Can You Get Addicted to Negative Thinking?

Being Addicted to Negative Thinking: A Cautionary Tale

One of the hardest parts of being addicted and recovering is retraining our brains. If you are actively working on a solid recovery program, you will come to find the obsession to drink or drug gets removed pretty quickly. Now all we have left to deal with is our own minds. Easier said than done, right? Yes and No.

First of all, it’s healthy to realize that we as people can be entirely controlled by our thoughts. Our feelings are temporary, but our thinking is what shapes and creates the world around us. This is why some people always seem so happy, and others always seem to have a chip on their shoulders.

It is absolutely possible to become addicted to negative thinking, and on the contrary, it is also possible to become addicted to positive thinking. Which one sounds better to you? Obviously, no one wants to be a ‘Debbie Downer.’ However, for many of us, having a negative first instinct is a trait that we have unknowingly cultivated over our entire lives.

We are influenced by our parents, our friends, the media, and literally everything around us. The trick is realizing why and how we react negatively to these stimuli, and to practice retraining ourselves to perceive everything in a positive light. Otherwise, we are just self-sabotaging our recovery.

Why do we Become Addicted to Negative Feelings and Thinking?

Addicted to Negative Feelings

It seems silly that as we grow older, it’s so common for us to slowly start to focus on the negative in our lives. Some of us focus so much on it in fact, that we become almost addicted to that type of thinking. As we’ve already covered, we are brought into this world hearing “Yes” and “No” and “Don’t Do That” and “Good Job!”

Very simply, these minuscule guidelines along the way shape us into who we become as we grow older. So obviously, each person reacts differently to life, depending on how they were raised and how certain environments have shaped their thought patterns.

If you were raised in a strict household that is primarily focused on having stern diligence and discipline, then you most likely heard “No” a lot growing up. However, if you grew up in a loosely ruled household with not a lot of structure, chances are you were on the opposite end of the spectrum.

As we age and make our own way in life, we shape ourselves based on the morals and ideals that we learned when we were children. For example, if you grow up with dreams of being an astronaut but end up as a grown alcoholic who’s never been on an airplane, chances are you might have a bit of a negative concept of yourself and where your life is at.

Realizing that you are not who you originally thought you would be can be a cause for a negative image of yourself. But it is possible to retrain your brain to focus on the positive traits and things in your life, rather than dwelling on the bad things.

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What are the Dangers of Negative Self-Talk?

Negative self-thinking is a common problem that can have a significant impact on our mental and emotional health. When we participate in such thinking, we tend to focus more on the negative things happening in our lives and resort to self-criticism, creating a vicious cycle of fear, anger, and unrealistic expectations.

Thinking negatively and tearing yourself down can lead to a number of negative consequences, including:

  • Depression and anxiety: Negative self-talk can contribute to the development of depression and anxiety disorders. When we constantly focus on our flaws and past failures, it can be difficult to feel good about ourselves or our abilities. This can lead to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and anxiety.
  • Low self-esteem: Constantly talking down to ourselves can lead to low self-esteem. When we constantly put ourselves down, it can be difficult to believe in ourselves or our sense of self-worth. This can hinder our ability to take risks, set goals, and achieve success.
  • Stress: Negative self-talk can also increase stress levels. When we’re constantly worrying about our flaws and failures, it can be difficult to relax and de-stress. Experiencing and dwelling on constant, everyday stress can lead to physical and emotional problems, such as headaches, stomachaches, and fatigue.
  • Reduced motivation: Negative self thoughts can often lead to all-or-nothing thinking, which can reduce motivation. When we don’t believe in ourselves or our abilities, it can be difficult to get motivated to do anything. This can lead to procrastination, missed opportunities, and a lack of progress in our lives.
  • Isolation: Thinking negatively about ourselves can also lead to isolation. When we feel bad about ourselves and dwell on negative emotions, we may withdraw from others and avoid social situations. This can make it difficult to build relationships and feel connected to others.

Is it Possible to Retrain Your Brain?

Retrain Your Brain

For many people, focusing on a negative thought pattern can feel easier than working to focus on more positive ones. In reality, while it will take hard work to gain control over your thoughts and emotions, this will ultimately be far better for you in the future than continuing to indulge in negative thinking.

Some of the most common types and ways you can retrain your brain and have more positive thoughts include:

  • Setting intentions: Make a goal to focus more on the present moment and self-acceptance. Absolutely refuse to focus on the negative and find ways of holding yourself accountable to this plan.
  • Separating your feelings from your thoughts: Try to remember that what you are feeling and what you are thinking are not the same thing. Your feelings are real and concrete, but your thoughts are able to be changed and controlled. What you are feeling is the unconscious action, but how you perceive the emotion and what you do about it are your thoughts.
  • Keep practicing: Any time you feel yourself focusing on negativity, immediately turn it around. Say something positive about yourself, your situation, someone in your life, etc. This will take practice and a lot of inward mindfulness, but when you gain awareness you are focusing on the negative, it will be easier to stop the cycle.

Make Your Own Mantra to Battle Negative Thoughts

For some people, it can really help to have a mantra in the morning. For example, something short and meaningful to you. Use it when you need a pick-me-up or when you are stuck in traffic or when your boss is annoying. This could even be a prayer or personal truth that brings you peace and joy.

We need to be vigilant in our journey towards positive thinking. We need to practice, and we need to be forgiving when we are not perfect. That is a struggle for many addicts and alcoholics. But there are simple steps we can take to help us begin changing our behaviors, notice where we are allowing negativity to rule our lives, and focus on creating better habits.

Implementing Better Habits

Implementing Better Habit

If you find yourself engaging in negative self-talk, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. This is a common problem that can be overcome. There are a number of things you can do to challenge negative self-talk and improve your self-esteem, including:

  • Identifying your negative thoughts: The first step is to identify the negative thoughts that you’re having. Once you’re aware of your negative thoughts, you can start to imagine and implement ways to challenge them.
  • Reframing your thoughts: When you identify a negative thought, try to reframe it in a more positive light. For example, if you think “I’m a failure,” you could change this idea to the thought of “I have made mistakes, but I am learning from them.”
  • Focusing on your strengths: Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. When you’re feeling down, it’s important to focus on your strengths. Make a list of your strengths and read it over when you’re feeling negative.
  • Being kind to yourself: It’s important to be kind to yourself, just as you would be kind to a friend. While this can seem like a strange or difficult idea, it is important to treat yourself with compassion and understanding, and to validate your own experience.
  • Seeking professional help: If you are struggling to overcome negative self-talk, it may be helpful to seek professional help. A therapist can be highly effective for helping you identify the root of your negative thoughts and develop strategies for coping with them.

Negative self-talk is a common problem that can have a significant impact on our mental and emotional health. However, it’s a problem that can be overcome. By identifying your negative thoughts, reframing them in a more positive light, focusing on your strengths, and being kind to yourself, you can start to challenge negative self-talk and improve your self-esteem.

It is worth noting that this can also be an important part of relapse prevention, including learning healthy outlets in sobriety for emotions and thoughts you might have previously embraced.

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Freedom From Addiction: Found Here

If you have found yourself struggling with drugs or alcohol, you are not alone! If you are ready to change your life and live free of addiction, then Find Addiction Rehabs can help. We give you a jump start to addiction recovery by matching your needs with our accredited partners, nationwide.

Recovery can and will happen with the right support and resources. So, stop suffering and reach out to our recovery representatives for more information. Call now and get started on a positive path today!

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