It’s hard to not get into a negative mindset from time to time, but if this is always the case, it can severely hold you back in life.
As much as we would always love to be positive and upbeat, the truth is that this is not realistic. Tough times will happen, but that’s just the natural course of life. Without tough times, you would never appreciate the good, so it’s natural you will go through periods with a negative mindset. The problem arises when that mindset becomes constant as it will ruin your life.
The good news is, you can beat it. This article will look at the issues caused by a negative mindset, but how it doesn’t have to rule over you.
What Causes a Negative Mindset?
This seems like a simple question, but it goes a lot deeper. A mindset that is based on negativity can come from things that happened as a child, fear, worry, or other trauma. Some people are more prone to a pessimistic outlook on life, so a negative mindset tends to be their default mode. This doesn’t mean they can’t beat it though.
One of the biggest causes of a negative mindset is fear. Negativity is just fear in disguise and there are always things to be fearful about. If you fear and worry about the state of the world, your job, finances, or health, you become overwhelmed with it and this then turns into negativity.
These constant negative thoughts can slowly start to ruin your life. Here are a few ways it does this:
1. Your Stress Hormones Go Through The Roof
A little stress is ok as this is your fight-or-flight mechanism in action. This is caused by stress hormones such as cortisol and this is important if you need to jump out of the way of a speeding car. But a constant release of stress hormones over time becomes very damaging. Here are some issues elevated stress hormones can cause:
- Digestive problems
- Weight gain
- Cognitive problems
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Heart attacks
This is just a small sampling as the list goes on for quite a bit. You can see how damaging this constant state of stress is on the body. The big issue here is that it doesn’t matter if that stress is real or perceived – the body still responds the same way. Constant cortisol release is happening from a negative mindset and putting your health at serious risk.
2. You Don’t Get To Appreciate The Good Things In Life
The more you focus on the negative situations in life, the more you ignore anything good happening to you. It can be easy to focus on what’s going wrong in life, but this prevents you from experiencing joy. It’s easy to slip into this way of thinking, but it is only robbing you from finding genuine happiness. In the same way, we can always find something to complain about, you can also find something to appreciate.
3. You Aren’t Able To Connect With Other People As Well
You’ve probably noticed that it’s not the most fun thing to be around someone with an overly negative mindset. If this mindset is occurring in you, it will push away those closest to you.
This also comes down to the simple issue of brain chemistry and the cortisol issue. Besides controlling fight-or-flight responses, cortisol has the effect of shutting down some of the higher cognitive parts of the brain. The parts it impacts are the ones important for how we interact and connect with others. These areas of the brain are involved with empathy, compassion, and forgiveness.
So a negative mindset is physically impacting your ability to love and care for other people. It doesn’t get much worse than that.
How Do You Beat a Negative Mindset?
The big thing all this boils down to – and a more helpful way to look at negativity – is that it is a habit. More often than not, a negative mindset doesn’t happen from very complex things or events. Small little issues can be enough to get you into this bad headspace and when you constantly think in this way, it becomes a habit.
They say it takes 21 days to create a habit, so think what years and years of negative thinking have done to cement it as a normal mindset. But we can break any bad habit. Here are a few ways:
1. Start Using A Journal
This is an easy way to jot down any positive things that are happening. It doesn’t matter how small they are; it helps to make a note of them. If you can get in the habit of writing down things you appreciate – even as simple as seeing the sun shining – it helps to train your mind to look for the positives in life.
2. Remember Positive Situations
This has to do with the breaking of a habit. Any time you catch yourself in a mindset that is negative, steer the thoughts to moments where you felt peaceful, calm, happy, and assured. This can take work, but eventually, this can help to beat that negative mindset.
3. Start To Question The Thoughts
Your brain and mind are two different things. Your mind is easily influenced and shaped by outside forces, whether they are negative or positive. When negative thoughts creep in, start to question them.
Look at negative thoughts like spam email. You wouldn’t take a spam email seriously, you just delete it. You need to do the same thing with negative thoughts and ask, “Should I take this seriously?” And think of it as spam from outside coming in to only cause damage.
It’s so easy to get into a negative mindset, and it’s nothing to feel bad about. A lot of the things we expose ourselves to are there to make us feel bad. The trick is choosing what you allow into your mind, and what can influence you. This means you might need to turn off the news or avoid people who only bring you down. But as we mentioned, a negative mindset is nothing but a habit, and any habit can be broken.