Negative thinking can take many forms and affect your day-to-day routine in different ways. It’s neither easy, nor pleasant when there’s a constant beratement of “no” and “why would you do this?” from the voice in your head.
Granted, bad days happen, and having unwanted thoughts here and there is normal. But what should you do when the negative chatter in your mind becomes overwhelming?
There are a few things you can learn about:
- Negative Thinking Patterns
- What Causes Negative Thinking?
- How to Stop Negative Thinking: 5 Tips From Mindvalley Trainers
A famous Buddhist quote says: “The mind is everything. What you think, you become.” So choose to take steps toward the dream version of yourself. It starts with your mind.
Negative Thinking Patterns
Negative thinking means having repeated negative thoughts about yourself and your surrounding environment. Although everyone has days where everything seems to go wrong, being stuck in a negative mindset is an extreme pattern your mind is clinging to.
Psychology names this style of thinking “cognitive distortions” because they make you draw wrong conclusions about your life and reality. Additionally, it “distorts” your perception of your internal and external worlds. This is correlated with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues that include a negative thinking disorder.
These thought patterns can be of various types:
- Self-criticism (a strong inner critic)
- Negative projections on the people around you
- Denial of reality
- Polarization (a black-or-white mindset)
- Negative or limiting beliefs
- Labeling yourself and the people around you
- Pessimism (expecting negative outcomes)
- Blaming yourself (feeling ashamed)
One important thing to highlight is that you are more than your negative thinking. Your skills, talents, qualities, and soul go beyond the way your mind has or is currently functioning.
What Causes Negative Thinking?
Depending on the individual, negative thinking can be caused by different situations, triggers, traumatic experiences, or unfortunate events.
It’s true that negative thinking can be linked to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, etc. However, science has not come to a clear conclusion that one is necessarily the cause of the other.
Another aspect to consider is the way media and society are built nowadays. Our culture emphasizes conflict, struggle, and overwhelming situations. It’s almost impossible to be all peaceful and zen if you’re not living in a temple far away from society’s concerns.
What’s more, from a biological perspective, the human brain is hardwired to focus on the negative. Why? Because in prehistoric times, we were made to anticipate danger, threats, and any possible disruptions to our safety.
Nowadays, times have changed, and we’re not forced to look out for danger at any corner of the street. However, the brain still functions based on the same biological convictions.
The dangers of negative thinking
The power of positive thinking is widely known and spreading in today’s culture. But you can’t always force yourself to adopt positive thoughts when you aren’t healing the cause of your negative ones.
You might ask yourself why it would be worth doing so. The simple answer is that your thought patterns and beliefs are the lenses through which you see and experience the world.
For example, does your world always seem to be dark and gloomy? Would you like to see more rainbows and butterflies?
In this case, you may want to heal the thought patterns that are causing you trouble and making you feel trapped or stagnant.
To realize what benefits you can draw from focusing on this self-discovery and healing process, you can ask yourself the following questions:
- What would you like to think about yourself?
- What would you like to think about other people?
- How would your life change if your self-talk was kind and compassionate?
- Are your thoughts giving you power or are they draining you?
- Are your thought patterns hiding a deeper issue that you refuse to look at?
- What would change if you solved that issue?
Rebuilding the connection you have with your mind is like starting to untangle the knots of a complicated net. Slowly but steadily, being patient and gentle at all times, it all seems to fall back into place.
How to Stop Negative Thinking: 5 Tips From Mindvalley Trainers
Learning how to change your negative thinking patterns isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Because every journey starts with the right few steps, here are some tips from Mindvalley trainers that can support you along the way:
1. Kill the ANTs
Jim Kwik, trainer of Mindvalley’s Superbrain Quest, shows you an efficient technique to reduce automatic negative thoughts (ANTs). They run as unconscious programs that tell your brain how it should perceive itself.
So if you’re constantly saying to yourself, “I’m not good enough” or “I have a terrible memory,” this is what your mind is going to create as your reality. Because everything in your subconscious will be reflected in the outside world.
Jim recommends using some magic to heal your negative thinking. Just as in the magical word “abracadabra,” Jim uses the ABRA technique to diminish negative thoughts. It goes as follows:
- A — Acknowledge your thoughts. You can’t fight them, because what you resist, persists. But you can become aware they’re there.
- B — Breathe in. Take a deep breath and bring in oxygen to your potential and the infinite possibilities standing in front of you.
- R — Release. Let go of the thoughts, the tension, the fear.
- A — Align. Realign to what’s truly authentic to you. Choose another thought to replace the one you just released.
2. Become aware of how you internalize your environment
Dr. Srikumar Rao, trainer of Mindvalley’s The Quest for Personal Mastery, rings a bell on how your environment is influencing you every day.
Nowadays, people are surrounded by negative news announcing all the terrible things that are going on in the world. How often do you beat yourself up for something you did, judging yourself for who you are and having regrets, thoughts of revenge, and comparisons to others?
These may all be caused by outside influences you are unconsciously exposed to.
Dr. Rao suggests noticing what kind of information you’re absorbing every day. And after you’ve consciously reflected on the media you’re consuming, take a few moments to observe your mental chatter.
What might surprise you is that your inner dialogue might reflect the information you’ve heard or the feelings you’ve experienced while taking it in.
3. Turn negative chatter into pep talk
Did you know that your body can’t tell the difference between being anxious and being excited? It’s the mental narrative that defines how it’s perceiving your reality.
This is what Emily Fletcher, trainer of Mindvalley’s The M Word Quest, encourages you to do more of: turn your negative thinking into a positive pep talk.
Take, for example, getting ready to speak in front of a public audience. You may feel agitated and your thoughts may sing out loud in your head acting like some negative thinking quotes. But this is the moment you can turn it around in your favor.
How about rewriting your self-narrative? You can tell yourself that you feel “nervous” because this moment is important for you. It’s your body’s way to remind you that you’re excited and ready for a big opportunity.
And as Emily says, the more you change your negative thoughts, the more you can walk through your life being a “vessel for ideas, love, and kindness.”
4. Change the labels
Tim Storey, trainer of Mindvalley’s Magical Living Quest talks about the heaviness of the labels that have been placed on us.
Were you ever told something that you couldn’t get over? Maybe something your parents, partner, or teacher said? It’s so easy to tag or label someone in the modern world; it makes life easier. But oftentimes, people tend to describe themselves by the labels others have attributed to them.
What labels do you carry? And how can you change them?
Tim advises challenging your self-beliefs. And if you notice your mind labeling yourself in a negative way, just ask yourself:
- Is this label true? Where and when did I start believing this?
- What can I replace it with to make it true?
Every time you’re tempted to repeat the old limiting belief about yourself, remember that you have a new “label” in place. Use that one instead.
5. Silence criticism
As mentioned before, negative thinking can often stem from what others have said or are saying about you. And knowing you can’t please everyone, you can choose not to let criticism get to you.
Marisa Peer, trainer of Mindvalley’s Rapid Transformational Hypnotherapy for Abundance Quest, teaches you a few ways to deal with destructive criticism. So any time you encounter a situation where you feel like someone just wants to put you down, you can:
- Say “thanks for sharing that.”
- Ask “Could you repeat that slowly?” or “Are you trying to hurt me?”
- Ask “Do you know that critical people have most criticism reserved for themselves?”
These are a few ways to block criticism that will help you deal with negative thinking. Always remember that it’s not about you. And as Marisa says, “benevolent people praise; people who feel inferior criticize.”
Make a Change, Start With Your Mind
If you’ve been around in the personal growth world, you already know that great change starts from within. However, it doesn’t mean that some guidance and support from the outside won’t help you on your journey.
Here’s where Mindvalley can step in for you. With access to programs packed full of wisdom and transformational insights, you can create powerful change in your life. And you can get inspired by Mindvalley members who swear by their amazing transformation.
The biggest takeaway for me is finding peace again from within, and I’ve never worked so efficiently while feeling so happy at the same time!— Freeman Fung, Marketing Manager, Global Citizen, and TEDx Speaker
By unlocking your free access, you can sample classes from inspiring quests that will help you break through your negative thinking patterns. Here are a few examples of what you can explore and discover:
- How to train your brain for amazing performance in the Superbrain Quest by Jim Kwik.
- Connecting to your inner peace and wisdom through The Quest for Personal Mastery with Dr. Srikumar Rao.
- Freeing your mind and body of worries and stress in The M Word Quest with Emily Fletcher.
- How to connect to the magic of your life in the Magical Living Quest by Tim Storey.
- Programming your mind for abundance through the Rapid Transformational Hypnotherapy for Abundance Quest with Marisa Peer.
We all know that being stuck in negative thinking patterns can often leave you feeling alone. But the best part of it all is that you don’t have to do everything on your own during your transformation process. You can join a like-minded community of people who are here to support you on your way.
Don’t be afraid to leave behind old thinking patterns and create new, powerful ones. Your best life is waiting for you.