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Negative thinking can narrow our thinking and prevent us from moving forward. Positive encouragement can open our minds to alternatives. It fosters creative thinking and opens us up to take on risks.
However, pursuing happiness for the sake of happiness has been shown to make us more unhappy. The more we try and force positive emotions, the less happy we become.
Forcing positive thinking puts us under pressure and in an always-on-the-alert mode. We can never relax because a negative thought might pop into our heads when we least expect it.
It can make us feel more negative emotions and we may blame ourselves for not being happy enough.
Emotions like fear and anxiety can help us to act in certain situations, for instance, alerting us to danger. Anxiety should not be avoided. It can point to an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
Thinking negatively can also help us prepare for worst-case scenarios in advance. However, too much negative thinking is not good for us either.
"Looking on the bright side" is advise that is seldom helpful.
When people think negatively, they can turn their anxiety into action. They take more time to prepare for the worst-case scenarios.
These two groups succeed best under different circumstances.
Thinking positively can hinder people from realizing their goals.
At the same time, pessimists can become paralyzed by stress and fail to take action while those who are overwhelmingly positive are unlikely to experience stress or anxiety.