Why You Have Negative Thoughts?
If you are reading this article, it may be because you consider yourself a negative thinker. Congratulations on taking the initiative to learn how to get rid of negative thoughts. Combating negativity starts with self-awareness. Don’t waste your energy looking for someone to blame or beating yourself up. Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, describes blaming as simply “a way to discharge pain and discomfort.”
Here are a few reasons why you may experience automatic negative thoughts:
- Lack of self-confidence, which often happens when you develop a self-image based on the words or actions of others
- The belief that you are the victim of circumstances and that you have no control over the events in your life
- Imposter syndrome, which is when people “attribute their accomplishments to luck rather than to ability, and fear that others will eventually unmask them as a fraud,” as explained by the American Psychological Association (APA)
Productivity Tips to Get You Started
These productivity tips may help you learn how to stop negative thoughts:
- Change begins with you, so acknowledge your responsibility in the process.
- Avoid playing the role of victim, which promotes feelings of self-doubt, humiliation, self-pity, and rage.
- Learn from your disappointments rather than letting them weaken your resolve. Try to identify solutions for the future.
- If you feel unworthy of your accomplishments, break your silence and reach out to mentors who can provide support and encouragement.
- Forgive yourself for mistakes, and forgive others who have berated you for those mistakes, reminding yourself that we are all human and imperfect.
- Shun negative self-talk and know that failings are growth opportunities.
How to Get Rid of Negative Thoughts Through the Principles of Neuroscience
Having negative thoughts does not mean something is wrong with you. We would all look pretty silly smiling continuously. Scary. Sadness, jealousy, hesitation, and dismay are normal emotions. This is different from chronic negativity, which is essentially a continuous loop of negative thinking that causes stress and inhibits your capacity for joy in life.
Neuroscience is an example of next-level thinking in learning development. Psychology Today defines neuroscience as a “rapidly expanding discipline” that “examines the structure and function of the human brain and nervous system.” By studying the brain’s ability to produce new connections and circuits in the nervous system, neuroscientists have developed a better understanding of how our thoughts can produce neurochemical changes.
When you habitually think negatively, you are essentially programming your cells to expect more of the same. On the other hand, the power of positive thinking can strengthen the connections in your brain that release chemicals correlated to good feelings. Looking at negativity from the perspective of neuroscience may be different from anything you have considered.
Here are ways to stay positive using neuroscientifically backed methods:
- Practice self-awareness by catching yourself thinking negative thoughts, starting from the moment you awaken.
- Enjoy inspirational books, poetry, art, and quotes that reflect optimism.
- Start a gratitude journal to record everything you appreciate about your life, and refer to it as a reminder of all you have.
- Think in terms of solutions and opportunities rather than problems.
- Know that you cannot control everything, and accept what you cannot change.
Impact of Negativity in the Workplace
From a project management perspective, controlled negativity is not such a bad thing. Project managers are skilled at harnessing negative thoughts to prepare for factors beyond their control, using tools and processes like risk management and lessons learned.
A negative attitude within the team is more troublesome. Individual negative behavior has a way of cascading to the rest of the team. Team-building exercises are often used to create an environment where team members can feel comfortable airing negative thoughts about the project and working together to come up with solutions.
What Have You Got to Lose?
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by transforming negative thoughts into positive actions. Charles F. Glassman, author of “Brain Drain: The Breakthrough That Will Change Your Life,” stated that “believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to success.”
Trust in the science that you have the power to rewire your brain by channeling your thoughts into positive energy with a focus on self-awareness, gratitude, and acceptance. You can achieve next-level thinking.
For more productivity tips that you can apply to your workplace and your own life, contact me today at the Leonard Productivity Intelligence Institute.