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Breaking the cycle of negativity
Not all thoughts deserve our thought.
Chaitanya Charn Das
Compiled by Col Mukteshwar Prasad(Retd),
MTech(IITD),CE(I),FIE(I),FIETE,FISLE,FInstOD,AMCSI
Contact -9007224278, e-mail – muktesh_prasad@yahoo.co.in
for book ”Decoding Services Selection Board” and SSB ON line guidance
and training at Shivnandani Edu and Defence Academy
Introduction
• We all have good and bad thoughts from time to time and situation to situation. We are bombarded
daily with spiraling thoughts(both negative and positive) creating all-consuming feel , making us
difficult to manage with associated suffering. Good thoughts are like our Mob Signal (Positive
thought) amidst noise(negative thought) in the atmosphere. Negative thoughts like noise
outweigh positive thoughts. These thoughts often create unwanted confusion, trouble, stress and
frustration in our mind as well as chaos in our physical world. Negative thoughts are also known as
“distorted thinking”.
• Recollect COVID-19 crisis. Was it not a situation which acted as a source of stress and emotional health challenges
for many people, which resulted in an increase in issues like anxiety, depression and loneliness? There are many such
situations which we as human keep facing either as a person /family/ group. As human we are hard wired to react to
things that are, or are perceived to be, a threat to us and our family. Negative thoughts and constant feelings of
anxiety are just one of many ways we react to feeling under threat.Thus negative thoughts(Result of some
external stimuli) are the sign of stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, frustration, depression and loneliness.
These signs sometimes may lead to psychological disorders like Schizophrenia, Generalised anxiety disorders (GAD )
and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
• During the course of conduct and evaluation of Psychological testing ,a large no of candidates complaint that they
have negative thoughts and in spite of best effort they are unable to think positively. Primarily because our
environment breed negativity . Hence this presentation.
Situation
• As per Rauthman (2015) A situation is a set of fleeting(Lasting for very short time), dynamic, and
momentary circumstances that do not lie within a person (i.e., they are neither own mental processes
nor own behavior), but in their surroundings. Source of negative thoughts are again external like
anticipation success or failure, good or bad relationship or response etc. A situation is defined by
• 1.Cues-Something happening in our environment we interpret as in need of a response e.g.
COVID -19. It was a Physico-biological(mere raw physical stimuli in the environment) (e.g.
number of people, temperature, ambient light,etc.) but psychologically meaningless till its
interpretation as grave threat to humanity .In general Cues could be PEARLS (1.Persons 2.Events
3.Activities 4.Roles5.Location 6.State ). COVID can be assumed to be Event/Activities.
• Once it was interpreted as threat by WHO it became Canonical-consensual level representing shared
meaning by the environment as grave threat. These could be Threat /Stress /Tasks /
Processing/Fun/Mundaneness . COVID came to be regarded as Threat/Stress as no solution
existed .
• Both Physico biological and canonical – consensual formed as Alpha Press (Beyond an individuals
capability as it did not lie with in an individual)
• 2.Characteristics(are the perceived qualities or attributes of situations) .With COVID being
classified as Pandemic , individuals started drawing psychological interpretations as Adversity /
Negativity seeing their near and dear ones going off to new world and they could do nothing.
Probably waiting for their own turn. Characteristics can be DIAMONDS (Adversity /
Deception/Negativity/ Duty/Intellect/ Mating/pOsitivity/Sociability)
• 3.Classes are types of situations that are grouped together because they tend to share
similar constellations, or patterns, of characteristics
Theory of Neghative Thought
• Negative thoughts are the component of cognitive distortions and automatic thoughts leading to
negative view of all the things. There are mainly three main categories of distorted thinking also known
as the negative triad:
• Negative ideas about oneself,
• The future and
• The world.
• Psychologist Aaron Beck gave a theory on negative thought patterns which he labelled as “negative
schemas” which cause negative emotions. He regarded negative thoughts as cognitive distortions and
negative thinking as distorted thinking. According to him, our thoughts are the result of our
feelings and these feelings create a person’s thinking which affects their mood and health. An
endless loop makes us fall into this and traps our minds. Unfortunately, negative thoughts worsen the way
we feel and think and also reduce our capability to work.
• Another psychologist Leigh Goggin stated that – “negative interpretation bias” is a factor in the continuation
of a depressed mood, which lasts with poor mental health and leading anxiety, depression, overthinking
and lower self-esteem of ones.
Types of Negative thought
• Black and White –Thinking of complete success or failure in every situation
• Jumping to conclusions: This distortion involves making assumptions about what others are thinking or making
negative assumptions about how events will turn out.
• Catastrophizing: This pattern of negative thinking is characterized by always assuming that the worst possible
outcome will happen without considering more likely and realistic possibilities.
• Overgeneralization: This pattern is marked by a tendency to apply what happened in one experience to all future
experiences. This can make negative experiences seem unavoidable and contribute to feelings of anxiety.
• Labeling: When people label themselves in a negative way, it affects how they feel about themselves in different
contexts. Someone who labels themselves as "bad at math," for example, will often feel negative about activities that
involve that skill.
• "Should" statements: Thinking marked by "should" statements contribute to a negative perspective by only
thinking in terms of what you "ought" to be doing. Such statements are often unrealistic and cause people to feel
defeated and pessimistic about their ability to succeed.
• Emotional reasoning: This involves assuming that something is true based on your emotional response to it. For
example, if you are feeling nervous, emotional reasoning would lead you to conclude that you must be in danger. This
can escalate negative feelings and increase anxiety.
• Personalization and blame: This thought pattern involves taking things personally, even when they are not
personal. It often leads people to blame themselves for things they have no control over.
• All unhelpful thinking patterns differ in subtle ways but they all involve distortions of reality and irrational ways
of looking at situations and people.
Dark Side of Negativity Law of Attraction
• The Dark Side of Negativity
• Our negative thinking goes into our unconscious brain and becomes a part of our regular behaviour. It
acts as an addiction and becomes very hard to get rid of and overcome which lasts with a mental disease.
And it also lasts out reasoning ability to think and create new things because ‘negativity breeds
negativity’.
• Law of Attraction
• “We attract merely those thoughts more often which we think or feel repeatedly” hence need to
keep an eye on our thinking or feelings, recognize and manage them for a mindful life. Here’s a famous
quote – “how we think we become”.
Managing Chatter
• On the contrary if we enter the situation with open mind to learn new things ,learning would be
fun, better understanding ready to face challenges of life i.e., being positive frame, optimistic and
like a fighter then World would come crashing at our feet.
 Awareness of inner voice and chasing the right goal is very important. The challenge is to figure out
if we find ourself slipping into the dark side of chatter then ,we must endeavour to minimize that
and accentuate the more positive side of the inner voice. The story we tell ourself about a situation
is going to shape how we interact in that situation, which causes a feedback loop(Positive or
negative ) on how it ends up going and reinforces whether our story was true or false.
 We’re generally looking to validate our own story. So, if our feedback is negative then we may not
may not exude positivity and these thoughts may increase our negative self-talk and lower our
and lower our energy, leading our stories to hinder our growth when they could be propelling
it. The greatest gift as a human is the freedom to choose how inner thought influence us. If they
arise Dr. Taylor says, “We have the power to choose who and how we want to be in any moment,”
any moment,” and “befriend my inner voice instead. “
• It is not the situations but our perception, beliefs and thoughts related to the situation that decides
our emotions and behaviours.
Dr Aoran T Beck and Albert Ellis
Techniques to overcome negativity
• Let negative thoughts come and go-Allow yourself to have negative thoughts. Refrain from
responding by saying you shouldn’t think that way. Acknowledge the thought, and then let it go.
Some people visualize their thoughts as balloons that float away right after they have them. We don’t
have to give each thought equal weight or let it define every future situation. Let your thoughts exist,
sit with them, and be intentional about recognizing the positive things in your life. You will start to
notice that you can handle anything and that your negative thinking will be under control. Remind
yourself that it's just a thought and not a fact. Be aware of your trigger situations and unhealthy
emotions and behaviour.
• Being Positives: Keep positive perspectives of all things and persons and keep a watch on your
feelings. Identify the underlying thoughts like mind reading, catastrophic thinking, personalisation
and dispute the thoughts by asking questions like A.Are my thoughts logical? B.Are my
thoughts helpful? C.Are my thoughts true? Replace them with more helpful, realistic and
positive thoughts.Learn to have a positive self-talk.Be your own friend.Focus on the present.Bring
the inside out.Talk about it.
• Exposure Therapy: If your negative thoughts are associated with certain fears or worries, you
might lessen the influence these concerns have over you by progressively exposing yourself to them
in a safe and controlled manner.
• Pause and labelling: Take a pause in your thinking to break its flow to have more clarity and
transparency. Rewire with new thoughts and creativity . Label your feelings or thinking(especially
negative one) , intensity, date, time, cause of arousal and reason behind arousing.
Techniques to overcome negativity
• Thought Diary: According to Dr Daniel Siegel, – ‘Name it to take it’. Try to write it down any negative
emotions whenever it occurs in a diary and name it a ‘thought diary’.This labelling will help manage negative thought.
• An evidence-based approach to addressing these negative thinking patterns is through CBT
a. Recognition of negative pessimistic and critical thought(Typical experience of common
people) patterns and challenging their validity and take it in perspective.
b. People should engage in activities they enjoy.
c. Observe inner thoughts without judgment.
d. Additionally, one should not let societal stigmas hinder oneself from seeking expert help
— whether through professional therapy or support groups/trusted confidants.
e. Lastly, we should never underestimate the power of taking small steps in reclaiming
agency over mental well-being.”
• Meditation: Meditation and mindfulness are the best techniques to manage negative thoughts as
well as turn them into positive ones.
• Seek Support: Take help of psychologist or psychiatrist if needed.

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How to Break the cycle of negative Thoughts

  • 1. Breaking the cycle of negativity Not all thoughts deserve our thought. Chaitanya Charn Das Compiled by Col Mukteshwar Prasad(Retd), MTech(IITD),CE(I),FIE(I),FIETE,FISLE,FInstOD,AMCSI Contact -9007224278, e-mail – muktesh_prasad@yahoo.co.in for book ”Decoding Services Selection Board” and SSB ON line guidance and training at Shivnandani Edu and Defence Academy
  • 2. Introduction • We all have good and bad thoughts from time to time and situation to situation. We are bombarded daily with spiraling thoughts(both negative and positive) creating all-consuming feel , making us difficult to manage with associated suffering. Good thoughts are like our Mob Signal (Positive thought) amidst noise(negative thought) in the atmosphere. Negative thoughts like noise outweigh positive thoughts. These thoughts often create unwanted confusion, trouble, stress and frustration in our mind as well as chaos in our physical world. Negative thoughts are also known as “distorted thinking”. • Recollect COVID-19 crisis. Was it not a situation which acted as a source of stress and emotional health challenges for many people, which resulted in an increase in issues like anxiety, depression and loneliness? There are many such situations which we as human keep facing either as a person /family/ group. As human we are hard wired to react to things that are, or are perceived to be, a threat to us and our family. Negative thoughts and constant feelings of anxiety are just one of many ways we react to feeling under threat.Thus negative thoughts(Result of some external stimuli) are the sign of stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, frustration, depression and loneliness. These signs sometimes may lead to psychological disorders like Schizophrenia, Generalised anxiety disorders (GAD ) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). • During the course of conduct and evaluation of Psychological testing ,a large no of candidates complaint that they have negative thoughts and in spite of best effort they are unable to think positively. Primarily because our environment breed negativity . Hence this presentation.
  • 3. Situation • As per Rauthman (2015) A situation is a set of fleeting(Lasting for very short time), dynamic, and momentary circumstances that do not lie within a person (i.e., they are neither own mental processes nor own behavior), but in their surroundings. Source of negative thoughts are again external like anticipation success or failure, good or bad relationship or response etc. A situation is defined by • 1.Cues-Something happening in our environment we interpret as in need of a response e.g. COVID -19. It was a Physico-biological(mere raw physical stimuli in the environment) (e.g. number of people, temperature, ambient light,etc.) but psychologically meaningless till its interpretation as grave threat to humanity .In general Cues could be PEARLS (1.Persons 2.Events 3.Activities 4.Roles5.Location 6.State ). COVID can be assumed to be Event/Activities. • Once it was interpreted as threat by WHO it became Canonical-consensual level representing shared meaning by the environment as grave threat. These could be Threat /Stress /Tasks / Processing/Fun/Mundaneness . COVID came to be regarded as Threat/Stress as no solution existed . • Both Physico biological and canonical – consensual formed as Alpha Press (Beyond an individuals capability as it did not lie with in an individual) • 2.Characteristics(are the perceived qualities or attributes of situations) .With COVID being classified as Pandemic , individuals started drawing psychological interpretations as Adversity / Negativity seeing their near and dear ones going off to new world and they could do nothing. Probably waiting for their own turn. Characteristics can be DIAMONDS (Adversity / Deception/Negativity/ Duty/Intellect/ Mating/pOsitivity/Sociability) • 3.Classes are types of situations that are grouped together because they tend to share similar constellations, or patterns, of characteristics
  • 4. Theory of Neghative Thought • Negative thoughts are the component of cognitive distortions and automatic thoughts leading to negative view of all the things. There are mainly three main categories of distorted thinking also known as the negative triad: • Negative ideas about oneself, • The future and • The world. • Psychologist Aaron Beck gave a theory on negative thought patterns which he labelled as “negative schemas” which cause negative emotions. He regarded negative thoughts as cognitive distortions and negative thinking as distorted thinking. According to him, our thoughts are the result of our feelings and these feelings create a person’s thinking which affects their mood and health. An endless loop makes us fall into this and traps our minds. Unfortunately, negative thoughts worsen the way we feel and think and also reduce our capability to work. • Another psychologist Leigh Goggin stated that – “negative interpretation bias” is a factor in the continuation of a depressed mood, which lasts with poor mental health and leading anxiety, depression, overthinking and lower self-esteem of ones.
  • 5. Types of Negative thought • Black and White –Thinking of complete success or failure in every situation • Jumping to conclusions: This distortion involves making assumptions about what others are thinking or making negative assumptions about how events will turn out. • Catastrophizing: This pattern of negative thinking is characterized by always assuming that the worst possible outcome will happen without considering more likely and realistic possibilities. • Overgeneralization: This pattern is marked by a tendency to apply what happened in one experience to all future experiences. This can make negative experiences seem unavoidable and contribute to feelings of anxiety. • Labeling: When people label themselves in a negative way, it affects how they feel about themselves in different contexts. Someone who labels themselves as "bad at math," for example, will often feel negative about activities that involve that skill. • "Should" statements: Thinking marked by "should" statements contribute to a negative perspective by only thinking in terms of what you "ought" to be doing. Such statements are often unrealistic and cause people to feel defeated and pessimistic about their ability to succeed. • Emotional reasoning: This involves assuming that something is true based on your emotional response to it. For example, if you are feeling nervous, emotional reasoning would lead you to conclude that you must be in danger. This can escalate negative feelings and increase anxiety. • Personalization and blame: This thought pattern involves taking things personally, even when they are not personal. It often leads people to blame themselves for things they have no control over. • All unhelpful thinking patterns differ in subtle ways but they all involve distortions of reality and irrational ways of looking at situations and people.
  • 6. Dark Side of Negativity Law of Attraction • The Dark Side of Negativity • Our negative thinking goes into our unconscious brain and becomes a part of our regular behaviour. It acts as an addiction and becomes very hard to get rid of and overcome which lasts with a mental disease. And it also lasts out reasoning ability to think and create new things because ‘negativity breeds negativity’. • Law of Attraction • “We attract merely those thoughts more often which we think or feel repeatedly” hence need to keep an eye on our thinking or feelings, recognize and manage them for a mindful life. Here’s a famous quote – “how we think we become”.
  • 7. Managing Chatter • On the contrary if we enter the situation with open mind to learn new things ,learning would be fun, better understanding ready to face challenges of life i.e., being positive frame, optimistic and like a fighter then World would come crashing at our feet.  Awareness of inner voice and chasing the right goal is very important. The challenge is to figure out if we find ourself slipping into the dark side of chatter then ,we must endeavour to minimize that and accentuate the more positive side of the inner voice. The story we tell ourself about a situation is going to shape how we interact in that situation, which causes a feedback loop(Positive or negative ) on how it ends up going and reinforces whether our story was true or false.  We’re generally looking to validate our own story. So, if our feedback is negative then we may not may not exude positivity and these thoughts may increase our negative self-talk and lower our and lower our energy, leading our stories to hinder our growth when they could be propelling it. The greatest gift as a human is the freedom to choose how inner thought influence us. If they arise Dr. Taylor says, “We have the power to choose who and how we want to be in any moment,” any moment,” and “befriend my inner voice instead. “ • It is not the situations but our perception, beliefs and thoughts related to the situation that decides our emotions and behaviours. Dr Aoran T Beck and Albert Ellis
  • 8. Techniques to overcome negativity • Let negative thoughts come and go-Allow yourself to have negative thoughts. Refrain from responding by saying you shouldn’t think that way. Acknowledge the thought, and then let it go. Some people visualize their thoughts as balloons that float away right after they have them. We don’t have to give each thought equal weight or let it define every future situation. Let your thoughts exist, sit with them, and be intentional about recognizing the positive things in your life. You will start to notice that you can handle anything and that your negative thinking will be under control. Remind yourself that it's just a thought and not a fact. Be aware of your trigger situations and unhealthy emotions and behaviour. • Being Positives: Keep positive perspectives of all things and persons and keep a watch on your feelings. Identify the underlying thoughts like mind reading, catastrophic thinking, personalisation and dispute the thoughts by asking questions like A.Are my thoughts logical? B.Are my thoughts helpful? C.Are my thoughts true? Replace them with more helpful, realistic and positive thoughts.Learn to have a positive self-talk.Be your own friend.Focus on the present.Bring the inside out.Talk about it. • Exposure Therapy: If your negative thoughts are associated with certain fears or worries, you might lessen the influence these concerns have over you by progressively exposing yourself to them in a safe and controlled manner. • Pause and labelling: Take a pause in your thinking to break its flow to have more clarity and transparency. Rewire with new thoughts and creativity . Label your feelings or thinking(especially negative one) , intensity, date, time, cause of arousal and reason behind arousing.
  • 9. Techniques to overcome negativity • Thought Diary: According to Dr Daniel Siegel, – ‘Name it to take it’. Try to write it down any negative emotions whenever it occurs in a diary and name it a ‘thought diary’.This labelling will help manage negative thought. • An evidence-based approach to addressing these negative thinking patterns is through CBT a. Recognition of negative pessimistic and critical thought(Typical experience of common people) patterns and challenging their validity and take it in perspective. b. People should engage in activities they enjoy. c. Observe inner thoughts without judgment. d. Additionally, one should not let societal stigmas hinder oneself from seeking expert help — whether through professional therapy or support groups/trusted confidants. e. Lastly, we should never underestimate the power of taking small steps in reclaiming agency over mental well-being.” • Meditation: Meditation and mindfulness are the best techniques to manage negative thoughts as well as turn them into positive ones. • Seek Support: Take help of psychologist or psychiatrist if needed.