Why People Rush towards Negativity at First?
If you often find yourself preoccupied with negative thinking, give yourself a break. If you can’t help breaking the golden rule (“If you don't have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all") you’re not alone. If you worry more about what might go wrong instead of simply enjoying what went right, join the club. We’re all humans. Most of your thoughts are really just reflections of your feelings, emotions that you don’t choose. You don’t decide to get angry and disgusted when someone has criticized you, no more than you decide to be surprised and afraid when someone else sneaks up behind you and shouts, "Boo!" It simply happens with or without your compliance. Emotions generate automatic responses to help you avoid harm.
This can make finding happiness more elusive. Nature has heavily stacked the deck in favour of the negative. Consider the fact that almost all of our basic human emotions are far from warm and fuzzy and quite negative. example, anger, fear, disgust, sadness, and surprise. Joy is the only favourable and shining exception in the mix. It’s not that human nature inclines us to hate. We’re profoundly social creatures that evolved to protect: our kin, our tribe, and ourselves. Negative emotions require more detailed thinking, more subtle distinctions. So they require more names.
Now, imagine you’re driving to work. While getting off the highway, someone cuts you off. You slam on your brakes. You know the feeling that’s coming. A tense anger rises up. Your fingers clench the steering wheel.
It’s enough to make you feel horrible all day. You might be less productive at work and distracted during meetings. You might try to counterbalance the feeling with a quick shot of endorphins from junk food, mindless web surfing, or time-wasting YouTube videos. This only compounds the problem.
This is like taking short-term unhappiness and investing it in a long-term, high-yield unhappiness investment plan, ensuring belly flab and career stagnation for years to come.
So why does this one minor thing—getting cut off—have such a powerful effect on us? Why does one negative experience ruin an otherwise great day?
The answer has to do with our friend, the Caveman. Research shows that our brains evolved to react much more strongly to negative experiences than positive ones. It kept us safe from danger. But in modern days, where physical danger is minimal, it often just gets in the way.
Not only does negative stimuli trigger more neural activity, but research shows negativity is detected more quickly and easily. The amygdala—the brain region that regulates emotion and motivation—uses about two-thirds of its neurons to detect bad news.
3 Reasons to Stop Worrying About Your Negative Thoughts
1. Its normal to have negative thoughts.
Most of us are awash with negative thoughts. Even ones that seem positive, like I’m so great because I just got a new car, are really only negative ones in disguise, since they reinforce the belief you weren’t great before you got the new car.
And that’s the good news—negative thoughts are a normal part of human functioning.
This means you don’t have to worry about the fact that you’re having them in the first place. No matter how gnarly they get, it’s all pretty normal.
2. You don’t have to believe your negative thoughts!
You don’t actually have to believe your thoughts. It’s as simple as that. Sort of. No, it is, but let me explain.
Your mind would like you to believe that all of your thoughts are correct. One of the ways it does this is by having you think that you and it are one. The truth is your mind is just one part of you; it isn’t you.
Think of yourself as being made up of four parts.
2. Physical body
4. Spiritual aspect
This means: You are not your mind. Your mind is just a tool for you to use.
All of your thoughts and perceptions are filtered through your unique belief system, and it’s this filter that causes negative thoughts. The negativity is in the filter.
3. You can get positive about negative thoughts.
There’s nothing wrong with choosing to have a positive thought. Just know that the negative thought didn’t matter in the first place. It probably wasn’t true and it doesn’t “mean” things about you.
When you jump on “negative” thoughts and reject them in a knee-jerk way, you’re saying to yourself, “I’m not good enough. If I were good enough, I wouldn’t have had that thought in the first place.” This is at least as negative as the initial thought.
It may seem a subtle difference, but that tiny step of noticing the thought and not believing it is where the growth lies. And the more you do this, the less “negative thoughts” you have and the easier it is to recognize them when you have them.
Thus, Notice your thought, as in: ah, hello, thought. I know you’re not real; you are just a thought. Oh well, you can stay there if you like, but I have things to do today so I’m just going to go ahead and do them.
Then if you want to think a positive thought, go right ahead!