Nanice Ellis is a contributing writer for Wake Up World.
It is not a surprise that all negative thinking is fear-based, but did you know that chronic negative thinking that goes on day-after-day creates stress that can damage the body and mind, resulting in disease or worse? Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, the mind/body has a hidden defense that safeguards us from the extreme damage of fear, anxiety and worry. That defense is depression.
Depression is your body’s defense mechanism against the ill-effects of chronic negative thinking. Depression ‘turns down’ all emotional responses. Without depression, your body must deal with the constant fight-or-flight stress response that is the result of chronic negative thinking. Depression literally depresses the effects of negative thinking by numbing-you-out to fear, but depression is not selective so you also become numb to other emotions, such as love and joy.
Depression, of course, is not good for us, but the body’s first course of action is survival. If your survival is threatened due to the stress of chronic fear caused by fear-based thinking, it will do what it needs to do in order to save you.
Maybe you have blamed depression for your negative thinking but, I promise you, it is the other way around — it is your negative thinking that has caused depression. This is good news, because it means that by correcting improper thinking, you can rise up from depression.
In order to wake up from depression, you must overcome the fear-based thinking that has created the need for depression. This means that you can turn off depression by turning off negative thinking.
The Mechanics Of Creating Your Reality
Depressed or not, most of us don’t even realize that we are thinking negatively because it seems to us that we are just reacting to the events in our lives, but our negative thinking is really creating those events first and foremost. There is no question of the chicken or the egg — first negative thinking then negative events. If you want to change your life, you must change your thinking. If you wait for your life to change, in order to change your thinking, you will be thinking negative thoughts forever. Whether you are aware of it or not, your thoughts create your reality. But how?
Every conscious thought that you have is recorded by your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind does not question or argue with the validity of a thought. It literally takes your word for it. So, if you say, “I am tired or I am broke,” it just says, “Yes, you are tired — Yes, you are broke,” and your thoughts are accurately recorded.
Your subconscious mind then communicates directly with the quantum mind that manifests your reality. Just like the subconscious mind, the quantum mind always says yes.
Now, a single isolated thought does not usually manifest in reality, which is really good news because if that was the case, every time we are upset with someone and wish them ill, illness would fall upon them, and we don’t really want that. At humanity’s current level of collective consciousness, it takes repetitive thoughts or beliefs in order to manifest anything in our lives.
Having said this, it is still our thoughts that create reality, and if we have negative thoughts that we think every day, those thoughts are going to manifest. Now, they might not manifest exactly as we think them, but negative thoughts always manifest in some sort of negativity. In other words, thinking negative thoughts about your neighbor may not result in a negative experience with your neighbor, unless he is on the same vibrational page, but those negative thoughts may manifest in car problems or issues at work, for example. We might not make the connection between our thinking and the events in our lives but negative thinking always begets negative experiences. This is the law of attraction, and it works regardless of if we understand how it works or not.
Life Is A Perfect Mirror
Negative thinking is simply thinking about what you do not want, while positive thinking is thinking about what you do want. Ask yourself, do I focus more on what I do want or what I don’t want? For the majority of the world, the answer is the latter. Most people are unconsciously addicted to negative thinking. Negative thinking is not just a bad habit, it is a terrible addiction, and probably directly responsible for every other addiction known to man. After all, when we are addicted to food, TV, drugs, etc., we are really just trying to escape our own thoughts.
Negative thinking includes the words that you say and think, and it also includes negative visualizations, self-talk and metaphors, as well as, mentally replaying unhappy memories.
Because we often don’t even recognize negative thinking, let’s take a moment to clarify several aspects of negative thinking that might pass by our radar:
- Judgment of anything is negative thinking because you are focusing on what you do not like or desire.
- Self-judgment is negative thinking where you are focusing on what you don’t like about yourself — and reinforcing it.
- Perfectionism is just another word for self-judgment.
- If you call yourself a “realist,” you are someone who rationalizes negative thinking in order to give yourself permission to think negatively.
- While self-doubt is negative thinking, negative thinking creates more self-doubt.
- Feeling sorry for someone is judgment of them or their experience which is negative thinking.
- Worry is also another form of negative thinking because you are imagining the worst.
- Even negative questions are a form of negative thinking because they produce negative answers.
- If you ask yourself, “What will happen if I don’t succeed?” your mind will sort for all the terrible things that might happen, and you will be focused on what you don’t want.
- Complaining about what is wrong in your reality is also negative thinking — yes, even if it is really happening.
On the way down the mountain on our bikes, my son’s bike began to have problems. Later he realized that he was in a bad mood. Not making the connection between being upset about the bike and his bad mood, I pointed out that his negative thinking caused the bad mood.
He responded, “I wasn’t thinking negatively. I was just reacting to what was really happening.”
I said, “Were you thinking about what you do want or what you don’t want?”
Reluctant to answer, he said, “I was thinking about what I don’t want.”
“So, you were thinking negatively?”
“Yes,” he answered, “Negative thinking is sneaky.”
Indeed, it is!
At this point, you might be more aware of just how much of your thinking is fear-based. Instead of being overwhelmed, this is a moment of personal power. It is your awareness that opens the door to profound change.
I’ll be honest with you, it took me many years to make the connection between my negative thinking and chronic depression. Now, it seems so clear to me. All the years that I tried relentlessly to overcome depression, I wasn’t able to do it because I was not changing my thought patterns. I wish I could go back and tell my past self, “Hey Nanice, stop focusing on what you don’t want. Take your attention off worry and fear and focus on what you do want, and keep doing it, despite evidence to the contrary.” I would tell her that her commitment to changing her mind will save her — because eventually it did!
Negative Thinking First Manifests As Negative Feelings
Any thought that makes you feel bad is a negative thought. Negative thinking causes negative feelings like sadness, frustration, jealousy, anger, etc… In fact, negative feelings are your inner guidance system telling you that you are thinking negatively and imagining what you do not want. Your feelings are telling you that your thoughts are out of control, and you’re going away from what you desire in life. Even though depression numbs feelings, those feelings are still very much present and persistent.
Sick And Tired?
More people get sick as a result of negative thinking than anything else. You don’t find sick people with healthy thoughts. You find sick people with thoughts that create sickness. This doesn’t mean that you think about being sick. It means that you have a history of negative thinking that adversely affected your body, causing sickness.
Negative thinking profoundly affects one’s body, mind and quality of life. You can trace virtually every problem back to fear-based thinking. Negative thinking makes everything harder and requires that we give more effort to the things we want.
You cannot be anxious, overwhelmed or depressed without corresponding negative thoughts. People who think happy, peaceful and relaxing thoughts are not anxious, overwhelmed or depressed.
Why Oh Why???
If negative thinking is so detrimental to our health, well-being, relationships and prosperity, why-oh-why do we do it? Why do we habitually think negative thoughts and focus on what we do not want?
- 1. Negative thinking is a survival strategy that causes us to look for what is wrong so that we can protect ourselves against danger, but it is a very bad strategy because our thoughts actually create reality. So instead of preventing bad things from happening, we are telling the quantum mind to materialize them.
- 2. We are programmed by our parents, teachers and society how to think. If those who brought us up thought negatively, and most of them did, we learned to do the same.
- 3. Our negative beliefs about ourselves and the world cause us to have negative thoughts. If you believe that you are unworthy, your thoughts will support that belief.
Negative Thinking Is Complete Ego!
We often think of egoist thoughts as those thoughts that say, “I’m better than… or, look at me…” but all negative thinking is just as much ego-based. Since our higher selves would never think the types of negative thoughts that we indulge in, negative thinking must be a result of a fearful ego that believes that you are alone, powerless and unworthy. Knowing that negative thinking comes from your ego, might help you to loosen its hold, by not paying attention to it.
What About Serious Issues?
Yes, there are plenty of serious issues in the world and maybe even in your life, but if you only focus on what’s wrong, you miss the “purpose of issues.” Every issue offers a solution that helps us to evolve. When you seek out solutions and focus on solutions, you are using your mind to think positively. The point is to use the negativity of problems as leverage to find positive solutions.
Retrain Your Mind
Your life cannot be any better than your thoughts about your life. It is imperative to master your mind, so that you can overcome depression and create the life you really desire. Yes, it takes real determination and conscious effort to change your thinking but if you want to feel better, it is the only way.
As a former negative thinker and the only daughter of a world class negative thinker, I know that it seems overwhelming to change your thoughts but it is possible to master your mind and become a powerful positive thinker. If I can do it, you can too!
As your thoughts improve, depression will begin to lift. If you are no longer engulfed by fear-based thinking, there will not be any reason for depression and it will begin to dissolve.
To Assist You In Reprogramming New Thoughts, I Offer The Following Guide
Got Proof?: It is your current and past beliefs that now shape your reality, so if you are reacting to your current reality, you will just keep reinforcing the same old beliefs, and if you wait for proof, you will never change your beliefs. Take a moment to really comprehend this.
You don’t need proof that good can happen. You just need to choose to believe that good is happening — without the need for proof. Proof will come after the belief is recorded in your subconscious mind — never before.
Proof is not the result of what is true. Proof is the result of what you believe.
It takes courage to consciously choose to believe new empowering thoughts, but it is your way out of difficulty and dis-ease and your way into joy, peace and ease. This means that you can choose what you want to believe without needing proof.
Take responsibility: If you want to awaken from depression, it is essential that you take responsibility for all your thoughts, but also notice that you are not your thoughts. This is the high level of conscious responsibility. If you can separate who you really are from your thoughts, thoughts will begin to lose their power over you.
Focus on solutions: If you are faced with a problem, focusing on the problem is a negative mental state, however, focusing on the solution or focusing on finding the solution is a positive mental state. So, instead of my son focusing on the issues with his bike, he could have just as easily focused on the solutions, and maintained his previous good mood.
Turn it around: If you find yourself focusing on what you do not want, flip it around. If you know what you don’t want, you also know what you do want. Flip it around as many times a day as necessary. Eventually, it will stick.
Practice letting go: When you become aware of negative thoughts, let go as quickly as you can. Don’t fight with your thoughts, just let everything go. If you imagine that the voice in your head is the voice of Mickey Mouse, it will lose its power. You might also want to imagine putting the thought in a bubble and then popping the bubble.
Add a “yet”: When you say, “I can’t do something,” it tells your subconscious mind not to allow you to do it. However, if you add a “yet,” it changes everything. By saying, “I can’t do it, yet,” you are commanding your subconscious mind to prepare for doing whatever it is that you want to do.
Drop your “buts”: If you say or think something positive but you add a “but,” you negate the positive. By saying, “I really like this pizza, but I wish it had more sauce,” you made the whole thought negative. Just focus on the positive and drop your “buts.”
No excuses: Don’t give yourself excuses, such as, “Everyone else thinks negatively” — that will just keep you trapped in your old thinking.
Detox your life of toxic people: Until you gain control of your mind, do your best to be around positive people. If you can’t detox your life of certain people, get a good pair of headphones and use them whenever you need to block out the negativity of others. Better yet, set boundaries.
Set boundaries: When I first detoxed my life of negativity, I would literally tell any negative speaking people, “I’m sorry, you probably didn’t know this, but I don’t allow anyone to talk negatively about me or around me.” I would say it very nicely and I would smile. Often people would respond with an apology or they would just change the subject. Either way, it always worked.
Saturate your mind: Saturate your mind with positive Youtube videos, books and music — anything that makes you feel good and moves you in the direction of focusing on the positive.
Practice imagining: Practice imagining your perfect life as if it has already happened. Indulging your imagination will unlock the positivity that already exists inside you. It is also a great idea to pre-pave your day by imagining how you desire your day to unfold.
Positive questions: Ask yourself positive questions, such as, “What is the best that can happen?” Your mind will sort for all the good that can happen and then you are automatically thinking positive thoughts.
Be kind: If you have been practicing negative thinking your whole life, it might take some time to shift. Be determined to do so, but also be kind, patient and loving with yourself. Judging yourself for negative thinking is just more negative thinking on top of negative thinking.
Others: Instead of feeling sorry for someone or worrying about others, imagine those who have challenges overcoming those challenges — see them strong, happy and successful. The most that we can ever do for another is to imagine them at their very best.
Isn’t This “Pollyanna” Thinking?
Yes, of course it is! Pollyanna was a fictional character who saw the good in everyone and everything and as a result she transformed an entire town from dreary to full of life. The point is, the irrepressible optimism of “Pollyanna Philosophy” absolutely works! Whatever you focus on you create more of — so why focus on what you do not want? Why not change your perspective and look for the good in everyone and everything? Yes, sometimes you do have to look deeper than the surface, but it is always there, and you will find it if you really look.
Miracles are ready to blossom in even the most discouraging of circumstance.
Your mind is priceless technology that when used properly can attract and create the most amazing and beautiful experiences, but you must take the captain’s seat. No one can do it for you. You must do it for yourself. Yes, it might take some time, but time is going to pass anyway, so you might as well utilize that time to find your way to a path that will take you where you want to go — a path that will free you from depression and grant you access to joy, peace, wellness and abundance. It is a path worth taking!
Nanice Ellis has been a professional life coach for over 17 years, successfully coaching women and men from all over the world. Nanice is the author of several books, including the inspirational The Infinite Power of You! and Even Gandhi Got Hungry and Buddha Got Mad! She is also the host of radio show Chai with Nanice. Her books are available at: Nanice.com/6/Books and here on Amazon.
Nila Colon-Street says
This is possibly the most bullshit article ever written to describe a mental health problem. It feeds straight into the “cheer up and you will be better” stereotype and quite frankly is insulting to anyone who suffers from any depressive disorder.
Mark A. Covert says
Thank you Nila, I you’re exactly right. If I could think myself out of depression I wouldn’t have it.
Kind of surprised to be reading a “law of attraction” article on this website. Thought it was more legit than that.
Just because the conclusion and philosophy of “law of attraction” is a load of nonsense, doesn’t mean some of the practices are. Learning how to let go of negative thoughts, stay present and focus on the positives is the basis of mindfulness which is evidence based. However, one achieves it, implementing such practices is beneficial
Deane Alban says
Thinking good thoughts is a great advice for most of us. Our thoughts are powerful and alter our brains in many ways. But for those in the depths of depression telling them to think positive thoughts is like throwing a drowning man a bicycle.
Smart Feller says
Your thoughts and choices are direct reflections of your life’s experiences and your inherited brain structure. You would first have to prove that free will actually exists before you could prove this article had any merit. This isn’t “negative thinking” BTW
I agree strongly with some of the material in this article, but please remember why you wanted to start a website such as Reset.me. I understand how user-generated content is important to ensure the survival of such a site, but recently I’ve been reading articles that are starting to wander into the pseudoscience-infested realm of Abraham-Hicks, and/or The Secret. As a former journalist myself, I cringe at the misleading, unannotated world of Quantum. I have to assume that this wasn’t your original vision for the website.
Bharat Karavadra says
The quantum world is a place of it’s own and I have found that it only serves you when the physical, form, thought, emotion, sensation world no longer does.
Quantum theory related to manifestation sounded like a load of poo but when I tested them manifestation techniques worked, not all the time, but even when they did the outcome did not resolve my issues. That is when the thought came that if I can manifest what want and it doesn’t really help my situation, then what. The answer came to me which again is a quantum concept but this was more about undoing what had been created and the negativity around what had been created, Again, I could write about this for hours but won’t here and you are interested then I have another comment below with a link to more information.
Brilliant, heartwarming writing. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Dawn Anewday says
I listen to those happy talkers. They sound uninformed, ill-informed airheads. You can’t be an airhead all your life.
Beki Sandifer says
I want positive thoughts! But seriously, even after reading this article, I still don’t understand how. This method has not worked for me yet. I am stuck in the negative thoughts turn character defect cycle. There must be something wrong with me that I can’t push the negative thoughts out and replace them with positive. And even if I do turn them around, it’s like part of my brain is saying to be positive but it just doesn’t make a connection to the other part that will actually do it. So, it’s a horrible cycle. At this point I don’t know how to stop it. But I am hopeful and I do lead a happy life most of the time. But this is one issue that has been in turmoil with me for most of my life. I won’t stop trying, though. I’ll never stop trying.
Please consider meditation. It may be the missing piece. Some people don’t want to do it because they say it’s difficult. Think about it like driving a car, or ice skating…you just can’t do it perfectly at first. It takes practice. But I was once told that even a minute or two of successful meditation in a 10 or 20 minute session is really good at first. That’s what kept me trying.
I completely agree with all the material in this article because it speaks to me. I got out of depression myself from changing my thoughts pattern. It took me 8 months and it wasn’t a easy battle and I still reinforce them on a daily basis. Now I find myself reconnected to myself and magical things have happened in my experience, everything has changed both in and out. It was all a beautiful struggle out of depression and I took those same steps! It works, at least for me.
Fartrell Cluggins says
As someone who didn’t really get the “positive attracts positive and negative attracts negative” thing, I now wholeheartedly believe in it after seeing it over and over again first-hand.
Someone I know would always complain about everything, but especially the way weird, negative people were always coming up to him in public places. After seeing it happen again and again, it was hard not to see the vibes he always put out were attracting these flies to his turd. Kind of a weird story but true. There are lessons in everyday life, pay attention to them, there’s always something to learn.
Kira Cohen says
I’m sorry, but the main topic of this article is utter garbage. There are two types of depression. Situational depression (when one is unhappy about situations in their life) and chemical/clinical depression (an actual chemical imbalance in the brain). You can’t just will away a very real chemical imbalance in the brain. It doesn’t work that way. To think that you can just get rid of a legitimate mental illness with positive thinking only continues the stigma of mental illness and keeps those who suffer silenced and alone.
On the score of “creating your own reality,” there is an actual reality that exists outside of your personal reality and it can negatively affect your reality. Not everyone has the privilege to simply create their own realities. Those who battle everyday with poverty, starvation, war, racial oppression, disabilities, etc. The concept of the Law of Attraction is privilege and it perpetuates the continuance of the status quo by not challenging that which is wrong in the world, in favor of “creating your own reality” and ignoring all that is deemed negative and “toxic.” It exchanges empathy for apathy. Those who are struggling emotionally and are open about their struggles are deemed toxic and told to just think positively. But you know what that is? It’s a lie. It’s make believe to pretend that everything is just fine when it really isn’t. Negative emotions are part of life. There has to be a balance, they have to exist to create the balance. It’s the concept of yin and yang. There is no such thing as joy without sorrow to counter it. No light without dark. If there was no point to negative emotions, they wouldn’t exist. And to try and bypass grief with false positivity is not smart. It creates wounds that never fully heal and come open somewhere later on down the line. Stop running from your pain and fears by trying to turn them off, and turn around and face them, embrace them, learn from them, grow from them, and allow them to teach you empathy toward others in this world who are struggling.
This hepls me lot thanks ,i can not even think how to solve my depression ,i am very sich and depression ,looses all my body and mind
As someone who is currently writing a book about theory and research of emotions, I would like to express to the public that this article is very misinformative. I feel compelled to write a brief statement about this article for the viewers who are experiencing depression and need some good guidance.
The author states,
“Maybe you have blamed depression for your negative thinking but, I promise you, it is the other way around — it is your negative thinking that has caused depression”
Unforunatley, it happens a lot that people that are uniformed about how emotions are constructed say such bold, oversimplified, and inaccurate statements.
I am guessing that the author is unaware of the long history of misattribution of arousal research. Long story short, there is a subtantial amount of evidence that supports the idea that depression is the cause of negative thoughts. The brain is innately wired to attribute the causes of arousal in our system, such that it can reduce it. Unexplained, unwanted physiological arousal then has the tendency to be blamed on things in our immediate enviornemnt, typically those that are appraised as “bad”.
To think that you can turn off your depression by turning off your negative thinking is a recipie for disaster, and a stance of faith. In fact, there is just as much evidence suggesting that the lack of thought and functional connectivity in the prefrontal cortex is the culprit for emotional arousal, not lots of negative thought.
Hata H. Zappa says
Positive thinking and negative thinking are a binary. But what if there’s more to it than just the dichotomy we are presented with? What if there is something called lateral thinking? Lateral thinkers look beyond the one-dimensional nature of the binary of pos/neg thinking, to look at life and its problems from the side. It’s like thinking of the problem in 3-D, and you get access to so much more of the problem than you do by thinking of it in either/or terms. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T647CGsuOVU
Ossian Rey says
This is very informative article especially for those people who are too depressed for their own good. I am a pessimistic person actually. I always think ahead too much and I always expect the worst that’s why every time a problem arises I go MTBD (mental breakdown). And when I’m in this state, I always make rash decisions. I am aware of this mentality that’s why I tried so hard doing the things that I love the most to prevent myself from thinking negatively. And I think it works just fine. I learn all that from this website, http://mindyourzen.com/
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