The Power of Negative Thinking

Is thinking negative thoughts all bad? The answer is a surprising, "No." There is a  positive power of negative thinking when practiced the right way. It really shows its value as an aid to achieving health and life goals when observed with discernment. With all the attention on positive thinking and law of attraction, the upside of negative thinking often gets overlooked and disregarded. In truth, learning to tap into its wisdom can be enlightening, instructive and even motivating.

A fair amount of pessimism is normal and even healthy. Your subconscious mind has a natural bent for the negative; it is hard-wired to alert you to to danger and to keep you safely in your comfort zones. It is more likely to pay attention when something is wrong, to seek out negatives, and to remember them and give them more weight than positives. 

Negative thinking patterns may also be normal, but they are not healthy. They are habitual and are more a strategy for playing small and staying stuck instead of a strategy for stepping up, taking responsibility and risks, and making things happen.  

There is a big difference between habitual thinking patterns that put you (and others) down, keep you stuck, and do nothing to make your life better, and using the power of negative thinking to your advantage when facing upcoming situations. 

It can also be affirming and healing to tap into your habitual negative thoughts in order to glimpse your subconscious programming and to release the past and create better feeling thoughts for a happier future. 

Tapping into the Power of Negative Thinking

Your thinking patterns and your emotions are windows into your sometimes elusive subconscious mind. They are indicators of your beliefs, self-esteem, your disposition and personality. For example, constantly telling yourself, "I don't deserve, am not worthy, good things are for other people not me" point to limiting, painful beliefs about yourself and your world. Talking to yourself this way demonstrates the power of negative thinking gone awry. 

Even so, there is a positive side to thinking negative thoughts. When you tune into it, you can learn a lot about yourself. What you hear yourself saying alerts you to what parts of your life are not working, what needs healing, and what you want instead. 

When you accept all your thoughts and emotions, including your negativity, as allies instead of enemies, you are in a position to learn from them and shift them to better feeling, more productive thoughts. 

These two exercises will help you expand your awareness:  

Note: If you have persistent dark thoughts, thoughts about hurting yourself or others, or suffered a severe emotional trauma, please consult with a medical professional. Doing these types of self exploration exercises may not be right for you at this time.

Exercise One - Observing Your Negative Self Talk:

the power of negative thinking

For a week or two, jot down as much of your negative self talk and comments made to others, and the feelings and emotions that accompany them. You may want to carry a small notebook or voice recorder with you so you can journal throughout the day.

Observe your thoughts without judgment or attempting to change them. Do not censor or try to change them. Think of this exercise as an exploration and a learning experience. 

After that period, read over your journal and look for patterns.  Notice how you view life, what you say to yourself and others, and your states of mind. Your focus for this reflection is your unhealthy, unproductive thinking patterns, not occasional, random thoughts. 

Exercise Two - Exploring the Positive Side of a Negative Situation

The power of negative thinking can be destructive to your mental health when you obsess over the past and let it take the joy out of your present and future.

If you are churning over a past problematic situation, and want to feel better about it, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

thinking negative thoughts
  • What do you tell yourself about this event? Write it down, get it all out. Then ask yourself the following questions. Dig deep.
  • What did those events teach you about life? 
  • Is what you learned really accurate or is it a perception? Give evidence.
  • How did you change your thoughts and behaviors in response? 
  • How did those responses benefit or hinder you in your life? 
  • Are they still useful or are they limiting you? Ie: How do they affect your relationships, career, happiness, finances and health?
  • Do the thoughts and feelings you carried forward into your present reveal parts of yourself that need healing? Which parts?

Doing this kind of reflection can be very powerful. It may also be a good idea to share your responses with a trusted friend, coach or therapist. Realizing the positive side of the negative, helps you feel better about what happened.

When you have completed your exploration and feel ready, you can begin to release and shift to more positive, productive thoughts.  Many people report being healed of physical and mental distress when they take steps and release their limiting beliefs and negative emotions.

The power of negative thinking lies in your willingness to listen to the message your mind is giving you, and using your inner talk to your advantage. When explored and understood, thinking negative thoughts alerts you to very real risks you may have to face. Defensive pessimism strategies can help you make good decisions, reduce risk, and get better results.  

When you practice awareness and observe your negative thoughts, you will realize emotional wounds that need healing, limiting beliefs that hold you back, and stinking thinking patterns that interfere with your well-being.  

Your persistent negative thoughts let you know of change that needs to happen, conflicts that need resolving, and actions that are best taken. They provide you the opportunity to make conscious decisions and heal emotionally and mentally. In this light, it is easy to see how the power of negative thinking can be very positive.

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