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Time For Mental Health: Breaking The Cycle of Negative Thinking




Mental health is an important topic that often goes overlooked. Negative thinking is a persistent problem that has become increasingly common in today's world. It can have consistent consequences for physical, mental, and emotional health - in general, for our whole well-being and life. When we focus the majority of our time on negative thoughts, we can develop or increase stress, anxiety, or even depression. This includes negative self-talk, which shapes our emotions, attitude, then behaviour, and finally how we are and view ourselves. This also contributes to our self-esteem, our performance, motivation, and how we treat ourselves when under pressure. However, with practice and determination, it is possible to overcome negative thinking patterns and develop positive ones, which have a long list of benefits and lead to a happier life. By starting effective strategies and being both consistent and persistent, we can take back control of our lives. Additionally, it is crucial to examine our mental health and understand its underlying causes and impact.


The causes


One of the primary causes of negative thinking is a person’s internal dialogue. The self-talk they engage in often focuses on negative thoughts and feelings, which can lead to a negative view of the world. Negative thinking can also be caused by an environment. If a person is surrounded by people who think negatively, it can be difficult to maintain a positive mindset. Additionally, an experience of stressful or traumatic situations can also lead to an increase in negative thinking. It is important to emphasise that some people are naturally more prone to negative thinking than others.


The effects of negative thinking


Negative thinking has a variety of effects on our mental and physical health.

People with mental health issues tend to have weaker physical health and experience some symptoms such as headaches and fatigue. People thinking negatively can have higher levels of stress and lower levels of self-esteem.


There is also a relationship between negative thinking and anxiety or even depression.


Negative thinking patterns can also lead to a decrease in motivation and productivity, which can have a damaging impact on the ability to achieve goals. This can also contribute to a lower level of employment and income, and an increase in the probability of experiencing social isolation.


We suffer more often in imagination than in reality. - Seneca

How to stop negative thinking


You can overcome negative thinking patterns through effective strategies and, most importantly, by being consistent. But, before you start, remember to take it step by step. It's not an overnight solution and it shouldn't be. It's a gradual process that requires a lot of dedication and resilience. Don't expect that when you start this inner change, you will instantly have more positive thoughts or emotions as you want them to be. You will have ups and downs, but that is okay as long as you are dedicated and continuously improving your inner conversations.


Strategies


The first stage is to recognize your thinking patterns and be mindful. Observe your thoughts and note when they start to turn negative. Spot the recurring thoughts you have throughout the day.


Analyse them, and ask yourself if these patterns are helpful or are true or if you just telling yourself stories and lies. Challenge them with evidence and an alternative perspective. Now, it would be useful to know about our RAS brain function. It filters all information and allows only important ones. Your RAS works based on the things you concentrate on. It sorts through the information and only shows you the parts that are significant to you. So basically, if you focus on / believe in negative thoughts, it will show you things from that perspective and make you not see or pay attention to events that do not support your belief. That is why it is important to analyze your thoughts and challenge yourself to determine if what you are telling yourself is true.


Change your thoughts. Replace negative patterns with positive, more realistic and empowering ones. At first, if it feels like a lie or makes you uncomfortable, just reduce the number of negative thoughts, and gradually add more beneficial ones. Think more often about your strengths, and achievements, what you love, and what made you happy today. When we are facing hard situations, instead of looking at the negative aspects of a situation, we can focus on the positives, such as how it can help us grow, teach us a lesson, or give us an opportunity to help someone else.

When you start to overthink, write down your thoughts, it will help you to get more clarity and a fresh view.


Additionally, it would be helpful to incorporate some daily well-being habits, such as meditation, deep breathing, and gratitude. It helps to reduce stress and calm down your thoughts and nervous system. Also, try to do more things that make you happy and trigger positive thoughts and emotions.


You have to remember, during this process, that you have the power and should control your mind and emotions, not the other way around. You are not a slave to your brain, you are a master and should always use it to your advantage!

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