26 Jan 12 Negative Thinking Traps – How to Overcome Negative Thinking
12 Negative Thinking Traps –
How to Overcome Negative Thinking
Negative thinking plagued me for years in my relationships, my businesses, my view of God, and my marriage. I was so concerned with what other people thought of me that I couldn’t focus on the truth of what God thinks of me or the truth my wife, Diane, would speak to me. Instead of focusing on who God says we are, I lived with unrealistic hindering mindsets. Below I’ve listed 12 Negative Mindsets and examples of each so we can change them.
Negative thinking attacks all of us. Anyone who says they don’t experience negative thoughts is lying. The difference is choosing to engage in negative thinking and entertaining those thoughts. You have no control over every thought that enters your mind. The good news is that I have 5 Solutions to Break Negative Thinking Patterns as you read on.
You may wonder, “What Causes Negative thinking?”
Whether negative thinking patterns are from yourself, a childhood experience, trauma, religion, the devil, or the universe/God, we don’t have 100% control over our thoughts. What we have control over is how we respond to those thoughts; this is excluding mental health disorders. It may seem difficult because thinking patterns are often engrained in us but it is my hope and belief that all can be well.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. - 2 Timothy 1:7
There is a direct link between making money in business and your mindset, thoughts, and view of yourself.
The human tendency is to avoid anything that causes us to feel pain or vulnerability and to instead numb ourselves whether it be with food, drugs, alcohol, buying more training, entering “library mode”, online shopping, and at least one of the 12 Negative Thinking Traps.
The more we can become comfortable being uncomfortable, the more normal it seems to experience big results in regards to business. It is our own negative thinking patterns that hold us back. Once we expose the negative thinking traps of the devil we can fight back.
How to Stop Negative Beliefs
The first step to stop negative thinking is to have an awareness of our negative thinking. We can’t change what we aren’t will to accept is happening. Here are 10 Negative Thinking Patterns I expose in this article; remember, awareness is your first step to stop negative thinking.
The goal of this blog post is to explain how to stop negative thinking. I prefer to focus on the solution to negative thinking, which starts in the acceptance/awareness stage. If you don’t believe you don’t have any negative thought patterns, great! I still encourage everyone to read the list of 12 Negative thinking patterns and use it to take a self-evaluation or inventory of yourself.
12 Negative Thinking Traps
- Perfectionism – This is a refusal to accept any standard short of perfection. It is not allowing yourself to make mistakes or take constructive feedback. Automatic failure syndrome is attached to this type of thinking. It’s the idea of unless things are perfect, you experience negative self-worth & poor self-esteem. This mentality makes it hard to experience a sense of achievement and satisfaction in life/work. This mindset also discourages you from trying anything new; at best, you go through life with a foot on the gas and the break at the same time, and that’s no way to drive. This person only does things they believe they can be good at.
- All of Nothing/ Black & White Thinking – This is the tendency to think in extremes. For entrepreneurs, this often manifests as, “I’m a success, or I’m a failure, this is amazing or absolutely terrible.” People feel trapped between the two extremes and are unable to move forward because every step involves perceived pain. This type of thinking is damaging to your self-esteem. You can become hypersensitive to the opinions of others and make it difficult to accept criticism without insecurity.
- Mind Reading – Trying to infer what is going on in someone’s mind without asking them to clarify. Sometimes you might be right about people thinking a certain way about you, but the majority of the time, those thoughts are inaccurate. The truth is that we want to get to a place where we are unaffected by people’s views and opinions of us. Acting like you can tell what people think about you creates and anger and negative thoughts. The truth is that it is often your imagination getting upset over a situation that hasn’t occurred yet or irrational thoughts.
- Personalization – This is the trap of taking everything personally. It’s a distortion where a person believes that everything others do or say is some kind of direct, personal reaction to them. It’s a “me-centric” view of the world that creates the thought, “everything is about me.” This thought pattern can breed insecurity and assumptions of what other’s thoughts are. Example: Your colleague is frowning, and you’re sure it’s because of your email you sent last week.
- Blaming – When other people, situations, events, or thinking finds the reason that others are at fault. A path to healing is finding acceptance and not making these occurrences take on more mental significance than they should. A person should be able to accept failures and successes and take responsibility when things go wrong.
- Good Enough/ Complacency Mindset – The person is satisfied with a low level of success or achievement. This mindset is “ok with coasting.” Ok, and satisfied with “good enough.” This Negative thinking trap leads to a life of mediocrity, poor work ethic, apathy, and carelessness. Ex: I don’t need to call these leads; they do get emails. Ex. Doing 80% of this work is good enough; no one will know if it’s not my best work. There are a few things that make someone more susceptible to this trap:A) Working Long Hours with little to none breaks
B) Lack of training or understanding of work
C) Existing Culture of your work environment can perpetuate this mindset (corporate, coffee shop, church, your location, or even online)
D) Lack of Energy or Fatigue
- Catastrophizing – Irrational thinking that something is far worse than it actually is. It is essentially ruminating about irrational, worst-case outcomes. Catastrophizing can generally take two different forms: making a catastrophe out of a current situation and imagining making a catastrophe out of a future situation.
- Overgeneralization – One bad experience dictates who you are as a person, and you live or die based on outcomes. Something is difficult now, so you assume it will always be that way. One sales promotion/page doesn’t work out means = you suck at marketing and should give up. It is a course of thinking where you apply one experience and generalizes to all experiences, including those in the future (Very Well Mind).
- Negative Lens – No matter what happens, there is always something to complain about or point out that is wrong/negative. For example, the broadway show could have been breathtaking. The guy in the next row is coughing, so it’s the “worst experience ever.” Another example, your email broadcast only made two sales, so you decide to give up forever. The truth is that you got two sales and have room for improvement.
- Minimizing & Discounting – Matters of life that are important are consistently discounted. When you or others have an achievement, something to celebrate, or a goal is met, the minimizer doesn’t celebrate or acknowledge it. This thinking prevents you from further developing self-esteem and valuing yourself/your work.
- Self Sabotage – This is the “Screw It” mentality. One small thing is going wrong, and the thought embraces, “oh well, I already am screwing up so might as well do this next bad thing.” “Things are going well, I’m not used to this, something is probably going to go wrong soon.” Might as well ruin it myself before I find out if I actually will succeed or fail.
- False Self Thinking – This is the mentality that you must adapt and be who other people want you to be to gain acceptance, sense of worth, or feel liked by others. In reality, what this does is perpetuates a false image of oneself by continuing to present yourself as someone you are not. It’s the exhausting experience of having to wear a mask and pretend to be someone you are not.
Five solutions work well for me on How to Break Negative Thinking Patterns. The powerful solution for any Christ-Centered Entrepreneur is to grow in the truth of our identity in Christ! Our clients work on this through a course called Biblical Affirmation Mastery. It’s a 31-day course of 5-10 minute videos specifically designed to dispell negative beliefs and embrace our Kingdom Identity in Christ. You can learn more about the course here.
6 Solutions to Negative Thinking Traps
The solution is simplistic, so don’t overthink why this will or won’t work. Give the solution a try for 30 days and reevaluate for yourself. I strongly recommend practicing all five solutions to experience a lasting breakthrough. Here are six ways to overcome negative thinking patterns and beliefs.
- Self Acceptance and Love – “This means that you need to accept who you are and not who you think you’re supposed to be. This also means that you need to accept your good qualities and your bad ones. And yes, everyone has both good and bad qualities” (Huffpost, 2017).
- Gratitude – Have a gratitude journal with three things you are thankful every day. Practicing gratitude can seem overly simplistic, but the change comes over time. We can’t just be grateful for one day because it takes consistency to develop an attitude of gratitude. It’s not easy, especially when things don’t go the way we want. When you look for something to be grateful for in the midst of adversity it brings glory to God. Gratitude allows you to be less affected by the ups and downs in life. I find this practice doesn’t work when people fail to practice gratitude daily.
- Replace Negative Thoughts with Truth – Sounds easier said than done, right? The 1st step to replacing negative thoughts is creating awareness. Once you have awareness, you can decide what you want to do with your thoughts. This practice can take time, especially for those of us who have struggled with negative thinking traps for most of our lives. I would suggest starting with Biblical Affirmation Mastery, a 31 Day Video Course specially designed to help you reject beliefs/thoughts and adopt the empowering truth of a Christ-Centered identity in 5-10 minutes a day.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. - 2 Corinthians 10:5
- Thought Stopping – This is how you challenge your negative thoughts. Once you begin to notice the negative voice you can challenge it. This is basically, in your mind or out loud you give a ‘STOP’ command when you have negative thoughts. The Bible empowers us by telling us to cast down all imagination
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. - James 4:7
- Do a Christian Digital-Detox – A digital detox is basically fasting. Fasting is the willing abstinence or reduction of some or all food, drink, behavior, or action for a specific period of time. Another option is to follow the example from health.comI believe that the biggest contributor to what causes negative thinking is actually social media and cell phones, kind of ironic for us to say since I am a digital marketing coach.
- Identity in Christ – Embracing your identity in Christ is what I believe to be the most powerful method of breaking free of negative thinking. I always want evidence for why something is true. When I take a Biblical truth and try to embrace it, my mind naturally wants to reject it. My mind is trying to come up with reasons why the beliefs are not true. But your identity in Christ comes from the Bible, our source for absolute truth. So the Bible is your immediate evidence for the truths of who you are. Bible verses are evidence for your mind why things are true.
Negative thinking doesn’t have to rule your life. Today if you found yourself with any of the 12 Negative Thinking Traps above, please take steps to correct it. At a minimum, start with Biblical Affirmation Mastery.
Leave a comment below if you would like us to pray for your breakthrough.
Rev. Ron Gelok III
P.S. Need a coach to help you breakthrough? Get a Free Coaching Call Here