Humans are the only creatures on this planet who have the ability to think. Evolution of brain and languages makes us capable to think. But there has always been a challenge that has not been addressed adequately: To think rationally, i.e., to curb unwanted negative emotions and feelings.
Every person wants to spend a happy life but most often we found ourselves in the grasp of negative thoughts such as scarcity, criticism, and failure. It is the very nature of human beings to think about the safety and happiness of their life. Due to this nature, we are bound to attract the information or thought we consume. This process creates a loop or chain of thoughts, which is called thinking.
It is the job of your mind to keep you safe and for that purpose; you have to think of negative things. There is no problem with unwanted or negative thoughts, but remain attached to negative thoughts is what called negative thinking. Let’s first understand the psychology behind negative emotions before exploring its major reasons.
Negative Thinking Vs Realistic Thinking
As discussed above, it’s the function of your brain to keep you safe. We’re wired to be negative to be safe and it doesn’t mean you are a negative person. In order to survive, it’s okay to think a little bit of negative things each day but don’t get carried away. You can manage small doses of negativity in your life.
Let’s assume that you are walking alone on a silent road with a lot of darkness during midnight and suddenly heard a noise of a group of people coming behind you. The very first emotion that hit your mind would be probably negative because your brain wants to save you from any possible danger.
If you are aware of your potential and not going to compete in the exam where your chances of failure are high, then it’s realistic thinking, not a negative one. Awareness of your weakness is not negativity, perhaps it’s a symbol of the right mindset because only then you are going to work on your weakness. It’s clear that every sort of negative thinking is not harmful but it’s also crucial to explore the reasons behind harmful one:
Past Experiences & Fear
Each of us has a collection of awful moments in our memories, which are so painful that we don’t want to experience them again. Animals are probably better at forgetting these memories. Humans hold on to fears because our thinking is hopelessly lost in symbols and categories. We’re consciously or subconsciously more concerned about what might go wrong than what could go right.
Most fears keep us at arm’s length and we are bounded to do something nerve-racking. If you look closely at any fear, you will find that it’s always a specific moment with an awful feeling of awkwardness, shame, guilt, or anger. What we’ve recognized is that all our fears of the future are actually fears of the past.
Ideally, we shouldn’t have fear about the future because we don’t know the future. We are just afraid of those certain parts of the past that may happen again. If you think deeply, then there is nothing else that drives us but the desire of feeling that we want to experience and the fear of feelings we don’t want to experience.
Scarcity & Greed
The concept of fear that we discussed above is also a product of a mindset called scarcity. Fear of limited resources is born when we believe that all resources are scarce. Nothing is ever enough for people with this type of scarcity mindset. No amount of money will allow them to sleep soundly at night. That’s why we always found ourselves in a hurry to grab our desired share and attract so many negative thoughts in this haste.
For young peoples, the scarcity mindset manifests as a fear of the future. This mentality nurtures an awful cycle of stress and defeat. The more a person stresses about not having enough, the less they are able to see and appreciate what they have. Instead of celebrating accomplishments and keeping an eye out for new opportunities, people with such a mentality get stressed about perceived defeat.
This mindset also limits your ability to enjoy your personal life and provide wonderful experiences to your loved ones. People with this mentality often attract competition and jealousy in their basic nature because they believe that the more others have, the less they have and vice versa. The best way to get rid of this negative thinking is to shift your focus from scarcity to abundance.
Our way of living life is directly connected to our way of thinking. If our daily routine and rituals are not positive and supportive enough to enhance our productivity, then it will drag us towards negativity. Spending your whole day consuming the content of social networking platforms, YouTube, and OTT platforms like Netflix without reading any book or without any physical activity will only make your mind negative.
Due to the current situation of COVID19, the track of life has been changed. This pandemic has confined us to stay inside our home. Most of us are still doing our official work from home. If we are spending a major portion of our time in front of smartphones and laptops, then this approach is going to affect our mind negatively.
Such a lifestyle without any outdoor activity or without some tasks that contribute to real happiness makes us wired to be negative. Overuse of the internet and screen time should be reduced in order to improve this unhealthy lifestyle. Improving your lifestyle by including some positive rituals is the finest way to get rid of negative thinking
If the social environment around us is negative, then it can bring some negative vibes also in our life. It forces us to worry more about the future rather than focusing on the present moment. If you are living in a country where corruption, protests, terrorist attacks, and other offensive crimes are happening continuously, then it would be more difficult for you to remain positive.
There are so many myths and illusions that we catch through our social environment. A myth like following our passion is risky; money is the root of all evil or money makes us evil. They make us more inclined towards the quest of fake security than that of true abundance. We start to misinterpret the true reasons behind happiness and focus too much on the material world.
Much of our mediocrity and negative emotions originate in false and limiting social agreements. If the major portion of your society consists of people with a corruptive mindset, then it will also consciously or subconsciously affect your way of thinking.
Procrastination / Overthinking
A deep thinking before taking any action is fine because it will make you aware of all the outcomes and consequences. But if you are spending 90% of your given time in just thinking, then there is negligible time left over to perform any action. This unnecessary type of thinking will only generate more negative possibilities in your mind.
The factors like fear and scarcity written above also contribute to this procrastination. It is very essential for you to arrive at clarity without taking so much time. Otherwise, it will become very difficult for you to further take any step.
Such habits found fertile ground in the atmosphere of fear and greed. They appeal to the baser side of human nature. It mitigates your beliefs towards your idea and action. You start to make fear-based decisions and afraid of not having enough. When your internal dialogue is negative, you are actually working against your own best interests.
It is the function of your brain to display the stored information. Just as your eyes don’t change whether you see a good thing or a bad thing, similarly your brain can’t be reversed when it is hit by good or bad thought.
Try to observe your thought and ask yourself where it is coming from. Tell your mind what you expect from yourself. Learn to talk with your subconscious mind and try to plant more positive information to help replace that negative information.