The Damaging Effects of Negativity and How to Overcome It

Negative Woman Holding Out Hand

The Damaging Effects of Negativity and How to Overcome It

When mental health comes into the picture, most people think of mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, PTSD, and others. But beyond these conditions, pessimism is often an uncited reason for poor mental health. People who have high levels of negativity are most likely to suffer in their physical health, including conditions such as digestive issues, cardiovascular problems, and slower recovery from sickness. These conditions impact people’s lives every day and cause heavy long-term effects, and to achieve better mental health, overcoming negativity is the best solution.

What Causes Negativity?

Having a negative mindset is often a product of insecurity or depression. Negative thoughts can often stem from life events, illness, personality disorders, and substance abuse. Negativity can become habitual, where frequent criticism, denial, and cynical thoughts can encourage sadness and continue the cycle, distorting the ways we see the world. Negative thought patterns, however, can be broken, and learning to recognize them in your everyday life can help bring out a more positive mindset and improve your life.

These patterns can manifest themselves in many ways, including:

  • Cynicism: Cynicism generally stems from a general distrust of others, often working to avoid conformity, and having a general lack of hope or faith in others in their lives.
  • Hostility: General signs of hostility against others, unfriendliness, and unwillingness to develop relationships, often stemming from feelings of defensiveness and animosity towards others.
  • Filtering: When thinking about memories or experiences, our brains in a negative mindset will often filter those memories, only remembering the bad memories instead of the full picture.
  • Polarized Thinking: Polarized thinking tends to often from unrealistic expectations, such as the belief that if someone is not perfect, then they must be horrible.
  • Jumping to Conclusions: Negative thinking can also cause someone to jump to conclusions about the circumstances, conversations, or events around them.
  • Catastrophizing: Catastrophizing tends to result as an end result of negative thinking, believing that disaster is inevitable and nothing can resolve it.
  • Blaming: To subvert scenarios, blaming others is often an action made by those with negative thinking, especially when the person perceives themselves as the victim within their own lives.
  • Emotional Reasoning: Emotional reasoning places the emotional state as the place of reason, defining what’s real and what isn’t.
  • The fallacy of Change: The fallacy of change refers to the belief that when circumstances or people change, then that’s where happiness can be obtained.
  • The Reward Fallacy: Seeking out or believing in a reward based on hard work and sacrifice can result in a negative mindset if the reward isn’t given or achieved based on those values.

Overcoming Negativity Through Therapy

Overcoming negativity can take years of hard work and effort, especially as negativity can become an easily taken habit influenced by our environment, social lives, and life events. Through speaking with a therapist, you can get tips on how to gradually remove excessive negativity from your life and maintain a healthy, balanced perspective. By changing our negative thinking, we can choose happiness and make it a part of our daily lives.

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April is the founder of Prestige Mental Health and is a board certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP-BC) who is qualified to practice primary care and psychiatry. She is passionate about providing quality, compassionate, and comprehensive mental health services to children, adolescents, and adults. April specializes in psychiatric illnesses including but not limited to depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, PTSD/trauma, bipolar, and schizophrenia.