Negative Thoughts: Friend or Foe? Here's How to Tell The DifferenceNone By Derrick Carpenter
I recently led a webinar for Happify on Overcoming Negative Thoughts, where I outlined four strategies for loosening the grip negative thinking has on our minds. This article is part one of a four-part series reviewing these strategies in more detail.
In our own triumphs and struggles to attain happiness, the nonstop commentary of self-talk running through our minds can be a real burden. Particularly when we doubt our abilities, question our worth, and worry that we’re the only person on Facebook not having the best weekend ever, our negative thoughts are often the very obstacle that stands between us and a greater sense of well-being. So how do we overcome them?
Where Negative Thoughts Come From
First, let’s be really clear about what negative thoughts are, or even thoughts in general. Our brains are constantly trying to make sense of the world around us. Whenever we’re navigating the aisles of our local grocery store, our brains are not only interpreting the information that our five senses are picking up—the smell of the ripe strawberries reminds you of Mom’s shortcake recipe from your childhood—but also constantly processing our own mental world—the sudden uncertainty whether or not you locked the door when you left home or the stress about the work piling up this week, plus all your impending deadlines.