We have about 70,000 thoughts a day, and for most people, over 85% of them have a negative ‘tone’ to those thoughts.
There are many types of negative thoughts. Some are easier to discharge than others, and others just seem to refuse to go away – not to mention the negative news that we combat regularly on our multiple digital devices.
First, we can mention the ’Little Negatives’, which come out of nowhere and seemingly have no real importance to them. Think of road rage, for example. The ‘Little Negatives’ are usually very annoying, but we don’t tend to spend much time working on resolving them, because they are fleeting; they leave you with a sour taste. They affect your general sense of well-being.
The ’Existential Negatives’ present themselves when you think of your life in an overall perspective. These are not really annoying, but rather saddening, they give you a sense of ‘heaviness’.
Mostly, people have a sense of hopelessness while they think about what it would take to resolve these types of negative thoughts, because they believe they need some drastic switch in their lives to solve the problems generated by these ‘Existential Negatives’. When these thoughts remain unattended, they can create more and more jadedness over time. For example, the negative thoughts that occur as a result of someone thinking about the 40 hours they spend weekly in a seemingly meaningless job. An employee like this who ‘slaves along’ to pay his/her bills Monday through Friday „9 to 5” without a sense of purpose. These types of unattended Existential Negative’ thoughts can lead to questioning the meaning of their existence.
The third group of negative thoughts are the ’Trigger Pattern Negatives’. These are the bad ones because these automatic negative thoughts could destroy relationships, and once they are triggered, they can really mess with your head. These are probably the types of negative thoughts that you should be most motivated to change. Although they have a predictable pattern, they usually start with something small and not very meaningful. Once they get rolling, these ‘Trigger Pattern Negatives’ will take over your entire conscious mind and you will feel like you are completely out of control. For example, when your spouse does something that irritates you, but you never really address it. You pick on this single negative gesture/detail/sentence and dwell on it exclusively, and as a result, anything else your spouse does seems to irritate you. Your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors the entire beaker of water.
Negative thoughts are like rip tides; when you encounter one and you don’t deal with it in the proper manner, it sucks you in deep to the more dangerous, open waters. Also, just like rip tides, if you fight them the wrong way, they will drain you, tire you out and you will risk drowning. An unaddressed negative thought will influence your next thought, or the situation you are in, and eventually it will completely turn your whole day into a negative experience.
Going head on with a negative thought is usually hopeless and you will find the same thought resurfacing again soon, over and over again.
However, negative thoughts can be handled with what I call the ‘Negative Cultivation Methods’. I look forward to sharing these in my next blog.
In the case you have any experiences you would like to share with us, please do so. On a last note, describing negative thoughts in a written format could be the first step towards resolving them.