Hypnotherapy to Help with Negative thoughts and Negativity: by Dublin based hypnotherapist Ailish McGrath
Every thought we entertain (give our attention to – agree with, resist or react to) prompts the brain to produce a chemical. The chemical is felt by us as an emotion or feeling.
So entertaining thoughts of positive affirmations (e.g I’m going to cook a nice dinner this evening), remembering a memory in an affirmative way (e.g recalling a nice walk on a beach with someone you love) or imagining something pleasant happening in the future (e.g going to the movies with friends) sends a signal to the brain of safety and the brain responds by producing serotonin (happy chemicals) and we feel joyous.
Conversely, entertaining thoughts of a negative bias (e.g I’m not thin enough), remembering a memory in a stressful way (e.g recalling saying something you felt embarrassed about) or imagining something unpleasant happening in the future (e.g an adversarial meeting coming up tomorrow) sends a signal to the brain of danger and the brain responds by prompting the adrenals to produce adrenaline (stress chemicals) and you feel anxious.
You are not designed to function well with high levels of negativity. Consistent negative mind chatter (thoughts, memories, expected outcomes) impacts on your self esteem (constant put downs, comparative and critical thinking chip away at how much you like yourself), reduces your capacity to build loving relationships (we will be mistrusting of ourselves and others and assume people don’t like us) and will also impact the likelihood of you reaching your potential.
The ratio of negative to positive thoughts you entertain daily matters. There is a correlation between the amount of negativity you entertain and the state of your mental health.
We have on average 50,000 self talks a day. Studies have shown that for most adults 80% or 40,000 are ‘negative’ (stressful, worrisome, complaining, comparative, critical, obsessive). We tend to be aware of about 5% of our daily self talks i.e they are conscious (95% are sub-conscious). 5% is 2,500 Self talks. On average 2,000 are negative which is an average ratio of 4:1 negative to positive self talks.
Negative to positive Self Talk Ratio
– + Psychological State
1 : 1 Balanced
2 : 1 Irritable
3 : 1 Unstable
4 : 1 PTSD (most adults are existing at this level)
5 : 1 Manic Depressive
6 : 1 Borderline Personality Disorder
7 : 1 Pscyso / Schizoid
8: 1 Psychotic
What this illustrates is that the main difference between a ‘normal’ functioning person and a ‘psychotic’ person is that the psychotic person is twice as negative.
It shows that we cannot tolerate for any great length of time high levels of negativity without there being a significant detrimental impact on how we function in life.
Help for a negative mindset
The mind can be trained to think better and more positively. While we may think of ourselves as being negative, it isn’t a fixed character attribute. We practice negative thinking, get familiar and used to feeling a particular way, identify as being that way and then put the negativity on auto-pilot so it seems like it’s how we are.
However just as we trained ourselves into a negative bias by practicing negative thinking we can re-train ourselves to have a more positive bias.
This takes mental training to 1) become aware of the quality of our thinking 2) a commitment to choose better quality thoughts 3) help to release and heal painful, emotional or traumatic past experiences 4) life style changes (including exercise, relaxation and diet) to get the chemistry optimal in the body and 5) self help skills and techniques to manage our mental health in the long run.