Glass Half-Full or Glass Half-Empty: Defeating Negative Thoughts
Many times when we tell someone or even ourselves that we should think positively, we do not really consider the impact that this has on our mental and physical health. Everyone experiences life changes and events that produce stress and negativity – perhaps a job loss, a relationship struggle, a health issue or even a natural disaster. It is easy to fall into a dark hole and develop very damaging thoughts.
According to the American Psychological Association, people with greater resilience handle negative thought and stressful situations better than those who are not able to adapt in times of crisis. In other words, being able to look at life as 1% circumstance and 99% attitude is a perspective that will enable people to “bounce back” after a stressful event. People who have their glasses half full rather than half empty will fair much better when life throws them a curve ball.
We even seem to get stressed about the ”little” things in life like a long line at the post office, someone taking our parking spot, or being stuck in traffic behind a tractor. While none of these things are probably going to kill us, we sometimes let negativity drive our emotions even over such small inconveniences.
Garnering control over our emotions is the key to success when it comes to handling anxiety induced negativity. Research has clearly demonstrated that our thinking patterns and the way we react to certain situations are both directly and indirectly related to our quality of life. Getting overworked about things that are not in direct control causes stress hormones to rage through our bodies, raising blood pressure while causing muscles to tighten. Being able to laugh instead of boil inside with anger could be a life saving habit.
Being negative about certain situations disables clear thinking. According to the Mayo Clinic, thinking positive makes it easier to deal with difficult situations. Without clear thinking, people may make irrational decisions and do and say things, only to regret it later. People who have an overabundance of negative thinking are more likely to have a pessimistic outlook on life. While some circumstances in life are seemingly out of our control, understanding how to best respond in tense situations is the key to beating stress. Learning how to laugh instead of scream when the power goes out in the middle of your favorite show will help you deal with the loftier crises when it comes your way.
Are negative thoughts cutting your lifespan in half? It may be time to change how you think.