Negative Thinking Increases Depression
I’ve been called pessimistic and negative all my life, to which I always replied, “I’m not pessimistic-—I’m realistic.” Having negative and painful experiences (especially if there are lots of them) causes us to expect the worst. As we all know, bad things do happen, but not always.
My justification for my negative attitude was, “If you expect the worst, not only are you not disappointed or caught off guard, but sometimes, you’re pleasantly surprised.” It made perfect sense to me, but what I didn’t realize is that sometimes your negative thinking is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You expect bad things to happen, so you don’t allow good things to happen, and you subconsciously invite bad things into your life.
This is especially true with regard to relationships. The fact is that no one enjoys negativity. Even at my most negative, I didn’t appreciate anyone else raining on my occasional parade.
You’ve been around negative people. You know what a downer it is. Maybe the guys who never called again just couldn’t deal with our doom and gloom. And maybe our negativity is what attracted all the jerks to begin with!
I’m not suggesting we should be all Pollyanna, expecting life to be a bowl of pitted cherries. It’s not. Sometimes you bite into a cherry, find a pit and chip a tooth. However, most of the time, those cherries are yummy and all your teeth stay intact. We should focus on the 100,000 yummy cherries rather than the one chipped tooth.
We’re wired, then programmed to think the way we think, but it’s not carved in stone. We don’t have to continue to think so negatively. The first step in changing the way we think is to identify the negative thoughts. We’ve been doing it so long that we don’t even realize it unless we pay close attention.
For example, let’s say you go for a job interview. You’re waiting in the lobby and you tell yourself, “I should’ve worn my black pants. These blue ones are too tight. And the blue in this shirt isn’t a perfect match. What does that say about my organizational skills? Why am I even here? I’m not qualified for this job. They’ll never hire me.”
Thoughts like those affect your attitude, self-esteem and the way you present yourself. If you aren’t hired, it will most likely be because you presented yourself as a loser-—not because you are one. You believed you weren’t qualified for the job, so that is what you conveyed. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will, either.
Make a conscious effort to think positively about yourself and speak those positive thoughts. Tell yourself, “I am an intelligent, attractive and competent person. I am loveable, loved and appreciated. I am capable of doing any job for which I am trained. I am worthy of good things including love, praise, forgiveness and prosperity.”
You talked yourself into believing the negative things, so if you tell yourself positive things, eventually you can and will believe them.
Most of the time, our negative thoughts about ourselves come from cruel things that others have said. Sometimes those things are harder to overcome, but it is possible. And remember: Just because someone says something doesn't mean that it's true!
Regardless of how the negative thinking began, you don’t have to allow it to control your life. The best way to learn how to change patterns of thinking is to see a licensed therapist. Talk therapy is an invaluable tool in dealing with thought patterns, and it can be instrumental in helping you overcome negative thinking, and that will decrease your depression.
You didn’t start thinking negatively yesterday, so don’t expect to change it overnight. I’ve been working on it for the past couple of years and I’ve made progress, but I still revert to my old ways of thinking when I’m not careful. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the effort.
My husband is a very positive person. He has been my role model and my helper, and I’m so thankful for the changes he’s helped me make toward positive thinking. If possible, surround yourself with positive people. Just as negativity seems to “rub off” on you, so will positivity.
It still shocks me when I hear positive and hopeful things come out of my mouth! If a “half empty” person like me can become more positive, you can, too!
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