Negative thinking - we all experience it. But why can some people get past it quickly while others seem to hang on to it?
Much research has been done which seems to conclude that our negative thoughts and failures stick in our brains a lot longer than positive thoughts or successes.
As example: if one group of individuals are told a business has a 30% failure rate they stick on the failure and fail to realize it must also have a 70% success rate. Another group is told a business has a 70% success rate and they immediately like the business and don’t focus on the reality that it also has a 30% failure rate. But if that same group who once liked the business with the 70% success rate where then told that it must also have a 30% failure rate, they then shift to disliking the business.
As long as negative information isn’t interjected we can enjoy the positive. But the minute that negative thought comes in, there we go!
Our losses tend to stick. Can people easily switch back and forth from negative thinking to positive thinking? Mostly No. Studies have shown that only when we “work on it” can we make the shift. Without work our thoughts go to the negative.
How can that be corrected? Basically we have to retrain our brain. When given a choice we have to learn to focus on the positive. Yes, that means begin to look at that half filled glass as half full, not half empty. Recognize when we start to go to the negative mode and made a conscious shift. Example, we complain about a friend who runs late when plans to meet are set up. We focus our thoughts on him/her being late, which cuts into the fun time. We say to ourselves they don’t care, which makes us feel angry and the negative thoughts keep spiraling. But what if you could look past your friend who tends to run late and realize when they are with you they are fun, they’re a good listener, they do care, they call, they ask about you, etc. You realize that this person is really a good person and you can look past them being late. But you have to focus on looking at the good because for most people they initially settle on the negative.
Take a look at yourself. Think over various situations in your daily life. How often do your thoughts immediately shift to the negative? I would guess more than you realize. And it’s those automatic negative thoughts that are turning others off and making your day a bit more difficult than it should be.
Some tips to stop your negative thinking
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you found it helpful. Please make the choice to implement some of the tips I mentioned above. Only you can make a change! Happy positive thinking!
Ledgerwood, Allison, Getting Stuck in the Negatives – TedTalks - 2013
Liz Birch is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who provides services in her office in Orange, CA but also has options for home-based psychotherapy. Her areas of expertise are in communications, relationships, marriage strengthening, stress reduction, depression, trauma, anxiety, anger, personal growth, and ptsd (civilian and military). She can be reached via LizBirchTherapist.com, email at LizBirchMFT@gmail.com, or by calling 714-614-0612.
Alexithymia is a clinical term for the inability to understand the intricacies of feelings and emotions. The existence and study of alexithymic experiences started in the 1970's. Some research suggests that alexithymia is more predominant in men than in women and is prevalent in approximately 10% of the general population. Alexithymia is also understood to have two components; a cognitive component where people might face challenges with thinking and emotions while trying to name, understand and talk about feelings, as well as an affective component where people might struggle with the experience of sharing, responding to and sensing emotions.
People who experience the effects of alexithymia might have these symptoms:
1. Difficulty identifying feelings
2. Difficulty distinguishing between feelings and the bodily sensations
3. A lack of impulse control
4. Violent or disruptive outbursts
5. Difficulty describing feelings to other people
6. Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, or physical touch
7.Limited imagination and, therefore, little or no fantasies and limited dreams
8. An unawareness of what is happening in their own mind and a very concrete way of thinking.
Alexithymia is known to be co-morbid with a number of psychiatric conditions. Therefore, when signs of Alexithymia are seen one might also look at depression, post traumatic stress disorder, brain injuries, substance abuse, and eating disorders, as it’s these diagnoses that one might harbor alexithymia.
But where does it come from? How does one end up with this personality construct of marked dysfunction in emotional awareness, social attachment and interpersonal relating? Some research has indicated that events happening in a person’s early childhood such as neglect or abuse but there are also cases of witnessing a horrifying event is known to trigger alexithymia.
If you, or someone you know, is displaying symptoms such as those described above please seek out the support of a licensed therapist. Therapy will often concentrate on building a foundation of naming emotions and appreciating a range of feelings. The process will likely include both consideration of the experiences of other people and self-reflection. For people who have no problem with emotional comprehension this might sound very basic, however, for a person with alexithymia the process of growing their emotional intelligence and capacity may be difficult.
Liz Birch is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who provides services in her office in Orange, CA but also has options for home-based psychotherapy. Her areas of expertise are in communications, relationships, marriage strengthening, stress reduction, depression, trauma, personal growth, ptsd and provides support to the military population and their families. She can be reached via LizBirchTherapist.com, email at LizBirchMFT@gmail.com, or by calling 714-614-0612.
Weiss, Thomas C. , Alexithymia: Information, Symptoms & Treatment Options, August 2012, Disabled World/heath/neurology/alexithymia
I hope you find the above points helpful. Become aware of the way you think and behave and work on it being more productive.
In closing, draw upon your own inner resources to offer love, attention and nurturance not only toward your partner but for yourself.
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