Why Do I Always Think Negatively?

I often wondered why it is that we are always thinking in negative terms and why it is so difficult to think positively.

The main reason of course is that your brain is hard-wired to think negatively to protect you. Your brain will continuously look for things that could go wrong so that you are prepared for whatever the day throws at you.

This came from evolution: we had to be aware of dangers such as getting attacked by wild animals, our enemies attacking us when we least expected it, and worrying as to where we are going to get our next meal from. (For some of us today not much has changed).

The other reason is that it has to do with our five main emotions: Anger, Shame, Sadness, Fear and Joy. Notice that only one of these is a positive emotion, the rest are negative.

That is the reason why we have to do twice as much positive thinking as we do thinking about negative things. Our negative emotions outweigh or positive emotions by 4 to 1.

Thinking positively does not come easy, it takes hard work. You need to keep your mind focussed on the positive which will then get you into a habit. On the topic of habits, it can actually take up to 80 days to change a habit. Some habits are easier to change than others so may only take 20 days.

A quick way if you want to try to change your mood from negative to positive is the 20/20/20 method;

·        Exercise - 20 minutes of continuous fast paced walking every day.

·        Positive thoughts - 20 minutes of looking forward to good things, thinking about your happy place, having positive thoughts.

·        Laughing and smiling - 20 minutes of laughing and/or smiling every day.

Notice how the first one is a physical exercise, the second is a mental exercise, and third one combines a physical activity with a mental activity. Our psychology and physiology are inextricably linked, to make a fast change, you have to work on both.

Don't be hard on yourself if you are struggling to change negative thoughts into positive ones, you are after all fighting evolution.