Thinking Positive: How Positive Thoughts Reinforce Positive Behavior
The way we perceive things in our mind impacts our behavior in interesting ways. Our perception about things is built through the process of self-talk that we communicate to our thought process. For example, if someone perceives himself to be incompetent with respect to any skills, then s/he may engage in negative self-talk. Through this negative self-talk process, bad feelings are created which ultimately influence one’s behavior.
Negative thoughts and feelings usually have negative outcomes with respect to behavior. People who are consistent in making negative comments about themselves eventually go into isolation, lack motivation for and interest in productive or recreational activities.
Harboring negative thoughts about oneself could also impact you physically. For example, if you are in normal weight but keep commenting on yourself as skinny, then you may actually try to eat more and can become over weight.
Negative self-talk fulfills your need of making predictions about scenarios. For example, if you are about to give a job interview and anticipate that you will perform badly in it, then your mind will automatically create multiple and terrible scenarios wherein you end up failing that job interview. By promoting these negative impressions in your mind, you actually influence your behavior, eventually causing one of those scenarios to become true. You lose confidence in yourself, and with this lowered self-esteem you end up wanting to isolate yourself instead of testing your capabilities by going out and trying new things.
To avoid this perpetual cycle leading to your self-destruction, there are proven ways and techniques recommended by psychologists and counselors through which you can convert this process of negative thoughts and feelings into positive thoughts and reinforce the positive behavior.
Assess The Trigger Of Your Thoughts
Negative thoughts are initiated by some trigger. You may think negatively at specific times or you may be thinking negative all the time. The best way to measure the extent of negativity is to jot down your negative thoughts on some piece of paper. Whatever negative thoughts come to your mind, you need to immediately write it down so that later you can analyze the nature of your negative thoughts.
Negative thoughts may be triggered because of multiple reasons, such after attending a social event or even because of social media use. According to research, pictures and other information posted on social media these days has greatly impacted the way people think about their own selves. We start comparing our lives to those who are supposedly living amazing lives, at least according to their social media profiles, which causes feelings of inadequacy in ourselves, leading to unhappiness.
The Nature of Negativity Triggers
It is very important to analyze the nature of the triggers which give birth to negative thoughts in your mind, and to review their origins. It is possible that you might not be feeling physically fit some day and negative thoughts are initiated because of it.
For example, people suffering from hypertension often assume negative scenarios for almost every situation. Likewise, people with high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in their body find negativity to be a close ally. Sometimes, your circle of friends may create a toxic environment for your mind, promoting negative thoughts. Therefore, instead of presuming your mind to be the center of negativity, it is important to analyze the triggers of negativity in order to ensure its not originating from the external environment.
Reinforcing Positive Behavior
After analyzing the triggers of negative thoughts, it is now time to tackle them head-on. You need to identify activities which create happiness within you. Discovering your interests will help you discover what makes you happy, resulting in the creation of positive thoughts in your mind, and also what makes you unhappy and causes negative thoughts to take over.
For example, if social media is triggering negative thoughts in you, then it is best to restrict your use of social media for some days and instead engage yourself in some different activity which creates happiness in you. There are many different activities which you can engage in, such as cooking, reading, painting, gardening, or it could even involve meeting an old friend. Reinforcing positive thoughts is very important to keeping your mind distant from the triggers which give birth to negative thoughts. Positive thoughts create good feelings and reinforce positive behavior.
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