Negative Thoughts: Causes, Effects, and Strategies to Overcome Them
Negative thinking can take a toll on an individual’s mental health and overall well-being. In this article, we dive deeper into the causes, effects, and strategies to overcome negative thoughts with Damini Grover, a counseling psychologist and founder of I Center for Counseling and Wellbeing in Delhi.
Causes of Negative Thinking
Negative thinking is innate in humans as it developed from the days of cavemen. Humans looked for threats in their environment like a lion attack or a lightning strike causing them to develop a negativity bias. Today, the human brain has become more sophisticated, and the threats we face are different. Negative thinking, thus tries to help us solve a problem or prevent potential danger. People suffering from general anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or depression are prone to negative thinking.
Effects of Negative Thinking
Negative thinking can cause physical and emotional harm to an individual. When constantly thinking negatively, people tend to worry and find it hard to focus on the task at hand, which can affect productivity. Negative thinking can lead to stress and tension affecting the body, leading to physical problems such as chest pain and headaches. Negative thinking can also cause agitation and friction in an individual’s relationships. Moreover, it brings about emotional and physiological changes that can lead to low self-esteem.
Strategies to Overcome Negative Thinking
The aim is not to stop negative thoughts but to engage in practices that reduce their frequency and intensity. The first strategy is to accept negative thoughts without trying to fight them. The second strategy is provided in naming the thoughts and defining them objectively. Grounding oneself and coming back to the present can be helpful. Engaging in breathing techniques, spending time with nature, and recording one’s thoughts helps control negative thinking. Thought-reframing is also recommended to challenge negative thoughts when the mind invents a problem.
Finally, it is important to invest time, effort, and patience into developing healthy practices to combat negative thinking. Embracing preventative measures can help maintain overall health and well-being.
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