Are you plagued by less than kind thoughts about other people, various situations and even yourself? I call that Stinkin’ Thinkin.’
Do you feel sad about who you are, where you are and what you are? Are you non-productive, ineffective and lost at sea? If so, take stock of yourself because you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Humans contend with it—even those brought up with a positive outlook on life.
The limbic system, including the amygdala (the emotional center of the brain) recognizes threats and protects our survival even when physical threats are minimal.
These days the Stinkin’ Thinkin’ we deal with is cognitive. It involves financial worries, whether we’re loved, whether we’re succeeding at work. All are threats that set our hearts racing. Sunday night becomes panic night. Good grief, another week, another ulcer.
We even practice worrying, and we get better at it. Worry is controlled by what is called ritualized reassurance. In other words, thinking about all the negative scenarios that can possibly occur. Then we ponder ways we might survive them––just to calm ourselves down. But reassurance is a drug with a short half-life. “The older I get, the more I worry.” Of course, you’ve been practicing.
To make matters worse, we are plastered with negativity by a media that thrives on controversial events. They know we’re drawn more to what’s wrong than what’s right. When that ends, the local news takes over with stories about murder, arson, burglary, etc., etc.
Fortunately, Stinkin’ Thinkin’ is curable by changing habits. Change your habits and your brain circuitry will change. But it takes time. Bad habits are deeply embedded within the brain.
But new habits tend to stick and become more automatic. We may resist an exercise program at first, but after a while it becomes automatic. In the same way, we can form new habits around how we relate to our thoughts.
Developing positivity can influence the ways we choose to behave. It helps us feel better, thus experiencing better outcomes in our lives. People with positive attitudes tend to surround themselves with positive people. Good company helps positivity breed.