Have you ever wondered why your brain is genetically programmed to be negative? Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a negative thought loop and you don’t know how to get out? Would you like to shift your mindset and break this loop?
The human brain is predisposed to falling into an endless loop of negativity. Coupled with the fact that there’s a lot of negativity in the world, this can burden you. People have to deal with many responsibilities that create a lot of stress and anxiety. Negativity is horrible for your mental and physical health. So, what can you do to stop this negative thought loop? What is the one mindset shift you need to implement in your life?
What Is The Negative Thought Loop?
The brain is a feedback loop system. In fact, it isn’t just the brain, but the whole body is a feedback loop system. Whenever there is a difference between what a person experiences and the ideals you set for yourself, the brain urges you to correct the situation.
The brain is wired to know what’s wrong. It notices mistakes, errors, mismatches, and things out of order. The cognitive dissonance between what you want and what happens incentivizes the brain to take action. Yet, the brain doesn’t notice when you get what you want. Or, to be more precise, it detects, but it doesn’t give any value to that achievement.
When the brain doesn’t generate a signal, you don’t even notice that you achieved something you desire. Of course, there are some exceptions. When you finally get what you want after a long time of struggling, you feel positive feelings, like relief. The brain only signals when something’s wrong. Because of this, you can quickly get overwhelmed by negative thoughts.
When something negative is troubling you, you tend to think about it repeatedly. That’s when a negative thought loop occurs. When you focus only on the negative, you’ll begin to see everything in a bad light. You even start to judge yourself negatively for no apparent reason. Neuroscientists have theorized that the brain has a negativity bias.
This term means the human brain is wired to be negative. They also found that your thoughts can affect your health because of the mind-body connection. Negative thoughts cause stress and anxiety, which in turn can impact your physical health. Because of this negativity bias, the only way to effectively break a negative thought loop is by rewiring your brain.
How To Shift Your Mindset And Break A Negative Thought Loop
You need to override the genetic predisposition of your brain and train yourself to engage in positive thinking. Here are five ways to effectively rewire your brain and stop negativity loops.
1. Create A Positive Environment
Your surroundings greatly influence what kind of thoughts run through your head. To avoid nurturing negative thoughts that the brain can use to create negativity loops, you need to surround yourself with positivity.
People who struggle to keep positivity in their life are often influenced by externalities. The most overwhelming influence often comes from the people you surround yourself with. If your friends and family are negative, that will inevitably affect your thoughts.
Negative people can destabilize you psychologically. They can bring issues into your life that you wouldn’t otherwise have. You risk getting into fights often and having to deal with negativity constantly. This situation can trigger a negativity loop.
If you struggle to keep your positivity, it might be helpful to reflect on the company you keep. If your closest friends and family are the reason you struggle with optimism, it’s time to put some distance between you. Some of the people around you are straight-up toxic, and you will need to cut ties with them for good. When you make space for positive people in your life, they will give you reasons to become more optimistic.
Your hobbies and daily activities can also determine how much positivity you experience. If you engage in harmful activities daily, negativity will become part of your new normal. To harvest positive thoughts, you need to do things that bring you joy. This way, you will prove that it can achieve positivity in your brain.
2. Practice Gratitude
How you think and engage with the situations around you determines how you view life. If you start being thankful for all the good in life, your brain will start seeing everything through a positive lens.
Gratitude is born from the recognition that something good happened in your life. It is the process through which you acknowledge and appreciate the goodness you have. This emotion usually appears spontaneously. Some people are genetically predisposed to feel gratitude. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to practice it.
There are three main steps if you want to learn to be grateful. First, you need to observe and notice what makes you feel good. The second step is to affirm the good you receive. When something positive happens, please make a note of it. Lastly, you need to acknowledge the benefits those positives bring to your life. Studies have found that one way to go through these steps is to keep a gratitude journal. Writing things down can improve your optimism and sense of well-being. So, if you have trouble learning to be grateful, start keeping a gratitude journal.
There are many other ways through which you can practice gratitude. You can meditate, you can make a list of things to be grateful for, you can reflect on the past. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you create a gratitude routine. At first, you will need to make a conscious effort to be grateful. But after a few weeks of practicing it, you will find that your brain will be rewired to be thankful.
Practicing gratitude will make you more observant of the positives. It will make you let go of negativity easier, thus helping you stop the brain’s negativity loop.
3. Be Aware Of Negative Thoughts
Many people struggle with harmful and toxic thoughts because they aren’t aware of them. In today’s society, negative thinking has been normalized, sometimes even praised. Many people think that being pessimistic will prepare you for the worst while motivating you. In reality, all it does is make people accept negative thoughts instead of getting rid of them.
There are a few negative thinking patterns that people seem to think are normal. Overgeneralisation, labeling, emotional reasoning, and jumping to conclusions are just a few of them. They are patterns that go through everyone’s brain.
All these types of thoughts are irrational. They often stem from misconceptions about how you should evaluate and judge situations. Or they are the result of certain stereotypes. Because of this, it’s hard for people to understand how negative they are.
All these thought patterns trigger a negativity loop. And they have harmful effects on your day-to-day life. For example, blaming yourself Can trigger depression or anxiety and make you less confident in your abilities. And all a negativity loop does is normalize these thinking patterns further.
Write down those negative thoughts. That way, you can’t allow yourself to ignore them, and you can keep track of just how negative you are throughout the day. Once you write them down, try to figure out how they affect you. Understand why those thoughts form, and try to address the root cause.
When you work on the root cause of your negative thoughts, you can start letting go of them. Thus, you can break the negativity loop and make room for positive thoughts.
4. Be Proactive In Breaking the Negative Thought Loop
Being aware of what bad thoughts you have is a start. But if you want to break a negativity loop, you need to be proactive. The best way to take action is by using self-improvement techniques.
Try to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the essential human ability to be fully present. It means being aware of what’s happening around you and inside your head. It relies on the idea that you should be analytical rather than reactive. Mindfulness is an ability that every human possesses. But that doesn’t mean you should depend on your genetic predisposition towards mindfulness. Instead, it would be best if you tried to practice it every day.
Mindfulness is often practiced through meditation. Take a few minutes at the beginning of every day to sit in a quiet place and reflect on your thoughts and feelings. Try to be connected to your feelings and listen to your body. Doing this daily will help you rewire your brain, thus inducing a mindset shift. It will make you more aware of your needs and desires. Therefore, it enables you to start acting in your interest rather than reacting to your environment.
Practicing mindfulness through meditation is a great way to train your brain to be more positive. To release negative thoughts and break the negativity loop, you need to act positively. And the best way to do this is by being proactive.
5. Use Thought Stopping Techniques
Sometimes, the best way to break a negativity loop is by using thought-stopping techniques. Distractions can be precisely what you need to calm yourself down and reset your brain.
When you feel overwhelmed by negativity, you sometimes don’t have the energy to fight those thoughts. At that moment, you need a break. It would help if you stopped those thoughts until you feel ready to tackle them head-on.
To distract yourself, you can exercise, read, cook, or whatever else you feel will relax you. Focus on that activity, and try to ignore the negative thoughts. And if that doesn’t work, you can use thought-stopping mantras. For example, you can use visualization techniques, like picturing a stop sign.
After you take that break, you can come back to tackling the negative thoughts with renewed energy.