Negative Thought Patterns That Can Devastate Your Life

Date: July 17, 2021

Some people appear to be cursed with terrible luck. Nothing ever appears to go their way. We've all met people who are like this. This could be your neighbours, friends, relatives, or even yourself. The majority of these folks have at least one trait: negative mental patterns. This is because thoughts precede actions, and actions are necessary for achieving goals. Whether the outcome is desired or not, one's ideas and subsequent actions or inactions have a significant impact on how one's life unfolds.

When you have a positive attitude, life's challenges become opportunities rather than obstacles. When a person's thought habits are negative, they become short-sighted or inhibited in their approach to problem-solving. As a result, negative events occur, reinforcing negative thinking and generating a downward spiral. Recognize when you've slipped into a negative thinking trap as the first step. Let's look at some of the most typical negative thought processes...


This typical cognitive distortion is divided into two components. In the first section, a person predicts a negative consequence to a certain incident. In the second section, kids envision that if the negative event occurs, the consequences will be disastrous. When catastrophizing an event, those who are prone to this style of thinking use three types of methods.

They obsessively ruminate and have trouble focusing on anything other than the perceived occurrence. They exaggerate the situation until it overwhelms them, which triggers the third mechanism of helplessness. A person who loses their job and then imagines losing everything and becoming homeless is an example of catastrophizing.


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Denial is a cognitive defence mechanism that might insulate us from painful feelings or situations in the near term. It can, however, obstruct our decision-making, and inaction can have bad implications on its own. Denial is the reluctance to accept the facts of a situation or occurrence in order to avoid having to deal with them.

In grief, denial is a frequent step. In the short term, it protects you from severe emotional distress. Prolonged denial can have serious and detrimental long-term consequences. Positive thinking is sometimes used as a disguise to reject reality, which can be harmful in the long term.

Ignoring or downplaying

In contrast to denial, ignoring or minimising is a negative thought habit in which people are aware of the reality of a situation but choose to dismiss or downplay its gravity. They believe that by doing so, the problem will just vanish. They act as if they aren't aware of the situation in order to avoid having to deal with it.

This can be a protective technique for dealing with an issue that appears to be insurmountable. Minimizing, on the other hand, can be used to ignore a situation's positive elements. This traps a person in their own bad thoughts, causing them to get stuck. Minimizing the positive, like minimising the bad, can be used as an excuse for inaction.

I'm giving up

This is a negative thought pattern in which a person asks themselves, "What's the point?" Outside forces force them to make commitments or do things they know are not in their best interests. They are no longer willing to put up the effort required to get a logical or positive conclusion.

They give up their ability to influence the outcome of a situation by giving up. This mindset leads to low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, helplessness, and worthlessness. This form of negative thinking is common among people suffering from addictions.

Should You Consider

Should thinking entails telling ourselves things such, "I should exercise more" or "I should be braver." Should statements are difficult since we generally end up feeling guilty, disheartened, and berating ourselves when we don't accomplish them.

Should statements can demotivate us since no one lies when they are told what they "should" (or shouldn't) do. Even if we are the ones telling ourselves that we should do something, knowing that we "should" do it can make us want to resist.

Following in the footsteps of others

You may be persuaded to act against your better judgement, not rock the boat, go with the flow, or succumb to peer pressure if you engage in this form of negative thinking. Negative thinking like this weakens your ability to make decisions and passes blame for the outcome on others.

It takes away your power while also allowing you to avoid taking responsibility for the consequence. People who participate in Ponzi schemes because their friends did so, for example, may end up in poverty in their golden years instead of relaxing in the sun at their Florida vacation home.

Allowing Emotions to Take Control

Making a decision based on emotions is a tragedy waiting to happen. Blood flow is diverted from your brain and important organs and rerouted to your major muscle groups when you are under extreme emotional stress. This basic stress response is designed to help you fight or flee a perceived threat. The issue is that, with less blood flowing to your brain and your primitive response centre on high alert, the reasoning half of your brain takes a back seat.

Acting out of rage, fear, or passion has the potential to be harmful. If you quit your work out of frustration or fail to commit to your long-term girlfriend, you may come to regret your actions for years. Make no decisions based on your feelings. Wait until you've calmed down and the sensible portion of your brain has regained control.

Thinking is either all or nothing.

We see things in black and white terms when we think in all or nothing terms. Something is either 100 percent correct or 100 percent incorrect; 100 percent good or 100 percent negative. It's a failure if anything isn't perfect. Between these two extremes, there are no shades of grey.

Thinking in terms of all or nothing stifles creativity and prevents you from seeing and considering numerous solutions to an issue. It only has two options, both of which have polar opposite outcomes. This way of thinking is significantly linked to depression. Emotionally and physically, all-or-nothing thinking is harmful.

Self-Talk That Is Negative

Self-awareness in moderation can be beneficial and can help us enrich our lives. A reality check can help us better our relationships, health, and career prospects, but when our inner critic refuses to stop up, the quality of our lives can deteriorate. Negative self-talk that is excessively negative backfires because it emphasises and concentrates on our failings rather than looking for methods to improve.

For example, you might persuade yourself that you're big, ugly, stupid, or that no one loves you, and then act as if those things are true. Your actions irritate others, and you use their retaliation to justify your bad ideas. One approach to combat this, according to Amy Johnson, PhD, is to "choose to be kind to yourself by questioning your initial views, which is crucial to slowing down that voice."

Reading People's Minds

In this negative thinking habit, you presume you know what everyone else is thinking, and it's usually negative about yourself. This could include assuming or validating with another individual that they are reacting adversely to you without any solid evidence.

You might think your friend no longer likes you since they haven't phoned you today, but what you don't know is that they have misplaced their phone. Make no assumptions. Before leaping to conclusions, always check your senses.


Pessimism is a state of mind in which one expects negative outcomes from situations or believes that suffering and difficulty in life outweigh pleasure and joy. They are, in effect, looking at the world through a negative lens. A negative mindset can harm you in every aspect of your life.

It can have a detrimental impact on your career, relationships, motivation, and overall happiness. It has the potential to keep you stuck in poor behaviours and hinder you from reaching out and broadening your views.

Making Hasty Decisions

This negative thought pattern entails anticipating the worst-case scenario without considering all of the information. This way of thinking is also linked to the fight-or-flight reaction in stressful situations. Anxiety and panic disorder sufferers are prone to this cognitive error. People have a tendency to jump to conclusions in two ways. In the first, they engage in mind reading, as previously described, in which they imagine others view them negatively. People also jump to conclusions when they indulge in "fortune-telling," which involves forecasting unpleasant future occurrences.

Recognizing and addressing negative thought patterns is the first step toward turning difficulties into opportunities and living a better life. You can take actions to question your negative assumptions and modify your thinking once you've discovered them. Remember that breaking negative thought habits and replacing them with more positive and healthy patterns will require time and practise.

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