There are many examples of negative attitudes in society today. Many people think like this:
- “I am afraid of mistakes. I have no right to be wrong”;
- “I can’t succeed without money and connections”;
- “I don’t know how to earn money and I won’t achieve anything”;
- “My appearance is ugly. Nobody likes fat people or very thin people”;
- “I’d rather live as I am now, than step into the unknown”;
- “I want to cry or complain about my problems, but I have no one”.
And these are just a few examples of negative attitudes. In fact, there are many more.
Why do they arise in people’s heads? They could appear for a variety of reasons: because of sloppy remarks from parents, criticism at work, questionable compliments from acquaintances or bad experiences in the past. In any case, they are firmly lodged in the subconscious and can now interfere with growth at work, building relationships with friends or partners and (most importantly) loving yourself.
The good news is that you can work on negative attitudes and gradually replace them with positive ones! And today we’re going to talk about ways to do this.
What are psychological attitudes and how do they affect life?
Psychological attitudes are beliefs that have arisen at some time in a person’s life. Often he may not even be aware of them, yet they will affect his actions in different situations.
Psychological attitudes can be positive and negative. For example, if parents praise the child and emphasize his or her strengths, most likely, he or she will internalize the belief “I am good, I can do it”. If deficiencies are constantly pointed out to him or her, the child may grow up to be a pessimist with the negative attitude that “I will not succeed”. Because of it, even in adulthood, it will be difficult to start new activities.
Before working with negative beliefs, you need to figure out what psychological attitudes you have. To do this, you can write them down on paper and think about where they came from. If nothing comes to mind, you can ask yourself questions:
- “What verbal and non-verbal messages did my parents give me?”;
- “What did teachers and peers say to me during my school years?”;
- “Were there situations when I was not good at something? How did I feel?”.
What is it for? First, it will make you realize that harmful attitudes really do exist, and understand what they sound like. Secondly, it allows you to look at them from the outside and with an open mind. Sometimes even this step is enough to understand how to change your life (an objective assessment of the situation helps to notice the failure of the attitude and to question it).
How to deal with negative attitudes?
There are at least six effective ways to stop doing this:
1. Engage in freerating
Writing practices help to cope with unpleasant experiences and to release negative emotions. For example, freewriting is a way to get your mind on paper and find disturbing thoughts in it.
Formulate a statement that bothers you, and try to figure out what feelings it evokes. Take a piece of paper and a pen, or open a word processor. Set a time limit: if you’re just starting to practice freelancing, write for 10 minutes. Gradually, you can increase the sessions to 15-20 minutes.
Start writing. Don’t reread, don’t correct mistakes, and don’t analyze what you’ve written. If nothing comes to mind, write “I have no thoughts”. You can write the same phrase over and over again-it helps relieve your brain. Eventually, useful thoughts will pop up on paper, even if it takes several writing sessions.
When time runs out, stop and reread what you’ve written. Underline the ideas that deserve attention. If it doesn’t make sense, take a break and try a second session later, when you can focus on the topic you want to understand.
2. Try to replace harmful attitudes with new positive ones
This method will help shift the focus of attention from the bad to the good in yourself.
Make a list of your negative attitudes, and opposite them write useful ones: the opposite or simply with positive meaning. Instead of “Love must be earned” write “I deserve love”. And instead of “The money isn’t happiness” write “The money gives me new opportunities”.
Persuasion should be formulated in the present tense, be specific and evoke positive emotions. Avoid the particle “Not”: instead of “I don’t want to make little money” write “The money comes easily into my life”.
Reread positive attitudes every day, saying them to yourself and paying attention to the emotions that arise. With regular practice, the areas in the brain responsible for processing information can become activated, as well as the reward centers that respond to other pleasant experiences.
Tip: It is not always possible to independently let go of negative attitudes and replace them with positive ones. In this case, it makes sense to consult a psychologist: he will help illuminate the beliefs present and work through them.
3. Make a collage of successes
This will allow you to distract yourself from negative thoughts, and at the same time to express yourself creatively.
Remember the moments when you were happy and confident, and the achievements that you are proud of. Write down each of them on a separate sheet, and if possible, support them with photos or illustrations. Then collect them all in one place: put them in a beautiful box or make a collage online (for example, on Pinterest) or physically (on a corkboard).
Such a collage can be placed above your desk or hung in the bedroom above your bed. Look at it periodically to remind yourself of the good things and to remember that negative attitudes are just intrusive thoughts, not a reflection of reality. Remembering the things you are grateful for will help you feel happier and give you hope for the best.
4. Practice meditation
Meditation helps to fight anger and other negative emotions, including those about oneself. It also teaches you how to direct your thoughts in the right direction.
To get rid of inner criticisms, you can practice meditation regularly in the morning or evening. And if emotions from harmful attitudes get in the way during the day, take a break from work, meditate and go back to business.
Meditation will not take much of your time. You can set aside 15-20 minutes a day to start. You don’t have to meditate in the lotus position. You can also sit in a chair, as long as your spine is straight.
Your task during meditation is to concentrate on something specific. Some people concentrate on the breath, others repeat a mantra. But for a beginner, you can also choose a material object, such as looking at the flame of a candle.
During meditation, various thoughts will pop into your head: plans, snippets of conversation, or a desire to change your posture. Try to ignore these distractions so that you can return to the object on which you are concentrating time and time again. Meditation will help you to develop concentration and to learn to notice what’s going on with your body.
5. Analyze your environment
This is an emotionally difficult but important task. Sometimes some friends, colleagues, buddies, or relatives only fuel the belief in harmful attitudes. They may be guided by the best of intentions (simply because they believe in the truth of those attitudes).
But if you constantly feel tired or irritated after communicating with the person, you should be wary.
Pay attention: Is your friend is happy with your achievements, or only criticize? Think about it: do you treat him with confidence, or try not to tell too much? If you think that communication does not bring in a little positive, it may be necessary to limit it.
6. Consult a psychologist online or in person
It can be hard to go through everything alone, so professional help is just right for you. A psychologist will help to understand the difficult situation in life and work through the harmful attitudes.
Tip: Fear of going to a psychologist can also be a negative attitude. But in fact it is a way to better understand yourself, to find the sources of discomfort and gradually come to a healthy relationship with yourself and others.
You can work with a psychologist online – it is no less effective than a face-to-face meeting, and you don’t have to spend time and energy on the road.