How Negativity Sabotages Your Success

Negative beliefs, thoughts and attitudes have a huge impact on your life. At Pathways, we want to make sure you have the best tools at your disposal to achieve your goals. We will show you how transitioning from negativity to a more positive outlook can improve every aspect of your life.

What is Self-Talk?

Self-talk isn't limited to just your thoughts – it also includes your beliefs and feelings about yourself and the world around you. Self-talk can be either conscious or subconscious, and it affects everything that you do. Negative self-talk leads to a negative attitude that causes you to sabotage yourself. Positive self-talk, on the other hand, helps you to feel better about yourself and puts you in the right frame of mind to achieve success. Learning to correct negative thinking patterns is all about seizing control of your inner dialogue and breaking thought patterns that you have been building and developing your entire life.

How Does Negative Thinking Affect You?

According to an article in Psychology Today, negative thoughts have a big impact on brain function. Not only does negative thinking make it harder for you to think logically, but the fear of failure that is often associated with negativity slows down activity in the cerebellum. This results in a reduced ability to come up with creative solutions to the problems you face.

That fear of failure that negative thinkers often have also affects the left temporal lobe of the brain. Not only do your fears drag your mood down, but you may suffer from a bad memory or poor impulse control.

When you make a habit of negative thinking, you are essentially re-wiring your brain. As you focus on all those fears and worries, the brain actually begins to change, strengthening the synapses and neurons that are most closely associated with negative thought.

The changes in your brain are what makes it so difficult to overcome a negative attitude. You aren't simply working to correct negative thoughts – you are working against thoughts and beliefs that have become so deeply ingrained that they are a part of the structure of your brain.

Re-Training Your Brain with Positive Thoughts

Fortunately, the changes made to your brain by negative thought processes are reversible – you can use the power of optimism to undo the damage caused by years of fear, worry and anxiety. Scientists have found that positive people have much more activity in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain.

When you think of positive thought like a workout for your brain, it's easy to see how simply thinking good things and striving to have a positive attitude can reshape your outlook on life. As you begin to use optimism and positive affirmations, you will be firing up neurons and synapses that haven't seen a lot of use. Just like physical exercise, as you strengthen your neural pathways, it will become easier and easier to have a positive attitude.

Using Positive Affirmations to Improve the Quality of Your Life

Positive affirmations are the tool you will use to improve your negative thinking patterns. These affirmations come in the form of short, optimistic statements. A good positive affirmation will target the particular beliefs that are the foundation of your negative thought processes. As you repeat your positive affirmations, your subconscious mind will take hold of these new positive thoughts and your negative thoughts will begin to disappear.

Affirmations are widely used by counselors because they have an incredibly powerful effect on your entire life. As you work on correcting your negative self-talk, you will gain self-confidence and you'll be better equipped to handle the stress in your life. With less negativity, you will find that your relationships with family, friends or your spouse will become less strained, and you may find that you have a greater interest in social activities.

Instead of telling yourself that good events happen because of chance, you will start to believe that good events happened because you worked to make them happen. Since you worked hard to make great things happen, you'll be more willing to keep working towards positive goals. People who change their thought processes from negative to positive often find new doors opening in their lives. Before, a career change or a great new relationship may have seemed impossible, but with a positive outlook, you will have the tools to make those things happen.

The best part about positive affirmations is that you should start to see the benefits immediately. Some people have to work harder than others to completely eliminate negative thought patterns. However, even on the first day, you should see some improvements to your confidence while the fears and worries that you've held for so long will start to fade.

Your New Optimistic Outlook Brings Health Benefits Too

Positive self-talk isn't just about improving how you feel about yourself. As you use positive affirmations to improve your thinking patterns, you'll also find that it comes with several health benefits. Happy, positive people make healthy lifestyle choices. You'll be more likely to exercise and eat right. Studies have also shown that optimists have better immune systems.

According to research from the University of Pittsburgh, positive people live longer too. Over eight years, the study found that women over the age of 50 who were optimists were 14-percent less likely to die than pessimistic women. When the researchers looked at women who died from heart disease, the positive thinkers were 30-percent less likely to die.

If you need the power of positive thinking in your life, Pathways would like to help you. Check out our e-book, Positive Affirmations to Change Your Life. In this book we outline the steps you need to take to banish negative self-talk. Our book tells you everything you need to know to overcome your doubts and fears. Try it today, and start working towards your goals! You can also visit our website to better understand how Pathways can offer real-life recovery.

Michelle Amerman
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