Question: Dear coach, I’m having trouble in expressing my concerns since what I’ve always considered to be a ‘healthy scepticism’ actually seems to be my pessimistic/negative outlook on life. I often expect the worst outcomes. This negative way of thinking is making it difficult for me to communicate what’s going on with me, and the people around me are noticing it too. Now that I will be starting a new job soon, I’m really nervous about it. I keep thinking that I won’t be able to handle the workload and that I’ll make mistakes that could get me fired. I know that this is not a healthy way to think, but I can’t seem to get rid of these negative thoughts. It’s hard for me to stay positive and motivated, and I feel like my negative thinking is holding me back from achieving my goals and even leading a normal and healthy life. That’s why I’m reaching out for help. I want to learn how to overcome my negative outlook on life and develop a more positive mindset.
Coach’s Insights & Guidance: Thank you for reaching out for help. It takes a lot of courage to admit that one needs assistance, and I’m here to support you.
Firstly, it’s essential to recognize that having a ‘healthy skepticism’ is not the same as having a negative outlook on life. A healthy skepticism involves questioning and evaluating information critically, while a negative outlook involves assuming the worst outcome without any evidence to support it.
Second, it’s important to identify what could be the possible causes of pessimistic behavior! Answer these questions in mind and pick the ones with closest relevance.
- Have you had negative experiences in the past, such as failure, rejection, or trauma? Did these experiences shape your outlook on life?
- Do you have someone in the family who also have a negative outlook on life?
- Were you exposed to negative thinking patterns from your environment, such as from family or peers? Did you adopt these patterns as your own?
- Do you lack positive social interactions and support?
- Are you surrounded by negative people or experiences?
- Do you hold negative beliefs about yourself or the world around you?
- Are you prone to self-criticism and negative self-talk?
After identifying the possible causes of pessimistic behavior, you can gain a better understanding of what may be contributing to your pessimistic behavior, and begin to develop strategies to address them.
Challenge your negative thoughts
Now, one action that you may take right away is to challenge your negative thoughts. Whenever you have a negative thought, ask yourself:
- Is this thought based on facts or assumptions?
- Is there any evidence to support this thought?
- What’s the worst that may happen, and what are the chances that it will happen?
By questioning your negative thoughts, you can begin to see things more objectively and develop a more positive outlook. When you notice negative thoughts or beliefs, ask yourself if they’re really true. Often, negative beliefs are based on inaccurate or distorted thinking patterns.
Whenever you have a negative thought, try to reframe it in a more positive way by focusing on positive aspects of situations. For example, if you’re worried about starting a new job, instead of thinking “I won’t be able to handle the workload,” try thinking “I’ll do my best and learn as I go.”
Negative thought: “I won’t be able to handle the workload at my new job, and I’ll make mistakes that could get me fired.”
Reframed thought: “Starting a new job can be challenging, but I’m capable of learning and growing; I will focus on building my skills. I’ll ask for help when needed and see mistakes as chances to improve.”
The way you talk to yourself can have a big impact on your mood and mindset. Practice using positive, affirming language when talking to yourself, such as “I am capable” or “I am deserving of success.” Make it your MANTRA! By affirming your strengths and abilities, acknowledging your efforts, being kind and compassionate towards yourself, and focusing on the present moment with optimism will boost you to proceed positively.
It would also be helpful to focus on the present moment instead of worrying about the future. Mindfulness techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga can help you stay grounded and calm. Practicing gratitude can also help shift your focus to the positive things in your life and appreciate them.
When faced with a negative thought, try to focus on finding solutions rather than dwelling on the negative aspects. This you can do by identifying the problem, analyzing it, reframing negative thoughts, brainstorming possible solutions, and taking action towards a positive outcome. This can help you feel more empowered and in control.
Another step could be to surround yourself with positive people and engage in activities that make you happy. When you surround yourself with positive energy, it’s easier to maintain a positive outlook. Spend time with people who have a positive outlook on life, and seek out positive news and media to consume.
To develop a more positive mindset is to set realistic goals for yourself such as building new skills, accomplishing a small task each day, focusing on your strengths, maintaining work-life balance, and seeking positive social connections. Goals give you a sense of purpose and direction, and achieving them can boost your self-confidence and sense of accomplishment.
Lastly, seeking support from a coach or a counselor, could be helpful. They can provide you with tools and strategies tailored to your needs to help you manage your negative thoughts and develop a positive outlook.
And the most important step…
When you take care of your physical and mental health, you’re better equipped to handle stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts. Include these points in your daily routine and see the results!
- Regular physical activity boosts mood and reduces anxiety and stress. Find an exercise routine that works for you and try to make it a regular part of your routine.
- Make sure you’re getting enough restful sleep each night, ideally between 7-8 hours because lack of sleep can contribute to negative thinking and mood swings.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
- Engage in activities that help you relax and unwind.
- Spending time with people you care about can help boost your mood and provide support when you’re feeling down.
- Engage in activities or hobbies that bring you joy and a sense of accomplishment.
Making self-care a priority in your life can help you develop a more positive mindset and improve your overall well-being.
I am sure you would have got clarity on how to overcome negative thinking through the tips mentioned above. Remember, developing a more positive mindset takes time and effort, but with patience and persistence you can learn to view situations from a more positive perspective and develop a more optimistic outlook on life.
Wishing you the best of luck as you begin this exciting new chapter.
This is our column, “Better life solutions: ask the life coach” where we answer your questions on career, relationships, personal growth, and more, and we provide valuable insights and guidance for achieving your goals and creating the life you truly desire.
IMPORTANT! We prioritize client privacy and keep identities anonymous in our “Better life solutions: ask a life coach” column. Personal information and details are kept confidential for a safe and supportive experience.
So whether you’re looking to improve your career, enhance your relationships, or cultivate greater personal growth, we’re here to help. Submit your questions to our column and let us guide you towards a more fulfilling and satisfying life.
Disclaimer: Please note that the advice and guidance provided in this column are based on the coach’s professional expertise and experience, but are not intended to replace or substitute for professional counseling, therapy, or medical advice. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate professional help if needed. Specific results or outcomes are not guaranteed as each individual’s circumstances and experiences are unique.
Image courtesy: Pexel Images