Photo by Soragrit Wongsa on Unsplash

Everybody struggles with automatic negative thoughts, even the brightest of people. However, nurturing and holding onto them isn’t the best decision.

“You are your own worst enemy.”

When people are left alone with their thoughts, they will likely ruminate rather than list their best achievements. Whether the failures are far more minuscule than their counterparts, they take up the most space in the brain. It’s human nature. People are evolutionarily hardwired to focus on the negative, zooming in on what needs to be corrected. Only then will they learn to change for the better, increasing their chances of survival and flourishing.

However, are people genuinely doing more when welcoming negative thoughts?

The Limit To The Brain’s Survival Mode

There is a fine line between thinking negatively for survival versus cynicism as a product of an all-or-nothing pattern. For one, the former can be beneficial when properly regulated. But the latter is only detrimental regardless of the thought’s severity.

The brain feels at ease when it focuses on the negative. It sounds contradicting, but this is the brain’s way to fight off uncertainty. When people ruminate, it gives them the perception that one is coming up with a resolution to a problem. The more people obsess about what happened or what could have happened, the less cynical and more beneficial the negative thoughts appear. They give the illusion that the person is merely processing or contemplating a solution.

However, while such can be perceived as rumination, things are always limited.

When people constantly ruminate, they spiral out of control. These thoughts begin to weigh twice the burden and permeate the mind until every other thought is the same kind. When this happens, the mind becomes accustomed to cynicism until it’s all it can think of.

This is when a problem arises.

Instead of only obsessing about what could be, the mind begins to process automatic negative thoughts, which can be detrimental to individuals in the long run. They become deeply engraved in a person’s mind and gradually become a core belief, a part of the self’s identity mistaken for reality. When this happens, these thoughts become haunting and tough to eliminate.

The Detriment Of Automatic Negative Thoughts

Why is it essential to regulate one’s thoughts?

Robert Mendonca strongly promotes positive thinking, as he associates it with connecting closer to God. Beyond the usual religious methods, he has advocated that taking care of oneself is also a strong means of building up one’s faith. In short, he means that to become good Christians, people must also learn to be good to themselves.

In the book he’s written in the anomaly of a joyless church, the author focuses on concepts that expound on self-love and eliminating negative self-talk. But why is this a focus on religion and faith? The answer is simple: people can’t love others unless they learn to love themselves. A factor contributing to this concept of self-love is the presence or absence of automatic negative thoughts.

Self-love is the solid foundation for becoming good people. Thoughts may be detrimental to oneself, but this will also influence how one is to others. People may only learn to appreciate and care for others if they do so themselves. Love can’t be given if it’s not primarily in abundance within. This is why one’s mental health is crucial in maintaining harmony in society.

Hurt people hurt people.

It’s the way humans are. Those who cultivate negativity within will reflect this gloominess in their environment and toward those around them. Although one may say automatic negative thoughts are personal, they can also be relayed to others.

Aside from the fact that the mind technically is people’s constant companion, what people allow to marinate in their minds can reflect their reality. Thoughts are fundamental to human beings. Not only are they precedent to action, but they also impact emotions and behaviors. This is why most people pay attention to the state of their mental health: When one nurtures cynicism, automatic negative thoughts begin to become obstacles to their survival and success.

Thoughts massively influence people. Hence, even if these are only welcomed in passing, automatic negative thoughts should still be assessed and addressed.

People shouldn’t welcome these destructive thought patterns, thinking they won’t affect their physical reality because sooner or later, they will. They will rub off into people’s emotions, making them more sensitive and quickly ticked off. These will reflect how they behave, and their negative perspective of situations influences how they will participate. Above all, cynicism will also impact people’s physical well-being.

Perhaps the mind will always be above the body. That is, it will always precede the latter and influence most of its processes. How people perceive their reality will come true. This is why it’s crucial for people to nurture positivity so it will reflect in their reality.

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