Are your negative thought patterns affecting your life?

Are you making choices that are based on self-negative beliefs?

It is all too easy to forget the positives and focus on the negatives.

For years I believed that my negative thoughts were something I had to listen to. That these thoughts were part of my identity and I would build my life around them. Did I know I was doing this? No, because I had accepted these thoughts to be real and part of who I was.

Negative thoughts are powerful! You can have ten people say you are good at something but if you have one person say you cannot do it then that is what will stick. That negative comment will be like a paper cut, you sometimes cannot see it, but it is there, and it hurts.

When I decided to give up drinking I had so many people who supported and believed in me. However, it was a negative comment from just one person that nearly derailed me. One doubting voice, and I was ready to return to drinking again. This was the voice that lingered with me that I continued to listen to. One comment left me questioning my authenticity. It did not matter how many people sent me supportive messages it was the one negative message which kept me to doubting myself.

Why do we get obsessed with the negatives? TED talk with social psychologist Alison Ledgerwood conducted experiments to find out if the brain had difficulty switching from losses to gains. You can have the same two glasses, but they can be described differently. One as half full and the other as half empty. The way you describe it is the way you feel about it. If you explain it as half full it is seen as a gain. If you say it is half empty you see it as a loss. Can reframing make a person view a positive or a negative differently?

There was an experiment conducted with two groups. Both groups were told about a surgical procedure, but one group was told it had a 70% success rate and the second group were told it had 30% failure rate. The first group saw the procedure as a positive, and the second group viewed the procedure negatively. Then there was a twist, the procedure was reframed to both the groups.  The first group were told the procedure now has a 30% failure rate; the first group changed the way they saw it. They now disliked the procedure. The second group were told the procedure had a 70% success rate but unlike the first group they did not change their view on the procedure. They still did not like it. Once the loss frame got in the second groups mindset, they were resistant to changing their view.

It leads us to believe, once we know the failure, we struggle to see the gain. Our brains find it difficult to switch from negatives to positives. That is why we need to start training our brains to think differently. You can do this by choosing to journal what you are grateful for in the day and choosing to have more positive conversations. How easy is it when something goes wrong to speak about all the negatives? When you have a bad day at work it is very easy to complain about your colleagues, your boss, or the work. I have spent so much time complaining and it never made me feel better. It would just fuel my negative thoughts. Since I have started having more positive conversations it helps me to problem solve and be more accepting of situations rather than resisting them. You can change your negative thought patterns, but you need to practice every day by seeing the positives.