Working on your mindset IS your recovery. As you think, you will be.
There is an automatic assumptions that negative is realistic and positive is unrealistic. Susan Jeffers
Negativity. It’s not a fun topic.
Negativity is something that a lot of us think about.
Our minds can be negative sometimes. I did a Google search and Changing a Negative Mindset yielded over 7.5 million hits, and Dealing with Negative People yielded nearly 10 million.
Negativity is something that a lot of us think about and it can get under our skin.
The news can be very negative. Politics, well… negative seems to be how people get voted in. And gossip, it can make people feel closer together at another person’s expense. And sometimes gossip can destroy relationships.
We get so used to negative news, that positive news and positive thinking seems unrealistic.
Why is negative so powerful?
I polled a few of my friends on why negativity is so powerful. My research panel came up with three reasons why negativity can be so addictive:
- It makes you feel better about yourself. Negativity and gossip is a way to make us feel better because we are doing better than another person.
- It is a way to protect ourselves. If you are focused on negative news, you can better prepare yourself for difficult circumstances.
- Because the negative feels more rewarding than the positive. We can develop a negativity bias which can feel more rewarding than positive news. Negative news like explosions, political issues or war are much more exciting than firemen who saved yet another building or an office worker who put in an exemplary days work.
Negativity and your recovery
A negative mindset can shoot holes in your recovery. The one thing we know about negativity is that it will effect you negatively.
- It can make you more prone to illness
- It can increase your sense of fear, anxiety and even paranoia
- It can make you think yourself sick
- It can become a self-fulfilling prophesy
- It can be passed on to other people
- It can impact your mental health, your stress level, and your sense of happiness
- It can make you more jaded and less empathetic
How can you change a negative mindset?
Working on your mindset IS your recovery. As you think, you will be. Working on your thoughts, your mindset and your self-statements will lead to a better you. If all that you do this year to improve yourself is exercise more and work on your mindset, you will be a different person within a few months.
Ask yourself if you really want to change your mind?
If you aren’t sure whether you want to make a change, it will be difficult to make any kind of change.
Begin with kindness.
If you fight against a negative mindset, you will unintentionally reinforce it. Our mindsets change easier when we recognize that they once served a purpose. Be kind to yourself and be thankful that you recognize where you want to go.
Take time to dream about the life you prefer to live.
Think about it, write about it, paint it, draw it, tell it to others, listen to/read biographies of others who live a story like the one you prefer. Whatever way you can express it, tell your better story. You may need to join a support group, see a therapist, talk to a coach, or meet with a mentor in order to build a story that is rich, detailed and full enough. A better story can lead to a better self, but it takes work.
Talk to yourself differently.
Choose one negative statement at a time and work to change it. Challenge thoughts that have that theme rather than challenge every negative statement that you think. For example, if your brain automatically tells you that you are a screw-up, challenge that one thought by saying out loud, “I am having the thought that I am a screw-up. Instead, I am becoming a better person, I am learning from my mistakes.” Once it becomes more comfortable, move to the next thought (ie: thoughts about how lovable you are, or that you are a victim, and so on) and challenge it.
Nurture your growth mindset.
Invest in the book Growth Mindset by Carol Dweck. Remember that you have choices you can make to improve your life. Your choices may seem insignificant, but even one choice per day (to be more healthy and take a walk, to avoid gossip, to challenge a negative thought) to improve yourself will have significant results.
For even more ideas on how to change a negative mindset, see Recovery: Embrace Your Endings.
Parts of this post were adapted from How to Change Your Story and Supercharge Your Recovery.
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Keep it Real
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