not uncommon. Our minds have a tendency to focus on negative things, which is known in the psychology field as negative bias. This means that our brains register negative stimuli before positive stimuli. Thus, this explains why we focus our attention on a negative experience rather than a positive one.
Along with the negative bias, our negative thoughts patterns are due to our belief systems. Our belief systems are formed from our past experiences, upbringing, the people around us, and self-esteem. Therefore, if you grow up in a home with negative parents, you’re much more likely to develop this type of mindset too. Alternatively, suppose you struggle with low self-esteem and do not have a healthy support system around you. In that case, you are also likely to have a negative mindset.
How Thinking Negatively Affects You
Negative thinking often causes depression, low self-worth, and chronic stress, leading to a whole host of health problems. Whenever we react negatively to a situation or perceive news as bad, we activate our nervous system’s fight or flight response. This puts us in a state of stress, which is not too bad if it lasts for a short period.
The problem with a negative mindset is that you are continuously activating this stress response and, thus, staying in survival mode for a long time. When this happens, your body responds by shutting down vital functions such as rest and digestion to focus solely on the “perceived stressor.” Over time, this leads to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, which increases your risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Negative people often feel a lack of hope as all they can see in the world is negativity. This mentality closes your mind to all the beauty in the world so that you believe life is not worthwhile. This can lead to severe depression, taking everything personally, and always expecting the worst.
Negative thinking affects all aspects of your life, including your relationships. No one likes to be around negative people; thus, it can cause friction with your friends, co-workers, and partner. As the people in your life choose to avoid you because of your negativity, you cut off your support network, which increases your feelings of depression.
How Being Positive Will Benefit Your Life
While no one enjoys being around negative people, everyone feels drawn to those who ooze positively, no matter the state of the world or their life. Therefore, you’ll attract friends, business, and romantic partners with a positive aura, as people will want to be in your energy field.
As well as attracting people into your life, positive thinking attracts opportunities. So when you are hopeful and believe that good things can happen, you’re sending a message to the universe to bring you positive things, which it will.
When you’re thinking negatively, you are closed off from any prospects. But when you start thinking positively, it’s like opening a portal to possibility in all areas of your life. This is why switching a negative mentality to a positive one can bring drastic and fast change to your life. With a positive mindset, you’ll also see more good in the world and start appreciating the beauty around you.
6 Ways to Stop Being Negative
1. Surround Yourself With Positive People
To achieve a positive mindset, you need to ensure you have the right people around you. Observe the people you usually spend time with and see if they have a negative attitude. Do they tend to complain and criticize everything? If so, you’ll need to distance yourself from them.
Of course, depending on the nature of your relationship, it may not be possible to cut someone off. But, you can protect your energy by setting boundaries. So, suppose your partner or a close family member is very negative. In that case, you may want to consider taking some time away from them while you focus on changing your mindset.
Be honest with them and explain why thinking negatively is so destructive. They may see the need to change themselves. In that case, you can work through the process together, strengthening your bond while improving yourself.
Then, seek out positive people to spend time with. Look around your office and identify the people who always seem happy and upbeat no matter how busy or stressful their day is. Start speaking to these people during your lunch break and notice how even short interactions with positive people influence your mood.
2. Stop Watching the News
As you probably know, the news focuses on negative events, as do many soap operas and even some documentaries. Therefore, be selective in the media you consume, whether through TV, radio, or social media. Again, you might need to set some boundaries by limiting your social media usage and only allowing yourself to watch specific TV programs.
3. Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Negative people are constantly living in their minds, trapped in their destructive thought patterns. To free yourself from this, you need to get out of your mind and into your body. One of the best ways to do this is through mindfulness meditation. Start with 10 minutes every day where you sit in silence, close your eyes, and try to focus on the sensations in your body. Whenever you notice your mind pulling your attention away from your body, pause and bring yourself back to your senses and your breathing.
4. Practice Gratitude
Start a daily gratitude journal where you write down (at least) three things that you are grateful for every day. You might find this challenging at first as your mind is blocking out anything positive. So start with simple things like having a roof over your head or food in your fridge. With practice, you’ll come to realize more and more blessings, and as you focus on gratitude, more things to be grateful for will come your way.
5. Spend Time in Nature (Or With Animals)
You can connect to the beauty in the world by spending time admiring nature. Head to the forest, the beach, or take a hike up the mountain. However, instead of spending the time in your head, really observe your surroundings. Look at the details in the plants, stop to watch wild animals in their natural habitat, or observe waves crashing against the shore.
Being in nature boosts your endorphins (feel-good hormones). It also brings you into the present moment, giving your mind a break from the constant cycle of negative thoughts. If you’re an animal lover, you’ll find the same joy and peacefulness by spending time with animals. So, offer to walk a friend’s dog, foster a kitten, or volunteer at your local animal shelter.
6. Compliment Other People
If you put out negativity into the world, that’s what you’ll get back, and the same is true for positivity. So to put out some positivity, give compliments to the people in your life as well as strangers. Notice how this immediately makes you feel good and how more positive things start coming your way.
There is no quick fix for rewiring thought patterns that have dominated your life up until now. The process of overcoming your negative mindset will take time and require persistence. However, these six steps will help you start cutting ties with your negative thoughts and changing your outlook on life.