Correct negative thinking. If you could only make one resolution in 2019, please resolve to tackle your negative thinking! Simply put: Don’t let negative thoughts about yourself remain in your brain without correcting those thoughts. Humans experience between 3000 and 70,000 thoughts per day. Unfortunately, 60% to 80% of those thoughts are negative – and many of those negative thoughts are not fully based in reality. For example, when your thoughts involve all-or-nothing terms, such as “I’m never going to amount to anything,” or, “Everyone at work dislikes me,” these thoughts are likely to be at least partially untrue. Even worse, uncorrected negative thoughts tend to repeat themselves, returning to haunt your mind over and over again.
Why the fuss? Negative thinking is related to a long list of mind-body complications. Let’s start with the physical complications. Negative thoughts can lead to low self-esteem, which can lead to chronic stress, which can lead to hormonal imbalance and ultimately damage your immune system. Negative thinking can also affect your personal achievement by lowering your performance at work or school.
Uncorrected negative thoughts get hard-wired in the brain. Think of the front part of your brain as the editor of a newspaper. Other parts of your brain develop stories and send those stories to the front part of your brain for approval. If the story goes uncorrected, it gets published – or hard-wired, making it part of your personal narrative. But the good news is that you can rewire your brain! Just like the editor of a newspaper can make a reporter rewrite a story that isn’t factual, you can do the same thing with your negative thoughts.
How to “rewrite” or correct negative thoughts. First, catch yourself in the midst of negative thinking. Negative emotions – like anxiety, anger, or sadness – are cues that you should look for unrealistic negativity. Second, the next task is to literally “rewrite” or correct your thought so that it is based in reality. For example, change “I’m never going to amount to anything” to “I’m feeling discouraged today, but I can’t let that keep me from trying.” Third, as you make it a habit to correct negative thinking, you will start an upward trend of positive thinking – which has all kinds of healthy benefits. So, resolve to tackle negative thoughts and rewire your brain for the better!