Negative thinking brings psychological problems
In today’s world, where every moment is almost mixed with stress, let’s admit that negative thoughts do not leave us. Due to rush, lack of time, endless duties and chronic fatigue, we can feel exhausted and occupy our minds with anxious thoughts. However, scientific research shows that negative thoughts, which can become a habit, are detrimental to our mental health.
Recent studies have shown that persistent negative thinking leads to chronic and intense stress, increased anxiety and depression, and may cause cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease later in life. In other words, persistently negative thinking has a negative effect on people’s brains, both structurally and functionally. Neurologist at Moodist Hospital, Dr. Meliha Aydindraws attention to the fact that constant negative thoughts can become a habit in a person.
In many areas of our lives, we can sometimes have positive thoughts and sometimes negative thoughts. But for some people, negative thoughts are a habit and they can’t stop thinking about them. Claiming that if a person constantly has unhappy and negative thoughts, these thoughts continue if they are not interfered with, and this has a negative effect on the brain of people both structurally and functionally, neuroscientist Dr. D. Meliha Aydın said: “The constant negative thinking makes a person more susceptible to anxiety and depression. In other words, overthinking over time can lead to various psychological problems. The results of a study of more than 350 people over the age of 55 show that the protein (tau- and beta-amyloid) that causes Alzheimer’s disease, one of the most common types of dementia, is found in the brains of about a third of people who develop negative thinking, such as thinking about the past and worry about the future, the frequency of accumulation increases,” he says.
“Negative thoughts can become habits”
Claiming that constant negative thinking will become a habit after a while, Aydin continues: “Our brain works with the ability to generalize and classify. When negative thoughts are repeated in our brain, communication and interaction begin to be perceived in a distorted way. The person is usually not aware of this situation and continues to think in this way. Because our brain does not do what it needs, but what it is used to. It is difficult to break out of this negative thought cycle. Synapses, which are connection points between brain cells, fire when we think about something and relay messages to other synapses. Thus, an information path is formed. With every thought, this path becomes clearer. The close proximity of synapses that have common corresponding connections increases the likelihood that they will act together. As a result, it becomes easier to evoke the thought in question. That is, it makes us think the same way over and over again, based on our initial negative thought. These repetitive negative thoughts prevent new and healthy perspectives from developing. It also increases the likelihood of developing emotional stress and unhealthy coping mechanisms.”
The claim that feeding the brain with positive thoughts instead of constant negative thoughts will make a person mentally healthier and happier. Meliha Aydin said: “The transition to positive thinking can be difficult at first. But the more efforts are made towards a positive mind, it is reflected in the external world of a person, and the brain becomes happy. First, when you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, redirect your thinking and behavior to other distracting activities. When you find yourself stuck in repetitive negative thoughts, get on the path of procrastination. For example, you can use thought delaying techniques such as “I’m worried now, now is not the time to think, tomorrow I will think more calmly.” In situations where you feel helpless and stuck, try to look positively at the current situation and maintain your grip on the problem. In dealing with negative thoughts, it is very important to know all aspects of yourself. You must be able to recognize your cognitive distortions and deal with them. Otherwise, if cognitive distortions begin to exceed a certain frequency and severity, depression, panic attacks, etc. will gradually arise. “This can lead to some mental problems.”
Ways to deal with negative thoughts
Neurologist Dr. Meliha Aydin describes ways to deal with negative thoughts as follows:
- Find positive activities that will distract you. You can stop thinking about any activity you enjoy. Sometimes trying not to think about something can make you think about it even more. Activate your body to stop this.
- Realize that you are stuck in repetitive thought cycles. By recognizing that your current negative thoughts are no longer productive, you are also taking steps to stop the negative emotions associated with them. Switch your attention to something else.
- Focus on solving problems and create positive emotions. Try to focus on solutions rather than worrying about the problems you face. Find out what you can learn from your mistakes so that the same problems don’t happen again in the future. Instead of asking why something happened, focus on what you can actually do about it.
- Set aside thoughts when necessary. It is often helpful to put off thinking about an unwanted negative thought.
- Develop a new perspective on negative thoughts. It is natural to think about this before making any important decisions in your daily life. But when you start obsessing over the decisions you make, it becomes negative and unhealthy. Recognize that you can control your circumstances by changing your point of view.
- Make your brain more prone to positive thinking. The brain accesses the most familiar thoughts more easily and faster. Therefore, if familiarity with positive concepts increases, it becomes easier to let go of negative ones.
- Identify your negative thoughts, accept your fears. Think about the source of these thoughts and why they make you feel bad. Why do they always occupy your mind? Some things will be out of your control. By learning to accept this, you can greatly prevent negative thinking.
- Recognize your cognitive distortions. Ask yourself how objective and realistic your negative thoughts are. It is necessary to be able to analyze, recognize and systematize them.
- Find relaxation methods (meditation, yoga, etc.). By focusing on living in the present moment, you can stop wasting time worrying about yesterday’s events or worrying about tomorrow’s schedule.
You may be interested: 10 steps to develop positive thinking habits
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