A psychologist explains why negativity dominates your daily thoughts, and what to do about it
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We as humans might be built for negativity, making us our own worst enemy. This, as other research casts doubt on so-called optimism bias, debunking the notion that some people inherently “see” life “through rose-tinted glasses.” It’s an unfortunate opportunity loss, as another study found optimism to be associated with “exceptional longevity.”
Even though, at times, we may feel as though we are not, we are the ones in control of our thoughts. We can choose not only what we think about but how we think about it.
We need to learn to actually challenge our cognitive distortions and negative thoughts, and question how real or accurate they are. We need to question and examine the veracity of our distorted ways of seeing reality and replace them with more accurate, adaptive, realistic, and uplifting thoughts that motivate us to strive to act and be the highest and best versions of ourselves.
We can choose to reinforce healthy, rather than harmful, choices, habits, and behaviors. Reframing our assumptions is the first step.
Negative manifestations act as a warning for the larger ones to come unless you take positive action to stop the process, rather than reverting to past patterns that undermine optimism. You have the ability to observe a negative thought objectively, without judgment, and then choose to release and strategically replace it—with thoughts of gratitude, visualizations of prior success or joyful moments, reciting affirmations that resonate, and other such mindfulness activities that can stop a negative-manifestation episode in its tracks.
Negative thoughts and chronic pessimism can stem from many triggers far beyond stressors we’re living in the moment, including self-destructive patterns and even unresolved childhood experiences and traumas that evolve to inform perceptions and impede personal growth.
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"Dreaming big means planning big." - Patrick Llewellyn
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