Have you ever noticed how we hold on to negative emotions or negative events that happen in our lives, not letting go even when we get blessed with positive things or positive events later on?
- Like winning the big lotto and all what they could think about were the taxes to pay?
- Or someone graduating from Harvard complaining that it was a cloudy day?
You know the type: Stuck in the negative!
I remember when I started training I would have 50 people in the room, at the end reading the evaluations if I had ONLY one (1) person out of the 50 complaining from the room temperature (which by the way had nothing to do with me). I would obsess for days if not for weeks about it, forgetting that I had 49 positive feed back
This is when it hit me – I forgot about the 95% positive and concentrated it on the 5% negative doing a huge injustice to myself
Then looked around and found that most people do that - they concentrate on the 5% they do not have instead of enjoying the 95% - how cruel is that?
The reason why we get stuck in negative is FEAR- Fear of:
- Not being good or smart enough
- Disappointing themselves of loved ones
- Being rejected
- Being blamed
- Being ashamed or embarrassed
What WE believe we are is what we become. We feel what we think and we think what we feel. We do not see the world as it is, we see it as we are
The truth is that our brains are wired to notice the negative things in life, if we give them free reign to become our main focus and do nothing else; then complaining will rewire our brains to notice and create even more negativity. Emotions are created by motion- Emotion is basically Energy + motion
It has been said in the past that in training Baby elephants, traditionally were tight by a thin rope through their front leg to a stake in the ground. (It goes without saying that capturing and training baby elephants is horrible in itself... so hopefully this practice has long gone out of style.)
Because the baby elephants are small, and though it is a thin rope, they will struggle and pull at first, but eventually they realize that they can't break the rope and they'll give up.
Elephants grow fast, of course. Before long, they become the giant elephants we are used to see. The interesting part is that despite f their size mentally they still feel that they can’t break the thin rope which still keeps them in their place and never try to break free as they conditioned their brain and mind (through negative thinking) that they are incapable to break free
If negative thoughts or negative emotions take hold of you, they will control your whole life, your relationships, your dealings, your work and everything will be tinted through dark glass, and the end result is being stuck in an unhappy mode
Why do we get stuck in negative mode?
Our brains automatically reacts to whatever we perceive as threats either physical, psychological, or emotional by releasing chemicals in our brains called “hormones”
The reaction is a flight, freeze or fight response to protect us. It is a fact that in the last two (2) Million years of human evolution since the caveman; our brain never developed or evolved.
As human beings, we had to protect ourselves against lions and tigers which meant death – so our brains had to act as a survival tool – staying alert of the danger rather than enjoying life so it developed a tendency to negativity bias.
Our brain is more accustomed to threats than enjoyments or opportunities, acting as self-defense mechanism to protect ourselves
Our brain has 3 compartments
1- The bottom part: the fat part is your REPTILIAN brain that is where the Fight, Flight or Freeze occur as our the basic instincts for protection
2- The second part is the LIMBIC or MAMMALIAN brain – it houses our emotions and short term memory
3- The third or newest part that exists only in humans in the NEO CORTEX or CORTICAL brain that houses our critical and analytical thinking, innovation, creativity in summary houses our intellect
So what happens when fear and limiting beliefs control our life it stresses us out, that starts a reaction that releases chemicals or hormones called the “Stress Hormones” as the Cortisol and Epinephrine.
These stress hormones flow with our blood and shuts down our second brain or Mammalian brain where the emotions are housed. It goes to the “fear centers”, which act as brakes on the "motivation centers"and our decision making is no longer a clear process and it stays in our short term memory.
Once this reaction is triggered by the “Alarm system: in our brain or “Amygdala”- which is an almond shaped group of brain cells or neurons that act as a switchboard for anxiety, once it perceives a threat, the amygdala signals the rest of our brain to prepare our body to protect itself, it reacts by beeping like an alarm releasing stress hormones provoking our “Body war system” or the “Sympathetic system”.
As a result, our heart beats faster to pump blood to our legs and arms, we begin to breathe quickly to increase the amount of oxygen delivered to where it is needed, we sweat to cool off our body, and i.e. we prepare for an attack.
Our brains are muscles so we can build the muscle through exercise/ practice and repetitions.
· Complaining feeds and grows the muscle of negativity
· Gratitude and be thankful feeds and grows positivity
Neurons that fire together fire together creating new pathways, laying pavements in new roads to new directions – so repetitions of a certain behavior create reinforcement either negative or positive, the more the road to these neural pathways are traveled the more they become natural to follow in the future.
The Brain always find what we focus on- so we need TO STOP thinking about what we do not want.
The Brain cannot differentiate between negative and positive, our subconscious just hears what we think or say and acts on it – so we need to feed it positive to get positive actions.
When our brain detects that something is happening outside of the normal range, our anxiety triggers the brains’ "alarm error mechanism” that is why it tries to keep us in
the comfort zone or status quo for protection
The brain remembers failures, to not repeat them from the past to avoid pain that produces cortisone that gets the brain to move towards the negative side
Another side is feeling guilty to be happy because somewhere growing up parents, teachers, friends, family have hammered into our head that we have to suffer to be happy or pay a price for happiness – this is called a “belief system of limitation”
Once our mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it
And we start building “Muscle Memory”
How to overcome negative thoughts:
Gratitude: Being grateful reinforces positive thinking that creates new roads in the brain to positive pathways
Remain in the positive vibes (as Compliment). It has been reported that it takes at least 10 seconds to transfer positive feelings from a short term memory to a long term storage memory
Affirmations though its effect only temporary it is an external superficial effect working on the conscious not the unconscious, but it does help to create positive thoughts
Know your WHY, find your passion and purpose
The power of “I Am” you become what you utter after “I am”.
Accept yourself for who you are it will help you re-script your beliefs, your habits, your emotions, your perceptions, your clarity, and your confidence.
Living in the present – not the past nor the future
Be aware of negative thinking when it sneaks up on you, replace them with positive thinking, it will not happen overnight, it is done one step at a time
By retraining our brain, we will stop looking at our potential from the top of a mountain and we will start actually living it
Our beliefs, culture, values, emotions, habits, and perception shape our life. Only when we envision positively the future, and what the possibilities it might hold that we are capable to overcome our limiting beliefs, and to think about changing our lives to the better
So Be the LOVE, be the KINDNESS, be the GRATITUDE, be the SUCCESS, be the BEAUTY, be the ABUNDANCE, be the LIGHT in this world
You have a light inside of you, go out and share your light with the world.
Let me know what negative thoughts you are fighting?
You can listen my Podcast about overcoming Negative thoughts
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Sahar Andrade, MB.BCh
Diversity, Inclusion, and Leadership Consultant-
Transformation Coach - The Fear Whisperer
Sahar Consulting, LLC
Reinvent Yourself To Greatness (Product of Sahar Consulting, LLC)
I help Professional, career oriented women entrepreneurs and start-ups stuck in their lives, unemployed , individuals, indor in a job they hate, or in transition, struggling with figuring out what to do next, spinning their wheels in the same place; to show them how regain control of their lives, conquer their fears by moving out of their comfort zones that results in a journey of discovery to define their purpose & passion and become the person that achieves both happiness and success in their lives.