Reciting affirmations, listening to motivational coaches – who needs the stress of trying to be happy all the time, or overly optimistic in precarious situations? Apparently, many people in attendance at Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within event believed so much in the power of their thinking that they ended up severely burned after attempting to walk on hot coals.
If you found and brought home an injured snake, nursed and fed it and then one day the snake bit you, would you feel betrayed? Or should you have realized that the snake was just being a snake and taken precautions?
Pessimists and skeptics have proven to be powerful driving forces for the betterment of humanity. Negative thinking has led to survival in the real world, helping us avoid danger, fight for independence and constantly improve upon inventions. A critical eye can uncover flaws which need to be remedied. Righteous indignation has led to social reform and more humane policies.
If you repress your bad thoughts to be more upbeat, you might become anxious. According to the American Medical Association, self-suppression in a relationship/friendship can lead to cardiovascular disease and inflammation.
Recent studies also show that it is better for couples to argue than to pretend everything is just fine and show compassion. Florida State University researcher James McNulty explains that arguments, while they may cause short-term discomfort, keep a marriage on track. They are better than kind words and positive thinking because communicating what’s wrong to a spouse leads to change; otherwise it might seem like excessive spending, having an affair or not helping around the house is acceptable behavior because the injured party doesn’t complain.
So here are 9 examples of how “negative thinking” could turn out to be positive:
- Being bad at something new when you are first learning leads to practice and proficiency. You are going beyond your comfort zone.
- That critical, honest friend gives you a necessary reality check to help you grow as a person.
- ADHD can lead to more creative achievements by having an innate openness to distracting ideas which might not have happened normally according to Holly White, assistant professor of cognitive psychology at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.
- Shy, introverted people make good listeners.
- Disobedience can rid a country of oppressive rulers.
- Jealousy can spur you to accomplish.
- Reciting affirmations that you don’t really believe make you feel worse about yourself. Better to acknowledge a bad trait or situation and do something about it.
- Saying no can free up your time and spirit.
- Acute stress is actually good for you as it makes your immune system more vigilant and sparks you to perform better.
There is an old Zen proverb: Water which is too pure has no fish.