• 5 Surprising Positives About Negative Thinking

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    5 Surprising Positives About Negative Thinking

    Negative self-thoughts are never far off during recovery. You may be constantly plagued by feelings of shame, fear, guilt, anger and hopelessness which make sobriety difficult. But these thoughts don’t have to be devastating. Not if you calmly acknowledge them, and learn from them. This allows for critical and objective thinking which is so crucial to recovery. Here are 5 positives about negative thinking that might surprise you.

    1. Acknowledging Your Negativity is OK

    Some researchers believe that suffocating negativity with positivity simply makes it worse. A study at the University of Waterloo found that people with low self-esteem felt better when listing their negatives than when they simply repeated positive affirmations. For the researchers, this indicated that overly positive self-talk is at odds with what people truly feel about themselves and only serves to reinforce their negativity. So if you don’t like your life but repeatedly affirm that you do, you won’t get rid of the disappointment, shame and guilt that you associate with it. You’ll merely strengthen your negativity.

    2. Self Honesty is Beneficial

    Negative self-talk is highly beneficial when you are truly honest with yourself and are able to identify what is holding back an area of your life, no matter how painful this is. Once you are past this, you’ll be able to easily unearth other problem areas of your life. And don’t be afraid to use words that positivity enthusiasts see as forbidden, words such as “can’t”, “don’t”, “not” and the like. These words tell it like it is: “I don’t like the way I look”, “I’m not happy with my job”, “I can’t be friends with that person anymore.” You are being brutally frank and acknowledging what you need to change.

    3. Critical Thinking Leads to Success

    Research shows that people who worry the most at work may perform better than those who don’t. Additionally, people who visualize themselves giving the perfect interview or presentation, for instance, may not do so in the end. However, the chances of success are higher if they consider all the reasons why things could fail and then work on them.

    Research also shows that people perform better in the face of “Can I?” rather than “I can”. This spurs them to cover all the possible problem areas and apply themselves more.

    4. Anxiety Leads to Action

    It’s clear then that the anxiety borne of negative thinking leads to action. It’s a problem solving approach which leads you to develop skills which will be invaluable in other areas of your life.

    If you worry that you are poor, you are more likely to look for ways of changing the way you manage your finances than if you don’t worry at all. Many who worry about their weight, do something about it.

    5. Negativity and Positivity Work Well Together

    Pundits of positive thinking say you should suppress your negative self talk, while supporters of negativity say the opposite. But studies have shown that either strategy is too extreme on its own. Instead experts recommend that you balance the positives with the negatives as you would, work and play.

    For instance, if you want something badly, imagine yourself attaining it. Then imagine all the things that could go wrong with your plan. In this way you are fusing your negativity with your positivity and not being too extreme either way. Laboratory experiments found participants who did this were better able to rid themselves of bad habits and improve their lives than those who chose to be completely positive or completely negative.

    It is clear then that negative thinking is a normal phenomenon which is with us all our lives. When we accept that fact, we are better able to channel it effectively for our own good. It works still better when combined with positivity.

    References

    Grant, A. (2012). The positive power of negative thinking. Retrieved March 17, 2016, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/give-and-take/201310/the-positive-power-negative-thinking

    Roberts, J. What’s the truth about using affirmations? Retrieved March 17, 2016, from http://affirmations.gems4friends.com/articles/truth.html

    Sasson, R. The power of affirmations. Retrieved March 17, 2016, from http://www.successconsciousness.com/index_00000a.htm

    The truth about affirmations. Retrieved March 17. 2016, from http://thesecrettruthabout.com/the-truth-about-affirmations/

    Williams, R.B. (2012). Why don’t my positive affirmations work? Retrieved March 17, 2016, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201210/why-dont-my-positive-affirmations-work


    Benhilda Chanetsa has a BA Honors degree in History and Sociology and a teaching diploma, both from the University of London. She was a high school teacher for 11 years, and chief subeditor at a weekly newspaper for four years. She’s been a freelance lifestyle writer for the past 10 years and has two nonfiction e-books published on Amazon. The books are on overcoming negative thinking and surviving abusive relationships.

     


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