How to change your negative mindset to positive.
Computers and the human brain
You are probably familiar with the human brain being compared to a computer. This comparison comes from the fact that they are both complex machines that run on electricity. A computer operates on hardware designed and built by an engineer for a pre-determined set of functions, and the wires that make up the machine are set in place. On the other hand, our brain functions are quite the opposite of this. Our brains are living and have the ability to change and progress constantly. Amazingly, new wires can be created. The process of your brain changing and progressing has no limits for anyone in life- no matter your age, race, or gender, the brain does not discriminate. It just wants to see you do well. The key to understanding and harnessing this power is knowing how to master your mindset!
What is mindset?
Above, you can see the definition of ‘mindset’. Mindset is crucially vital because our way of thinking and our attitudes and beliefs affect everything we do, feel, think, and experience. Our mindset influences our perceptions and how we move through the world. One central element of life that mindset can affect is our mental health, commonly occurring when an individual thinks negatively. This is categorised by a pattern of adverse thinking about yourself and your surroundings. While it is normal for everyone to experience negative thoughts occasionally, repetitive negative thinking that seriously affects how you feel about yourself and the world and even interferes with work/study and everyday functioning could be a symptom of a mental illness. It has been found that consistent evidence suggests that repetitive negative thinking can produce and maintain a state of depression, anxiety, chronic worry, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The process of repetitive negative thinking is a scientific term called ‘rumination’, which is a causal mechanism involved in developing and maintaining psychopathology, such as the above mental health disorders. Not everyone who engages in negative thinking has a mental illness, just like not everyone with a mental illness has constant negative thoughts. However, negative thinking can damage your mental health and quality of life.
Qualities of unhealthy mindsets include:
Limiting your ability to see possibilities and opportunities.
Seeing challenges and setbacks as obstacles that are too great to overcome.
Giving up easily or feeling like a victim of your circumstances.
Other than pre-existing mental health issues, three additional leading causes to negative thoughts include:
Anxiety about the present: People often worry about what other people think of them, and negative thinkers will often come up with the worst-case scenario. For example, we always believe that no one likes us. This derives from fear of losing control.
Fear of the future: People often fear the unknown. This often leads to ‘catastrophising’, always predicting failure and disaster.
Shame about the past: Negative thinkers often dwell on past mistakes and failures more than others.
This last point of shame about the past directly correlates to a term developed by scientists called ‘negative bias’. This is the process of our brain naturally giving weight to and remembering negative experiences or interactions more than positive ones. However, when an individual wants to change their mindset, good news – they can! It was said previously that our brains are like computers, yet unlike computers, brains can be rewired. Learning about your mindset can alleviate mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, as well as feelings of low self-worth, frustration, anger, and sadness. When you understand your mindset and challenge your thoughts, you free yourself from being controlled by what you think. Your thoughts do not determine you!
Qualities to help you detect a healthy and positive mindset:
Allowing yourself to see the world as it is, and not as you wish it would be.
The ability to face challenges and setbacks with resilience.
Allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes and grow from your experiences.
How to change your mindset
Positive mindsets are crucial for improving mental well-being and minimising stress and have also been found to lead to better cardiovascular health. You may be wondering how to change your mindset from negative to positive. Here are some ways you can do precisely that:
Engage in a healthy lifestyle: Eat clean and get your 10,000 daily steps in!
Positive self-talk: Affirmations, manifestations, and meditation are always a great helping hand in this
Surround yourself with positive people who encourage you
Start your day off right: Make your bed and have a shower
Do not take things too personally
Here are just a few ways to help gain that positive mindset; however, every individual is different and specific practices will work for some and won’t for others. Ultimately, it is essential to listen to what your mind and body are telling you, as they know you the very best at the end of the day! Hope and self-belief are essential factors in positive thinking and good mental health; therefore, do not give up hope because if you want to change something about yourself and put your mind to it, anything is possible.