The Limitations of Positive Thinking
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Positive affirmations can actually be detrimental.
If you have low self-esteem, repeating feel-good phrases can make you feel worse. And for those with high self-esteem, although positive affirmations tend to improve your mood only slightly, there's no lasting effect.
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.
Both positivity and negativity have a place. We should learn to find a balance between the two.
Instead of focussing on positive thinking, we should hope for the best, but plan for the worst.
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.
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.
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