Seeing Through the Seduction of Negative ThinkingJan 17, 2024
Did you know that according to the National Science Foundation 80% of our thoughts are negative and 95% of our thoughts are repetitive? Negative thoughts can be alluring and tempting, drawing us into a cycle of self-doubt, anxiety, and depression. These thoughts can feel like a familiar and comfortable space to be in, but they can also be harmful to our mental and emotional health.
“What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.” - Warren Buffet
What is negative thinking?
Negative thinking is a process where people tend to find the worst in everything or reduce their expectations by considering the worst possible scenarios. This approach can create disappointment in some situations, but negative thinking tends to manifest in patterns that cause tremendous stress, worry or sadness over time.
As an example, many individuals have a tendency to feel content with their current circumstances and conform to social expectations. They may settle for a life that is familiar and comfortable, even if it means foregoing opportunities for growth and advancement.
One factor that can contribute to this mindset is the fear of embarrassment or failure. People may avoid taking chances because they worry about being judged by others or experiencing negative consequences. This can lead to a sense of complacency and a reluctance to step outside of one's comfort zone.
Why does negative thinking happen?
According to the cognitive theory of depression, negative thinking is a primary symptom of depression, and can lead to a negative cycle of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, Negative thinking patterns are associated with a variety of mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety disorders.
It seems that each of us possesses an internal voice that guides us through our lives. It seems that we are similar to babies who babble and tend to follow the path of least resistance. This voice influences our choices and actions, and we often follow the lead of our current partner, friends, and social circle. We are often resistant to change because we want to maintain our relationships and are afraid of being judged if we deviate from the norm. Our desire to belong and avoid social rejection often leads us to stick to what we know and remain in our comfort zones.
It is important to recognize that all thoughts are neutral and that they are simply beliefs. By acknowledging this, we can create more room for ourselves in our experiences and approach life in a more neutral manner. We have to think about what we are thinking and more importantly, how we are thinking.
For example, you may have heard the trite saying that "belief" contains the word "lie." However, this phrase highlights an important point: beliefs are simply constructs and may not necessarily reflect reality.
Three ways our negative thinking can lead us into suffering
- Firstly, if we constantly fantasize or fixate on negative scenarios involving ourselves and others, we may end up feeling like victims and blaming others for our problems. This can create a cycle of negativity and resentment that can be hard to break.
- Secondly, we may try to avoid certain emotions or situations that make us uncomfortable, such as humiliation or responsibility. By avoiding these things, we may end up missing out on valuable experiences or opportunities for growth.
- Thirdly, it's important to be aware of our feelings and address them in a healthy way. One technique is to tap on the thymus gland, located in the middle of the chest, to help release negative emotions. Alternatively, techniques like Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or Invoke and Release® can be helpful for processing difficult emotions. By acknowledging and working through our negative feelings, we can move towards a more positive and fulfilling life.
Understanding our desires for control
What do we really want? At times, we desire things that trigger negative thinking, such as the need to control others, the need to control how we are perceived, and the need to control every moment.
#1 Control others
Whether we admit it or not, our minds want to control others and this leads us to impose our thoughts and judgments on them. It seems that we hold certain expectations for how people should behave, whether it's our partners, coworkers, children, parents, or even life itself.
For example, we hear people who complain about their partners, saying things like, “My partner should be more compassionate and kinder to me.” It’s always easy to judge when we’re not in their shoes. What if instead of wishing to have a more compassionate and kinder partner, we change our mindset to, “Maybe they do not know how to do that for me. I will try to be more clear with my needs.” We can shift our perspective by recognizing the importance of being compassionate towards our partner, rather than solely wishing for them to be compassionate towards us.
Sometimes we find it easier to vilify our partner instead of finding a common ground and giving some time to see if this is something that you're both willing to work on. If this approach fails, then we need to question ourselves, “Is this okay with me? If I stay, will I hold that person responsible for not being cared for?”
#2 Control the moment
An example of controlling the moment is when we become fixated on a particular outcome and feel anxious or frustrated if it doesn't happen according to our expectations. This could manifest in various aspects of life, such as a new business, a family vacation, or a book that we feel should have been finished by now. Instead of accepting the current reality, we may try to exert control by constantly thinking about what we could have done differently or what we should try next. This negative form of controlling the moment can lead to stress, anxiety, and a sense of helplessness.
If there are barriers in your way, it's important to focus on healing and overcoming them. We may fall into a shame attack and feel embarrassed about our flaws, believing who we are isn’t okay. This can make it difficult for us to feel confident in sharing our ideas and pursuing our goals. However, it's important to recognize that some people may not trust their own creativity and may resort to taking others' ideas. When pursuing our creative endeavors, we can focus on finding support from those who will help us rather than worrying about those who may try to steal our work. When we notice feelings of fear or rejection, we can use techniques like tapping or Invoke and Release® to help release these negative emotions
#3 Control our image
Controlling our image means that we don't take action because we're afraid of how we look. For example, if you're feeling like an imposter as an art teacher or trading options or writing a book or whatever it is, versus thinking that you get to bring your ideas and gifts into the world.
Our image is often an illusion that we get trapped in, seeking approval from others. However, the reality is that not everyone will like us. There will be those who do and those who don't, and most people will be indifferent because they are focused on their own problems.
What can you do about negative thoughts?
- Recognize negative thoughts: The first step to avoiding negative thinking is to recognize when it's happening. Pay attention to your thoughts and notice when they have a negativity bias. This awareness can help you interrupt the pattern and play with a positivity bias as a game.
- Surround yourself with positive influences: Jim Rohn's saying emphasizes that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with, so try to socialize with people who are interested in growing and learning, and have goals in life. This can include friends, family, coworkers, or even online communities. Being around positive influences can help lift your mood and mindset.
- Engage in healing work: Addressing past traumas and negative thought patterns through therapy, mindfulness practices, or other forms of healing work can help prevent negative thinking from taking over. Once you've done this work, you'll be better equipped to handle negative thoughts when they arise.
- Practice letting go: Adyashanti's advice to let go of demands in the moment can help alleviate suffering caused by negative thoughts. Practice letting go of expectations or judgments and allow things to be as they are. This can help cultivate a sense of peace and contentment.
- Challenge negative thoughts: When negative thoughts do arise, challenge them with evidence to the contrary. For example, if you're thinking "I'm a failure," look for evidence that contradicts that thought, such as past successes or positive feedback from others.
- Practice gratitude: Focusing on what you're grateful for can help shift your mindset from negative to positive. Take time each day to reflect on things you're thankful for, no matter how small they may seem.
What is tapping and how can it help avoid negative thinking?
Tapping is a mind-body method of tapping acupuncture points (acupoints) on the hands, face, and body with your fingertips while focusing on an issue or feeling you're hoping to resolve. This method may reduce stress and anxiety, improve performance, lessen cravings, and help resolve fears.
Tapping can help avoid negative thinking by interrupting the negative thought pattern and helping to release the associated negative emotions. By tapping on the specific points on the body, the body's energy system is rebalanced, reducing the intensity of negative emotions and promoting a more positive outlook.
Additionally, tapping can help to uncover and address the underlying beliefs and emotions that may be contributing to negative thinking patterns. By addressing these deeper issues, individuals can develop a more positive and empowering perspective on their lives and experiences.
Brief history of tapping
So back in the 70s, there was a doctor, Roger Callahan, and his technique was considered thought field therapy. Its proponents say that it can heal a variety of mental and physical ailments through specialized "tapping" with the fingers at meridian points on the upper body and hands. In 1987, Patricia Carrington developed a single-algorithm protocol called Acu-Tap. In 1995, who was a student of Patricia's, started doing Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). And through the years, we've made it simpler and simpler, aware that there's less tapping points.
It is important to see through the seduction to negative thinking because our thoughts and beliefs have a powerful impact on our emotions, behaviors, and overall well-being. Negative thinking can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, depression, and hopelessness, which can ultimately affect our physical health and relationships.
When we engage in negative thinking, we tend to focus on our weaknesses, failures, and problems, which can lead to a distorted and inaccurate view of ourselves and the world around us. This can further reinforce our negative beliefs and create a vicious cycle of negative thinking.
On the other hand, positive thinking can help us to focus on our strengths, successes, and opportunities, which can improve our self-esteem, motivation, and resilience. Positive thinking can also help us to develop a more realistic and balanced perspective, which can lead to better decision-making and problem-solving skills.
Resisting the temptation to negative thinking requires conscious effort and practice. It involves challenging negative thoughts and beliefs, reframing negative situations in a more positive light, and focusing on solutions rather than problems. It also involves cultivating self-compassion, gratitude, and mindfulness, which can help to reduce stress and promote a more positive outlook on life.
Overall, resisting the temptation to negative thinking can have a profound impact on our mental and physical health, as well as our overall quality of life.
What is Invoke and Release®?
Invoke and Release® is a powerful energy psychology healing protocol to help alleviate the trapped trauma held in your body. It is a healing modality that releases our un-integrated past held in our mind, body, and auric field. Invoke and Release® is an easy to use tool to lower stress, improve your sleep, support your immune system, and remove energy blocks to restore your inner peace.
One way to further address negative thinking is by joining the Invoke and Release® Healing Circle, a community dedicated to healing and personal growth. Through this platform, individuals can connect with like-minded individuals, receive support, and engage in healing practices that promote positive thinking and self-awareness. So, if you're struggling with negative thinking, consider joining the Invoke and Release® Healing Circle to start your journey towards a more positive and fulfilling life.
Rethink Mental Illness Negative Thinking
Healthline EFT Tapping
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Adyashanti (2006). Emptiness Dancing Paperback
Geronilla, L., Tamura, N. R., & Church, D. (2016). Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) improves multiple physiological markers of health. Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, 21(4), 216–220. https://doi.org/10.1177/2156587216651390
Patricia Carrington History of Meridian Tapping and EFT